By Gerald J. Stalter
(The Hollywood Times) 3/15/21 – The firmness of his breast, to the bounce of his gentle bottom, the strength in his muscles to the beauty marks on his face as he smiles. The curves to your delight, the reaction you get when your hand brushes upon his face. His breath on his face. Yet, when stripped to nothing but the man he is you don’t pay any mind to the wealth in his pocket, nor the title he deems. To you he’s just a man standing there for your eyes to soak in. he could be anyone you wish. Yet before your eyes, the man goes cold. Lying on the floor as the iris on his eyes grows bigger as he just died in front of you, and there wasn’t anything you were able to do to help him. Showing you how he died in the life you took him from. He was supposed to fall with the other men he was fighting with, yet you wanted him for your own. There is beauty in death and life. One you can see until you can’t see it anymore. Then you are left there to do what? Tell the story of the man he was, the kind, gentle person that others didn’t get to see as the society had made his edges tougher than the rest. The thing is there is more to beauty than the vanity you seek. They leave things behind, and it is up to us to understand the mystery behind the man or women. They didn’t die for anything, anyone as we grieve for what we see, hear, fear. We all fear death. More than others. We mourn every morning. We just mask it with a different spelling. I was a child of death and wounder. Not only did I grow up inside a genealogy-based family on my mother’s side of the family, but I grew up seeing the dead, and still can in some light. That I have gotten from my father’s side of the family. When I was fifteen that was the time that it was known to me that I had to balance both sides of what made me.
My grandmother on my mom’s side always told me we didn’t have military in our family. Guess where I started? Finding more than she was letting onto. Then my mother went to an antique store, a store she never would set foot into. She did it for me on my birthday one year. She gave me this man’s handwritten letters from the time he was in WW2. She knows I liked a mystery, and I had to find his family. His family wasn’t that hard to find. He was related to me in my direct line. His family sold most of his stuff as they didn’t want it not more. They took what they wanted to keep, but they gave the rest to who knows. I worked at a thrift store where I witnessed this at hand where the families would donate the person’s photos, old vintage items. That one set of letters made me wonder if there was anything else out there. So, I made it my mission to get the letters a set at a time and figure out where their family is. If they don’t want the letters, then I would see if I was related to that person. They were throwing away their history. You can’t get this insight anymore as he or she is dead.
Where did I start but with my own family? It was as if his house was on fire and I had to step through the flames to get to him, his story. Albert H. Pymm was my mother’s First Cousin on her father’s side. His wife and himself were like second grandparents to her. My mother told me that she had thought of him as a hunk as his wife showed beach photos of him from the 1920s. haven’t seen them myself, but I would take her word. He served in WW1. Like most young men, he wasn’t married. There was no one there to cry for him if he died. There might have been his parents, but even them shouldn’t have to worry about their child like that. Most people on their 21st birthday want to go out and drink for the first time, he signed up for the fight. No matter what age that is a hard thing to think about. He was a funny man every time that he might talk about the time in the war, he would tell whoever was around was that all the men had to go in for an examination where they had to stand in this room wearing nothing at all with other men as the doctor did their physicals. He said he was medium inbuilt, and weight that he had to try and hold his breath as it made his tummy look smaller. He was finding the humor in something that he had to go through, so the children didn’t have to relive what he did. That there should show his strength.
I felt bad for him in a way he had to bend down for a cavity search. You just know that happened then reading things about the times. That there was someone there while that search was happening to tell if that man had ever slept with another man. If he did then they throw him in jail. I can’t even picture myself going through that type of thing. Yet he had to bend down like all the others and let a stranger put their finger up in that area to make sure. My mother always said if it was the way you acted. If your face didn’t make a wrinkle then you have, if you felt pain then you haven’t. The things that man must have gone through to get to this moment. Yet he went through that pain, that moment so we didn’t have to. I’m secretly saluting him in my head.
