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Archive for May, 2008

journal2

This weekend at what my kids call “water-sand beach”, I ended up wearing all of the sun hats my kids refused to wear.

Since my hands were busy unfurling the string of a kite or picking up shoes scattered to and fro as the little ones made straight for the water, one foot was spelling out “LIAM” in the sand and the other foot was busy helping dig a hole for a “volcano” in the sand. I had no other choice but to haphazardly pile the too-small hats on my head.

That’s what we moms do. Even if we look silly, we make it all work. Do the balancing act. And wear the hats.

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My grandfather passed on an heirloom Samurai sword to my dad this year. My dad has always held a lot of sentiment for this sword. Little did anyone know that it is also worth quite a bit of money. But to us, that is totally beside the point. Between my aunt and I, we got a pretty good rendition of how Grandpop got this sword. I share it with you below for your amusement and in tribute to him and everyone who served in the military so that we can celebrate all the freedoms we enjoy.

How the Japanese Samurai sword came into the possession of Colonel Harvey Clyde Hoffman (US Army Retired). [Story told by Dad to some family October 7, 2007 and transcribed by his daughter, Betsy Feltman.]

The 161st Station Hospital assigned to Eickleburgs 8th Army, stationed in the Philippines at Cebu City on Cebu Island, during WWII was scheduled to go in on the invasion of Japan. The bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and the 161st Station Hospital was then sent in as part of the occupation force to the country of Japan. The paratroopers who were the first to land in the occupied country had the Japanese swords surrendered to them. The paratrooper officers contacted the 161st Station Hospital to request that they be allowed to meet and have a social time with the nurses and officers. The paratrooper officers said they would bring swords for the officers of the 161st Station Hospital. When they arrived they had the swords and the swords were put in another area. Later the officers of the 161st Station Hospital were told they could go in and pick a sword, just one each. Dad was a Captain at that time and he got to go in and pick a sword. He looked at the swords and picked the one he liked. He has the sword he picked currently in his possession. (It is currently in my father’s possession…if he hasn’t sold it on e-bay or lost it…)

[Follow-up story told to and written by granddaughter Jennifer Scott on November 21, 2007.]

Jennifer So Grandpop, the story says you looked at all the swords and picked the one you liked. What made you pick this one?

Grandpop Laughing.

Jennifer—Did you go looking for the one with the most jewels in it?

GrandpopLaughing. No, I looked them all over and opened them all up. I liked this one the most because this one had the most nicks on it so I figured it had been used to kill someone. I could tell it had been used a bit. I liked that it had all the buckles and straps and what-do-you-call-them so you could tie it to your belt or around your waist. They told us that if those pieces come off, you’ll never get them back on again.

Speaking of telling stories and writing them all down, I should have told you this one rather than the one about the sword.

This was on the Island of Leyte. Colonel Limon Richardson was in charge. There was a guy named Findlay who was in charge of supplies and should have had a yellow striped painted on his back. Colonel Richardson assigned Findlay to take some men and go up to the north to get bamboo for the roofing of the hospital they were building there. You know, they had built the walls with wood but needed bamboo for poles for the roof then they would put leaves and stuff on to make a roof. Well, none of the Americans had ever got that far up north and Findlay was scared and couldn’t carry out his assignment. So I ended up taking 45 pistols and loaded up two six by sixes—that’s that they called the big trucks because they had six wheels on ’em—and went up the only road there was go to up to the north. There were American guard stations along the route, but finally we got to the last station and the corporal there told us, “no patrols beyond this point. You’re on your own if you go beyond this station.” Well, I had a job to do so I had to go do it and the Lord took care of me. We made it safely to a village and the head of the village came out to talk to us. We didn’t know whether they were going to kill us or what, but the head of the village told me “You’re the first American that has ever been here”. He then proceeded to tell Grandpop, who was a Captain at the time, that they had a Japanese fellow in the prison. They had caught him rummaging through some of their garbage looking for something to eat and they captured him and put him in jail until they could find someone to tell them what to do with him. The head of the village asked Grandpop to give him permission to drag him out into the town square and have him hung.

Grandpop asked to go see the prisoner. When he saw him the prisoner was very, very thin and he bowed over and over and over to Grandpop.

Grandpop told the head of the village to keep him where he was and feed him and that he’d send out a government team to interview him and decide what to do with him—that there were special teams to do just that. When Grandpop got back to camp, he did just that.

They got their bamboo loaded up and headed back to camp.

