Monday, February 20, 2006

Letters from War

This post is dedicated to my grandmother, Guadalupe Tamayo de Salinas.

When I was a young girl, most Sunday’s after church, my parents would pack everyone up in the car and we would drive an hour to my grandmothers house in Lockhart, Texas to visit with relatives and indulge in my grandmother’s lemon cake, popcorn, and Coca-colas. There were always many relatives at my grandmother’s house but relatively little to do for the younger my brother and I usually entertained ourselves by exploring various parts of the house, shed, garage, water well and outhouse! Believe me, we always found something to do...even in the scortchingTexas summer heat.

I remember once, in one of my exploring moods, I found my way through the house, into the living room. There on the wall over her (out of tune) piano, were familiar pictures of my grandmother's seven aunts and uncles. My dad was the youngest, my Uncle Gabriel the oldest boy. I remember picking up one of my grandmother's tattered memory books. It was falling apart, holding precious pictures, letters, newspaper articles,memories of a time I never knew; a set of memories I did not relate to as a young girl. But one thing did make an impression on me in that memory book: they were the letters written by my Uncle Gabriel to my grandparents when he was a young man fighting in the front lines in WWII. I remember reading the letters thinking how brave he was and what a hero he was ....after all he went through, but I never thought about how my grandmother must have felt knowing that her oldest boy was dodging enemy fire in the trenches. What got HER through those days of uncertianty?

I had mostly forgotten those letters until today, when I listened to a beautiful song
about a mother and her son...a true story of him going to war in WWII. It left me in a puddle of tears. Here are the lyrics:

Artist:Mark Shultz
Song: Letters From War
Lyrics :

She runs to the mailbox
On that bright summers day
Found a letter from her son
In a war far away
He spoke of the weather
And good friends that he'd made
Said I'd been thinking 'bout dad
And the life that he had
Thats why I'm here today
And that the end he said
You are “what I'm fighting for”

It was the first of the letters from war

She started writing


You're good and you're brave
What a father that you'll be someday
Bring him home
Bring him safe

She wrote every night as she prayed

Late in December
A day she'll not forget
Oh her tears stained the paper
With every word that she read
It said I was up on a hill
I was out there alone
When the shots all rang out
And bombs were exploding
And thats when I saw him
He came back to me
And though he was captured
A man set me free
And that man was your son
He asked me to write to you
I told him I would.. oh I swore

It was the last of the letters from war

And she prayed he was living
Kept on believing and wrote every night just to say
Still she kept writing each day

You're good and you're brave
What a father that you'll be someday
Bring him home
Bring him safe

Then two years later
Autumn leaves all around
A car pulled in the driveway
And she fell to the ground
And out stepped a captain
Where her boy used to stand
Said mom I'm following orders
From all of your letters
And I've come home again
He ran into hold her
And dropped all his bags on the floor
Holding all of her letters from war
Bring him home
Bring him home
Bring him home

I KNOW what kept my grandmother from losing her mind with fear, it was her steadfast love of Jesus and Our Lady. My mom says that my grandparents prayed faithfully to Our Lady of Guadalupe and they never stopped until they passed away.
As a mom, I can now relate to my grandmother. The love she held for her children, the strength she must have drawn from her faith, the commitment she shared with my grandfather, the fortitude it took to consecrate her children to God. My grandmother passed away over 20 years ago, but her life taught me and continues to teach me a great deal. When it comes to mothering, not much has changed...moms are all the same. But what HAS changed is our ability to face adversity; we seem give up too quickly when the going gets tough. My grandmother WAS tough and she never gave up; even after sending two more of her sons into the military. My generation needs to take a few lessons from hers.

As for my Uncle Gabriel:

He is home. He is safe. He is good. He is brave. He became a good father and husband.

He is a hero. (He recieved the Purple Heart)

Thanks to the prayers of a faithful mom.


Mary Tamayo said...

It amazes me to know how much children pick up from their surroundings and how much they keep in their little hearts and minds. Memories that help them share with others the important things in life as adults through the examples of others. Values, principles and sentiments that their immediate families and close friends instilled in them as children. This type of love is so rewarding, after all, the only thing that you take with you is the love that you have given and received. I am sure that your grandmother has read everything you wrote about her. She was a loving person.

Your tribute to your Grandmother and Uncle astounded me. You are beautiful..more than words can express.


laurathecrazymama said...

Ahh, I'm having contractions as I read this post and the tears are running down my face! A mother's love is eternal just like the love of our Father in Heaven, it starts before we're born and it never ends! You are so fortunate to have such a loving, supportive mother!