I remember walking nine blocks home to check the mail and then nine blocks back. Looking for a letter from Forrest and unwilling to wait until classes were over. Rain, snow, sunshine. No matter the weather. I wrote to him almost every day and lived for his replies, which didn’t come nearly that often. Mail came twice a day back then and postage was five cents, a penny for a postcard.
I walked down Benton, turned right on Central, past the library, the courthouse, Hamby’s restaurant where the aroma of fresh baked homemade rolls and fruit pies kept diners coming, turned right, past wooden houses with blue and yellow stars in the windows indicating family members who were serving the country or who had died in the service of the country, turned left at Main, past St. Joseph Catholic Church on the corner of Main and Scott, past the school, more frame houses with stars and a church on the corner of Main and Scott, then my home. second house from the corner–609 West Scott.
I was seventeen and a freshman at Drury College Forrest was my boy friend of five months who later became my husband.
The war ended while Forrest was on a boat being deployed to England. By then, I had left Drury and entered nursing school at St. John’s Hospital. I turned down a plebe Christmas –a week at West Point– with someone I’d met at Drury, Jack Wagner, to be there when Forrest returned from the service. My grandmother had paid for a mouton lamb coat for the occasion and I was set to leave when I learned Forrest would be home.
After three years, we married and had four sons.
Forrest and three of our sons, Scott, John and Ken have died–Scott and Ken of suicide and John of colon cancer. Forrest died of kidney failure.
Chris and I remain.