When they got back to camp, Colonel Richardson told the men to Jettison the bamboo—we’re going to invade Japan. So they did just that—jettisoned the bamboo as they weren’t going to need the hospital they were building there, and they all got on board their ships. Grandpop was on the lead ship of the Armada of Eickelburg 8th Army division out of Leyte.

The Japanese had given up before their ships arrived, and they were told the Japanese pilots were going to take them through the waters filled with land mines. They had no choice but to trust the Japanese pilots—there was no other way for them to navigate through the waters. The Japanese pilots were very observant and they did it—they led the ships through the mined waters.

When their ships pulled into port, all the little Japanese kids were sitting on the docks with two fingers raised in a V as a sign for victory. This made Grandpop laugh.

This led to the memory of another story—it was very cold in Japan in the wintertime so Grandpop and some men needed to go get some coal. They took interpreters to help them get 2 truckloads of coal. When they got to the village where they were supposed to get the coal, the villagers said “we have none”, but Grandpop had seen a huge pile of coal at the entrance to the village. He had the interpreters tell the villagers that they would get paid for the coal—that the government would pay them for it and told them to go load it up onto the trucks. This took place in Finch Haven—they got the coal and brought it back. By this time it was time to go home—Grandpop’s service time was up and they tried to get him to sign on for 3 more years but it was time to go home.

Jennifer—Were you married at this time? Were you and Grandmom already married? So there was something to go home to, right?

Grandpop Oh yes…I got married (I missed what he said here—either the year, or how long before he left he was married, or what his rank was when he got married or something to that effect) before I left for duty.

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Many a day around noontime or shortly thereafter I find myself losing patience with the kids. Why do I think this is happening?

A) I am not eating lunch

B) They get tired and cranky and need naps

C) I get tired and cranky and need a nap

D) I forget to take my Effexor XR

E) Any one, combination, or all of the above

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Well, tonight I have planned an entire menu around an item I have never eaten before. Pierogies. It will be interesting to give these a try and see how my husband, kids and I like them.

They were on sale a few weeks ago and I had a coupon and just threw them in the cart thinking they might be interesting to try, and for some reason I’m on a clean out the fridge and freezer kick right now, and these need to get gone.

Even if they turn out to be a bust, at least I’ll be able to say we tried them. And like my mom taught me to politely say, “no thank you, I don’t care for them”.

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I haven’t had a whole lot to say lately. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I miss being totally inspired and antcy to sit down and put my thoughts into words, but at the same time I think it’s a sign of good health for me.

Not needing to vent or rant or try to put bottled up thoughts and feelings into words because they just aren’t in there anymore. Or if they are they aren’t plaguing me.

I kinda miss it, though. But I don’t know whether I’d choose to feel bad yet be able to access a very creative and recessed part of me or simply realize that it’s missing and appreciate that I’m in a better place and to just be content feeling and living well minus the writing.

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a time to rest FLAT header

//us.movies1.yimg.com/movies.yahoo.com/images/hv/photo/movie_pix/walt_disney/the_chronicles_of_narnia__prince_caspian/ben_barnes/prince2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Our church bought out a showing of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian for this morning and Dan and I went. We got a sitter, who refused to let us pay her, and had a wonderful time. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie–I appreciate non-bloody intensity, an amazing sense of creativity in Hollywoodizing a book into a movie, some very witty scenes and one-liners, and no foul language. It is long, so take a water bottle, a few snacks, and be sure to wear comfortable sitting attire. (My mom would be horrified if I said comfortable underwear)

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, the time alone with my husband, knowing my kids were so excited that they were having a baby sitter, and the beautiful weather outside. It was just a wonderful start to our ‘weekend’.

We’ll go to church tomorrow (Sunday) morning, which is odd for us since we’ve been doing the Saturday night service thing, but the kids were super tired and I knew it would be a battle instead of a pleasant time. I’m just going with the flow, taking life as it comes, and adjusting our schedules accordingly.

It’s a pretty relaxing way to live.

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Tonight we went to a high school open house. Something I haven’t done since…well, since I can remember. And every single one I’ve gone to has been awkward and uncomfortable for me. But not tonight!

I sincerely enjoyed being with people. Didn’t want to leave. Talked with every person I could and threw myself into most every conversation rather than trying to escape and conversing as minimally as possible.

Maybe two helpings of ice cream with hot fudge sauce, whipped cream and sprinkles had me all sugared up, but I really had fun. It was kind of a great feeling for me. Natural. Fun. Enjoyable. Non-stressful.

Onward and upward!

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