When my dad was sick and in the hospital for the last time, he waited until I was alone with him and whispered, “Dandi, I want you to go home and go in the attic and find an old Army trunk. Put it in your car and take it back to Ohio with you.” That sounded tough enough–driving an hour to their home in Hamilton, MO, creeping up to the attic, where I hadn’t ventured in decades, and somehow dragging an Army trunk to my car. But the next request was harder, if not impossible: “Don’t open that trunk. Not until your mom is gone too.”
I did as I was told, though it was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do. I couldn’t stand not knowing what was inside that old trunk. So when I returned to the hospital, I begged Dad to tell me. Finally, he said, “Letters. We wrote each other 2-3 times a day during the war, when we were both overseas, but in different countries. Your mom is embarrassed by how mushy our letters were and how many secrets they hold. She’d burn those letters, and I wouldn’t want that.”
I kept my promise. And when I finally got to open that trunk, I was amazed at its contents. Stay tuned for the next blog….