Archive for the ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again’ Tag

I DREAMT I DWELT IN A WORLD THAT CARED   15 comments

I dreamt we really cared about our earthly home. I thought I was struggling to sleep, but my watch said it was time to get up. So, was I dreaming or longing?

I do know I was remembering the days of WWII when we were all dedicated to fighting for a just cause. It was scary, but it was magnificent – flattening our cans for re-use, counting food ration coupons to be used in the most efficient way, planning limited driving trips to make maximum use of gas coupons, drawing our black shades at night so as not to help the enemy find us, watching Times News before the movies (two for the price of one), singing patriotic songs, and “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” as the end approached, knowing we were fighting for the freedom of those who were suffering invasion by cruel forces. (It was only in later years I became aware of our own cruelty in turning away refuges and depriving our Japanese citizens of freedom and property.)

We were dedicated in spite of the fact that we were pretty sure no bombs would drop on us. We had the ability to see that the problem was bigger than our own private domain.

Well, I wasn’t driving and purchasing groceries – too young for that. But I remember. My best friends father was the Air Raid Warden for our neighborhood. Mostly it was his job to walk the area and be sure no light shone through the windows. He often allowed my best friend Hallie to carry out that duty, so the two of us walked the neighborhood in the dark together. (No one worried about our being kidnapped or raped.)

We were in the 4-H club, one duty being to spot for enemy airplanes. It’s a good thing none attacked, because I couldn’t tell the difference between a flying mosquito and an airplane, say nothing of distinguishing between friend and enemy. Fortunately Hallie’s vision was more acute.

We worried about my brother and my brother-in-law as they were off to war. My big sister volunteered in the nursery school that made it possible for mom’s to build war equipment. (disbanded at the end of the war so mom could be sent back home “where she belonged.” More on that in a subsequent post.)

Magnificent? Yes. We were dedicated to a life affirming cause. This morning in my half dreaming state I imagined how wonderful it would be if we all fought as hard now for the earth – the home we all share. I thought of how we would be free of reliance on foreign – or even domestic – oil if we had pursued programs begun in the Carter administration. How glorious it would be if we recognized the dangers and mobilized to fight them.

And then I remembered my own frequent childhood bronchial colds, gasping for breath – wheezing, they called it. I wasn’t allowed to ride in the rumble seat in the teacher’s car who drove us to kindergarten because I might catch a cold. And then I thought again of how magnificent it would be if we cared enough about our atmosphere to spare so many children the asthma lifestyle marked by fear of death and reliance on inhalers, carried like we used to carry pens and pencils in our pockets.

Yes, I dreamt I dwelt in a world that cared.

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