The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

Visit us on FaceBookGenerations of Memories
from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge


By Vadna L. Bush © 1986

Issue: March, 1986

I was a six year old child in 1942 and I knew a war was going on, but I didn't know what "war" meant, except it made my mam cry a lot. She watched the mail every day, because she had three brothers in service, and before the war ended, another would go.

We lived in Kelly View, a part of Southwest Virginia, and I didn't know how blessed we were at that time. We raised our own food, so all we needed were "Ration Coupons" to buy staples with. The staples included sugar, shoes and gasoline, among other things. If anything else was needed and we didn't have a coupon for it, we "made do" or did without.

Many hearts were breaking with sadness, but as a child, I could see a lot of exciting things happening. Everyday there was at least one thing different in my life.

One day in particular, we dressed up in our "Sunday" clothes, because we were going to Appalachia, and my brother and I would get to see the train from the depot. This was a special occasion for us, even if we didn't know the reason for it.

One of my uncles and his-girl friend were riding to town with us. He was real handsome in his uniform, and even if he was real quiet, I knew all was not well because Mam and his girl were both crying. Daddy just drove the car and was quiet, but looked sad.

When we arrived at the depot, we were not. alone. There were a lot of people waiting for the train. Almost every little group had a young man dressed in a uniform.

When the train stopped, there was a lot of crying, hand shaking, hugging and kissing. Then all the boys in uniform got on the train and left the rest of us standing.

As the train moved slowly from the station, the windows were filled with every kind of military uniform in the armed forces. There were goodbyes and waving of hands until the train was out of sight.

The uncle who left on the train, a happy, smiling, young man, came back a few years later, shell shocked, and in poor health. We always had to walk quietly around him until his death a very few years later.