April 30, 2015 § 2 Comments
It is 40 years since what we call “the fall of Saigon” and we are still struggling with memory. Forty years since the North Vietnamese reunified their own country and we still don’t know what to make of it. The military is trying to find as many heroic stories as it can to somehow recast the whole war as heroic. Anti-war activists are jumping on their anti-war horses to make sure that doesn’t happen. Most people just want to think about something else, everyone is confused and meanwhile, memory persists. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 23, 2014 § 3 Comments
In all the stories of the United States and Vietnam there runs a mysterious emotional and psychic connection that weaves through the increasingly frantic and desperate actions of the war, persists in the sad and unresolved aftermath, and shows up in the stories of individual people. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 10, 2013 § 4 Comments
I walk through the churchyard of Fairview Methodist Church in Rural Retreat, Virginia, among headstones carved with familiar names. These are people who were a part of my childhood. They helped me grow up. Their lives formed a network around mine and I was woven in among them.
September 17, 2012 § 24 Comments
He sits facing the camera, legs crossed. A stripe runs down the outside of the pants leg. His left hand cradles a revolver while his right holds a Bowie knife against his shoulder. A jaunty striped collar sets off a strong head with dark, wavy hair and a fringe of beard. I notice the eyes, intent and knowing. They are different sizes, the left slightly smaller than the right. I have the same eyes.
This is my great grandfather, John Thomas Dixon. Most of his life he was a tobacco farmer in Charlotte and Prince Edward counties in Virginia but from June or July 1861 to April 23, 1865 he was a Confederate soldier, 56th Virginia Infantry. He fought in many well-known battles but his greatest claim to fame, if only in our family, was that he was wounded in, and survived, Pickett’s Charge.
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August 2, 2012 § Leave a comment
“Yes?” Coyote smiled. He was working on a photograph album at the dining room table.
“It’s just so wonderful to have friends like that! We haven’t seen each other such a long time and we just picked right back up where we left off!”
June 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
We were having breakfast at Cafe Dewitt. I was on the banquette with my back to the fishtank. We were early so no one was seated nearby but they would have been intrigued.
“I haven’t seen one, though I have always wanted to,” I responded. “But I think I heard one once.”
So I told the story. « Read the rest of this entry »
May 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
As I gardened this weekend, musing about Memorial Day in light of the journey I have been on in the past year and a half, I remembered this. It is a story about my godson, three years ago, when he was eight. We had gone to visit the family and to attend the spring fair at the children’s school. I wrote this a few days after I came home.