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Posts Tagged ‘Veteran’s Day’

On this Veteran’s Day, I’d like to pay tribute to my four brothers.

Michael Edward Lynn passed away last year, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/26/sports/mike-lynn-former-vikings-general-manager-dies-at-76.html?_r=0 but I remember when our younger brother Jim received his First Lieutenant Bar and  Mike had to salute him! He was 22 by the time I moved back with my family of birth., and was already out in the world seeking his fortune. But Mike served the Army proudly in Korea.

James Joseph Lynn was an Intelligence Officer in Vietnam. My psychologist brother had just graduated from Columbia University when he enlisted in the Army and was sent to Monterey Language School. He met his wife in California and only told me one story about the war. He was at the bar on the top floor of the officer’s club in Saigon when an air raid siren rang out in the night. Only one guy did what he was supposed to do, go back to his bunker. That was the soldier who was shot by a stray bullet.

It made a big impression on teenage me, that subtle message of karma, bravery, and fate all rolled into one little anecdote.

Eric Berla (step-brother) was an original beatnik. He introduced me to Pete Seeger and rebellion. We were both against the war.  Not wanting to kill anyone, but still having to face the draft, he enlisted as a pilot and flew Med Evac helicopters all over Vietnam. I imagined it was like being in a continuous replay of MASH, but in fact most of his fellow pilots never made it home. The red cross on his Huey was like a target.

John (Brian) Cerullo (half-brother) was career Air Force. He was stationed in Germany and later married a German woman. The Flapper’s second child never went to college but rose through the ranks and wrote books about radar, finally becoming a teacher. Though I didn’t know him well, I think we share a certain dry sense of humor.

Here we are at the wedding: Jim is seated in the red tie, and Eric is behind him to the right. Mike’s wife Jorja is in red, but he and Brian were not able to travel. I’m so proud of my brothers, but somehow just saying thank you for your service doesn’t seem like enough.

J&M  0984

 

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There’s a back room in the best little knitting shop in Cville. This is where the owner, Mimi, banishes those people who come, wool in hand,  for fellowship, croissants and coffee only to hear, “Let’s go take a look at it.” If you’re at a point of no return, you’ve botched up your knitting so badly that you need a full-scale rehabilitative effort, or your piece is just too big and unwieldy you need to lay it out on a table to stitch it up, you are escorted into “The Kitchener.” It is pronounced with two syllables, as in “kitch – ner.” My British friend Diane explained, Lord Kitchener was Commander in Chief in India and later became known for his poster boy good looks and OCD attention to details in World War I.

He believed that in order to march well, his troops needed only the best socks that would not rub at the toes. British and American women were knitting socks for soldiers (this was around 1915, before WWII called them to be riveters) and the pattern at that time used an inelegant seam at the toe. That nasty little seam would cause many a blistered foot that might possibly impact the war effort! So His Lordship developed a sock pattern featuring a new technique for a seamless joining of the toe, still known as “The Kitchener Stitch.”  http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEsummer04/FEATtheresasum04.html

Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day 11-11-11, and it is also the 93rd anniversary of the Armistice that finally ended WWI in 1918. A member of our Ivy Farmer’s Book Club, Kathleen Ford, has published many short stories on tales from The Great War. Tonight at 7:30 pm  she will be reading from one of her stories “Choosers of the Slain” on our local public radio station, WVTF  Radio IQ Virginia. You can listen to her beautiful voice live online at http://www.wvtf.org/ Or pick up a copy of The Sewanee Review to read another WWI soldier’s story called “Homecoming.” We honor the 24.9 million American veterans tomorrow and every day. We also honor those who perished.  Here’s to all my brothers who served.

And here’s to you, Kathleen, our esteemed writer! And and here’s to us, women of a certain age, who would never think of Kitchenering anybody! Only our WIPs (another knitting term that means Works in Progress).

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