There is one front and one battle where everyone in the United States—every man, woman, and child—is in action and will be privileged to remain in action throughout this war. That front is right here at home, in our daily lives and in our daily tasks. Here at home everyone will have the privilege of making whatever self-denial is necessary, not only to supply our fighting men, but to keep the economic structure of our country fortified and secure during the war and after the war.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s radio broadcast to the nation, April 28, 1942


Monday, April 18, 2011

The Train Stop


Madeleine


THE TRAIN STOP

Before the war, the train stopped here
only to pick up coal and water.
This town was never a destination.

Now when the train stops,
soldiers and sailors scramble off.
They stretch their legs.

They’re greeted with a big "Hello,"
and a substitute sister’s smile.
My job is to pass out the doughnuts.

Once, a soldier was so grateful
he gave me a kiss—my first!
I was so surprised, I couldn’t enjoy it.

Now, please, don’t tell my mother!
If she finds out I’ve been kissed,
my doughnut days are over!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Junior Girls Canteen photo from the collection of Scott D. Trostel, used with permission.

3 comments:

Doraine Bennett said...

Love the idea of this first kiss. I have a friend in Nebraska who wrote a romance novel based on one of these towns. What wonderful stories. My aging father-in-law has begun telling us some of the stories of his days in the war, things he has kept to himself for so many years. Not all wonderful, but treasures to us who love him.

Linda at teacherdance said...

My mother greeted soldiers from her little town, so this poem is special to me, & what a delightful voice from that young woman, excited about her experience, seeming to ignore the seriousness of the war. Children are the saving grace of all of us amidst chaos.

KURIOUS KITTY said...

Hold on to those stories--too many of them are lost when the tellers pass! Linda, has your mother written down her memories of the war years?