Living on Dugway Road , part four.

A walk down memory lane

.As I walk through the old and now empty farm house ,grey monochrome memories come slowly alive , I walk to the window now missing its swirling , liquid like glass panes , the broken sash of the weather worn frame now falling to dusty pieces on the floor as I touch them , I think back in time other old memories...........

How many hours that I had stood at this very window as a kid and counted the hours of slow wintery months , how many wishes I had made in the immaturity of a young boy , how many times I might have stood here in a childlike attempt to pray to a god that my only slight religiously trained imagination had conjured up . Yet I didn't pray for the things you might imagine either . No , I seldom would pray for a new bicycle or a b-b gun , I didn't ask or beg for new toys or a horse all for my own . There are times even now , that the shame and humiliation of growing up in that poverty , in a household full of addictions , alcohol and drugs , emotional and even physical abuse still float to the surface of my visions .My only prayers were for a "normal" home life . One without a father who drank himself into a stupor almost every night , who ignored the bill paying , the problems of family , the fact that his home ,his children and his wife who was trying to raise a family on her own ,even existed .

I look up at the old stairway to the dark hallway at the head of the stairs and think of nights that seamed endless . I remember back to a bare lightbulb in the cieling light , the smells of the old kerosene stove that most nights , simply kept away the cold ghosts of winter , that only slightly warmed the edges of reality and kept the wolves of winter just outside the door . And yet there are certain memories that were just bright enough to offer up a memory or two from the past . I remember standing right here and watching my big brother Al walk down these same stairs in a crispy new dress blue Marine corp uniform , blue slacks , dark blue coat , a red stripe up the outside of each pant leg , and the most highly polished black dress shoes I had ever seen . He stands towering over my five foot ten by another seven inches . Man did I ever feel proud !And I still do !

" So Al , what and where is this place again ? Viet Nam ? " ........

" I don't really know ,...........somewhere on the other side of the earth I guess "

"Well, when are you coming back anyways ?"

" Don't worry Ed ........I'll see you in thirteen months " as he ruffled my hair .

As we said our goodbyes , I looked briefly at my mother crying silently at the dining room table , my father waiting by the door with the car keys in his hand , his head diverted to the front door and silent . And then outside later as the tail lights dissapear down Dugway road on the way to some airport ! And then at the dinner table that evening as we talked quietly about the day , and my Father talking about his own wartime experiences years before . For two tours of my brothers duty to country , we would all sit at the sofa or in my fathers "easy chair " as Walter Cronkite and his "anchor man " Dan Rather , showed footage of soldiers firing M-16 "assault rifles " over sand bagged walls at the "VC'......,each friday night we would watch and listen intently to the weekly "death tolls" of our soldiers and enemy kills . Silently in my own mind, hoping to catch a glimps of my brother throwing a grenade or firing a fifty cal. machine gun . And deathly afraid of seeing his name in the paper too , like his partner in the Marine Corp ,"Buddy system " ....who died there in Viet Nam . A 19 year old boy by the name of Peanut Garrard .that my brother went through school with and joined the Marine Corp as buddies .

I can't tell you how we all felt when "Alsie " finally came home unscathed from that bloody place called Viet nam , as least physically . And yet I can tell you how frustrating it was to go through high school in the sixties and early seventies and observe both sides of the cultural revolution , one ...the anti- war movement spilling over this country from big city to small towns , and how it was such a part of who we all were , and then on the other hand knowing that my brother was "over there " defending every idiot with a microphone and a flag to burn .

Sometimes , I think that , that life , those years far away ,there on Dugway road were but a distant dream and yet they did happen of course , it seems strange now to think back on all the memories , some tragic and others yet as good as any memories can be . And to remember .....
To remember where we came from , and today when me and my siblings sit around and reminisce of old . Occasionally one of us will remember something and another will say ......

"Man , I had forgotten all about that " or,
"Do you remember when so and so............ ?"
And then we might laugh briefly and talk about our life on dugway road . And yet as I stand at the door and watch one of my family members drive away after a visit , I wonder ....if I could would I go back and change anything about those years , and then I answer my own question ,

No ! I would not , not one . Last Sunday afternoon my cell phone rang ........." Heey ! what are ya doin "! ......It was Al himself , he was out riding around and was within a few miles of our house , Al, now sixty three walks in to my house , always the same with him a firm shake of the hand and a Look of admiration that only brothers understand ..............And lately in the last couple of years a chest hug ! From a 'Marine' too !........I wonder if they know that old Marines give hugs now !

After we had a few beers and talked of old times , what's going on at work ? and how the rest of the families are doing ? ........ , we sat down to a well cooked dinner by my lovely wife , laughed and then chatted for a few hours before he left ........And yet , each time he drives away , I wonder ..........after a year like this with so much up in the air with life ,happiness , and family , I always find myself thinking ........" I hope it's not the last time I see him !"..........In truth , I have lost enough of my family that I often think secretly that . If anyone has to go on to the other side of our worlds again , given tragedy and that satan like cringe of death ........I hope it's me ! And that those that I love , honor and cherish beyond all else live forever !

Continued .........

Comments 5 comments

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Ghaelach 4 years ago

Morning Ed.

It doesn't matter what happens in the world these days, one thing that can't be taken away from us by anyone is our memories.

Nice hub and look forward to the continuation.

Take care and have a great weekend.

LOL Ghaelach

Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and interesting. Got me hanging on to each word and thought. Looking forward to more.

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Ghaelach 4 years ago

Just been re-reading this series of Dugway Rd. and I can't find part 3, does it have a different title or something??

LOL Ghaelach

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago Author

Thank you kind sir !...Ed

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago Author

Gypsy Rose ," Me Liadie "You're soo kind !, have a perfect day !

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