I went shopping with my mom yesterday. We were hunting for a “fashionable” utility jacket. They’re all over the place, but not in colors I can wear. Mostly olive, which is one of those colors that makes me look like I need an ambulance. I bought her a plaid shirt (she’s been wearing plaid button-ups since before the word plaid was on anyone’s fashion radar) and myself a pair of skinny, plum-colored jeans. Now, in spite of my recent (intentional) weight loss, I’m not what anyone would call skinny…but the pants aren’t all that bad if my shirt’s long enough. And the color goes with my new purse.
My recent story research has led me to WWII (which of the men in my heroine’s ancestry went to war? Who stayed home? Why? Did they want to go? Did they come home?). I didn’t know much about my own family’s military history, so I took this opportunity to ask Mom about it.
Uncle One was in the Air Force but was too young to go to WWII. Uncle Two was in the Air Force but got, I think, a marriage deferment that kept him out of WWII. And to round things out, Uncle Three was in the Air Force, during Vietnam, but was always stationed in the continental US. None of them have ever talked about any of that in my hearing.
Pop (my maternal grandfather) was in the Missouri National Guard during some kind of campus rioting in the 1920’s. Their guns were empty. They got spit on and cussed at. That’s all we know about that.
My dad was, what do they call it…4F? He had asthma. But his good friend Stan was a ‘copter pilot. When I was four “Uncle” Stan brought me a shining, golden, cotton-lined kimono as a gift. In my 20’s I had it shadow-box framed in black lacquer. It doesn’t match any of my other decor and never has, but it’s a treasure.
And that’s all I know about my family and the military. So I’m going to be making this stuff up In my heroine’s world, all the angst and joy of military service will be angst and joy I pulled out of a hat. Think it will make a difference if I cover the hat with plaid first?