Have you ever seen those animated shows where the girl is smelling a flower, and when she goes to let you smell it this powder just blows in your face to figure out that it is poison pollen? That was a character I gave to Ms. Pymm growing up. My mother told me about her ability to grow anything, always baking, always smiling. She was a teacher so I could picture that. She also lived with Mister Pymm, so she had to have a heavy hand on that household no matter the situation. You never know what a family is going to hide in-between the petals to the flower they are holding as she was hiding the shyest of family members that even she didn’t know was in that flower. She was related to a man who didn’t even know what her last name meant or was. Yet it only takes a little connection like hers to his to make a family. I know they say it doesn’t matter who you love as you make a family no matter what, but what if you could be and didn’t know it? There is that theory again where we all might be related.
There was this group of letters that were floating around this one sales site, and I had money to burn as I just got my paycheck at the time. Yet, this one set of letters from WW2 was telling me without telling me that it needed me to get it. It was as if I was a lady going into a shoe store. You just think they all need to go home with you. Well, that was the pair of letters that was coming to my home. There was something in the back of my mind telling me that those groups of letters will forever change me. Until it has gotten in my mailbox all I thought about was those pages. They were mailed out years ago into a leather sack crossed the sea to his loved one’s hand. Now at the time, it was getting sent into the mail again to me. I didn’t know at the time I was a loved one. A distant one indeed! When it came in the mail, I had this giant smile on my face like a kid getting ready to rip open that gift on their birthday knowing that mother had gotten them what they wanted. I know most people want the newest phone and that’s what they stare into. Me its old letters from a person who written them years before I was even thought of. The letters, the paper were smooth. It felt as if they were in my hands before. That is something that I still can’t get past. It felt as if I was the one who wrote these pages. That or his spirit was with me knowing that if he made me feel as he did that, I would understand him a little more. Reading the pages felt as if I was reading a ballerina’s dance. His writing has so much beauty that he has seen the world differently compared to most of the letters that I have read from other men during that time. seeing the pages there was something odd to me. there was this smell that was still in the papers. If you put your nose to the pages, you could still smell the cigar smoke he was smoking when he wrote them. It was as if we were sharing a breath all these years later.
That was something I had to do. Track down his family. How? I had his name, his mother’s name, and that wasn’t enough. His sister’s information was within one of the letters as well. I guessed at the year he was born as most of the men in that war were born in the 1920s area of time. Nothing was popping up. then I went into the first letter and found out the sister’s information. how much I was able to grab. That was when I found it. I found him not only through his letters but through the sister’s information. She was part of the ladies who signed up for the war as a secretary. That he was the reason she signed up. she changed lives because he signed up. if he didn’t then she wouldn’t have don’t the things she needed to. The way things happen. Well, when I was able to get his information through her, I went onto his. I had gotten more out of the letters than I did in my searching.
It was strange when I saw his middle name. At the time, the second book to my series was getting ready to be published, and it was odd how the title was a match. William was his middle name. Then when watching a lot of old periods shows from England that name comes up a lot. His first name was George. George William sounded like a noble knight that would be at the round table. His full name however is George William Spurr. He gave me the ability to add a new surname to the list of last names that I was related to. Finding that his sister and brother never had children. made me look at him more. He never had children either. Three children and not a child. What are the odds of that? Well, then I thought. The sister made a carrier out for the military, she never stopped to have children, the other brother had health issues where he didn’t. George had a lover, but he let her go to another while he was away at war as he knew that if he asked her to wait and he comes back in a wooden box. That he didn’t want her to remember that, to go through that. He went on teaching and making that his life as he thought it was the best outcome. So, all three never had children. It was coming together now, that I was chosen by him to get these letters. It was as if it was meant to be. He couldn’t rest until I was able to tell his stories. Looking into his tree I found an Atwood. The only link I had was to Ms. Pymm. She was giving me that flower slowly.
