postcard from the past
Sixty-seven years ago this fall, PFC Carl A. Thompson of rural Promise City, Iowa, was in Japan, part of the post-surrender troop force. Later on this week, my daughter, son-in-law, grandgirl and granddog will close on their first home in St. Augustine, Florida. The common denominator these two facts share is the postcard pictured above.
This Shinto shrine card was one of a handful in a small box of WWII mementos I brought back to Colorado a couple summers ago. My siblings will confirm that Dad had little to say about his time in the Pacific Rim. Even the victories of war were not to be glorified.
But these cards, some coins and a few grainy photos of GIs, still-standing architecture and Mt. Fugiyama (“this is the same view we see from the top of our building”) were our go-to gems when Japan was the country-du-jour in grade school Geography.
I remembered the cards, tucked away in a dresser drawer, when the kids were discussing decor for their new home. Dmitri is drawn intuitively by Asian design–from kanji lettering to koi swimming. What if we framed a few for his office, I asked. We would be so honored, they said.
Next step, confirming with my brother and sisters that they were willing to share something that belonged to all of us in this house-warming gift. By all means let Dimitri display them, so we can see them when we visit!! came the almost-immediate first response. They should be with those who respect them came the second. Please send me a picture when they are framed, said the third.
Oh, my goodness, by sibling-friends. How grateful–and tearful–l I am to be yours.
And so it is. An old card in a new home. Nearly 70 years of history and happenings, come and gone. A cultural crossing and a cross-country package.
But here’s the best: the three “Thompson kids” and the wife to whom these postcards were sent can share the joy of knowing that, even though he’s gone, our dad’s values are still in full view.
Can it get any better?