Memorial Day 2013: All My Boys

Marshall Barrow, Mary Veazey Barrow Worden, Barbara Barrow, Bertha Arnold, Betty Barrow, Mary Phereby Veazey Barrow, Crystal Barrow (Waller)
Marshall Lyle Barrow, Mary Veazey Barrow Worden, Barbara Barrow, Bertha Arnold, Betty Lyle Barrow, Mary Phereby Veazey Barrow*, Crystal Barrow (Waller), ca. 1935

My grandparents, Mary and Marshall Barrow, had four children. My grandfather had been certain that each prospective baby would be a boy, but he ended up instead with four daughters.

One evening shortly before his death in the spring of 1940, he was lying in bed, listening to a radio broadcast of news of war in Europe. He knew the United States would eventually be drawn into the fighting.

Turning to my grandmother, he said, “I’ve lived to see the day when I’m grateful that all my boys are girls.”

*****

*My aunt Barbara found this photograph with my grandmother’s face cut out, so she pasted one in from another photo.

Quaint and Curious

“Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have set us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!

“But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him and he at me,
And killed him in his place.

“I shot at him because—
Because he was my foe,
Just so—my foe of course he was;
That’s clear enough; although

“He thought he’d ‘list, perhaps
Off-hand like—just as I—
Was out of work—had sold his traps—
No other reason why.

“Yes; Quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You’d treat if met where any bar is,
Or help to half a crown.”

~ Thomas Hardy, “The Man He Killed”

"Thomas Hardy," oil on panel, by the...
Thomas Hardy--Image via Wikipedia