The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Thomas grew up on a farm in western PA. And was drafted for world war 2 at the age of 18. He was eventually sent to Burma and became part of the Merrill's Marauders. He was one of only 2 from his original group who survived. I met Thomas two years ago, as he was my boyfriends grandfather. He passed this January. This memory is taken from an interview with him this last November.

Last week I got a letter in the mail, my draft registration. I only turned eighteen a month ago, but I knew this was coming. Earlier this year my brother Jim was sent to fight for the United States, and it seems that it is now my turn.

“Hey Tommy, do you want a ride to Bedford tomorrow morning?” My neighbor offered, since I need to get to the main town for a health exam. It’s 20 mi away and I was going to have to leave at 3am to get there in time. “Yes please, It will give me time to take care of the cows.”

Next morning I get into his car to go to Bedford, enjoying the breeze. We pull up in front of the Justice Building and I get out and head into the building. There is already a line of other farm boys around my age, waiting their turn to go in. My turn comes quicker than I think. My heart beat is checked, my eyes, body and strength. I’m approved to go and am sent back into line with the other boys.

A different nurse comes out with a syringe and vial of something. “It’s a Vaccine” she says, as she sticks the first boy in line. Sticking the needle back in the vial she gets ready to stick the next boy. When I finally get the shot, the needle has been in 6 other boys’ arms. The Army sergeant at the Building lets us know that a bus will be here in a week to take us to Fort Riley Kansas, but we will not be needed till then.

 I’m done now but it will be a while till my neighbor is done with his job, so I’m going to walk around town for a bit. Nagging the back of my mind I wonder what will happen. I’ve never gone further from my farm than Bedford, and I’ve never left Pennsylvania. I believe that God will keep me safe.

The Begining

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1942
Bedford, PA

Thomas grew up on a farm in western PA. And was drafted for world war 2 at the age of 18. He was eventually sent to Burma and became part of the Merrill's Marauders. He was one of only 2 from his original group who survived. I met Thomas two years ago, as he was my boyfriends grandfather. He passed this January. This memory is taken from an interview with him this last November.

Decade: 1940s
Rating:
Recorded by Emily Barth on June 8, 2014
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