The other day I felt our house shudder. An explosion of memory, or so it seemed, memory of loss and the inevitable struggles to slip magically back into whatever seemed like life for a family living in this house in 1942. Today’s posting will resonate more deeply for my Torontonian readers. But it will also interest those of you who like to hear the drum roll of history. And to feel house shudders, as I did, when I investigated the poppy map.
I invite Toronto residents to open the attached link. Scroll down to see the poppies. If you click on a single poppy on any street in Toronto you will learn the name of the soldier who lived there and died in a war. http://www.openfile.ca/remembrance_day
A friend is visiting us from Kingston today. She just wandered into my office and I told her what I was writing and showed her the poppy map. “It’s amazing how the further we get away from the war, the more interested people are with it.” I thought about that and the word that flashed across the screen of my mind was safety. It’s safe, now, to package this era as ‘then’ and to call it history. It’s safe, now, because world wars seemed to stop at the number two and we can breathe again. In our little house, for instance, we have an eighteen-year-old whooping it up in a university residence and not in a barracks or a trench. He comes home and raids the fridge. In our little house we once had that unbearable heaviness of being called grief: the loss of a son, a RCAF airman, seventy some years ago.