Looking at George’s photo that came with the letters. You could dive into his own little world for a split second. It was as if this man was leaving me clues that he didn’t even know were there. The photo attached to the paragraph before is just a small window into him. In the photo or on the paper as you might say it is fingerprinted where he must have touched it before the ink had time to dry. That is rare right there, to have his own fingerprints and touching it as if they were yours that brings time to life right there on its own. As you can tell he, to me, has a bashful smile. Shy, yet confident in who he is. When I think of an old fashion wave to a man’s hair that you are born with. He has it down to a T. If he was a teacher after the war, I could see the light he put in those eyes looking at him as he taught. Him making his students laugh. He changed their lives just as much as he changed mine, and if I had changed yours, he is still doing what he loved through me.
Sometimes when I see the spirit, they take me from my body if I was sleeping or not. I can’t tell you how many times that has happened. Most of the time it scares me because they take me while I am driving. Driving! Thank goodness there is someone in the car with me. There was a moment where I was driving with my mother, and it was raining as if you were in a shower. You couldn’t see your hand in front of you, but I had to get her home. There was a man standing in the middle of the lane. I was yelling out to my mother that I was going to hit this man. People behind me in their cars kept beeping at me because I slowed down not to hit the poor man, but my mother never saw him. When I looked at him, he didn’t have a face. Seconds later he was gone. Then there was this other moment my mother wanted ice-cream so bad. She got into the car before me. At the time we lived in an apartment complex. When we got to the entrance. My mother kept telling me to turn, yet I couldn’t. There was something crossed the road. I kept licking my lips, that is my sign there is a ghost present that needs my attention. There was a square metal mailbox where I was looking that belonged to the ambulance corps that was located near the entrance. I turn my car, but the ghost didn’t show himself quite yet as he pulled me from my body. I could still feel my hands on the wheel, and my back against the seat, but my vision wasn’t there. My feet felt they were holding on by the tips of my toes in my own eye sockets. There was a tall, young cowboy standing where the mailbox was. He had a brown leather vest on, with canvas pants, a cowboy hat on the back of his head. His boots had those metal spurs on his boots, his shirt was unbuttoned some showing the top of his chest hair. He was wrapped in cloth in his chest area as he was wounded by a bullet. He told me that he wanted a hug before he crossed over. I remember his face. He had blonde hair, bushy-like eyebrows, and a goofy grin. A U, shaped jaw. His horse had thrown him, and his neck broke on the landing. The mailbox was placed in the very spot he had died. He spent all this time waiting for someone like me to be able to give him a hug. He wanted to be loved. As he didn’t get that in life. So, I hugged him without thinking. The hug was so warm, I didn’t want it to stop. I could feel the lines of his torso pressed onto me, his whole body just weakening from the one thing he wanted the most, a hug. He never told me his name; he just wanted a hug. Afterward, he put me back in my body, as I felt a gust of wind, as the windows to my car were closed. He crossed over the moment, the very moment he put me back where I needed to be. All that happened in a matter of seconds. That’s how it works for me. It only takes seconds, but I remember all this insight.
Cuff links, George was standing in this fancy room in the dream he was in of mine. He was fixing the cuff links onto his wrist. It was as if he was going to a wedding. When I came into the room, he looked up at me. he didn’t talk, he just placed his hands out in the air. There wasn’t anyone else in the room, just the two of us. He wanted to dance with me to a slow song as he listened to it. It isn’t what they want to say to you, sometimes it is what they want you to see, hear, feel. He wanted me to witness him, at the moment he enjoyed the most. A slow dance with a person of his choosing and being in peace. He couldn’t move on until the letters were on me. He even stopped in the middle of the song placing the letters in my suit coat. Then he reached his hand between my suit coat and my suspenders on the spot where my birthmark is. It was as if he fulfilled his mission to deliver the letters to the lover of the soldier who died on his side. The letters weren’t his that I had; they were some other letters that he knew that I had. I was the person that was supposed to read them as I was that love in their next walking life on this planet. He then put his pointer finger over his lips as he has shown me a dream, I had years before where I was shot and died in the trench in France. Looking at this photo of a young adult girl with curly hair. Asking him to make sure she gets the letters I had on my person. That is why he never loved in his lifetime because he couldn’t relive their love, that seeing their pain and killings were too much to release on someone else. Giving to the next generation was the best point of view he was able to give. He then kept me dancing. I wasn’t the lover of that person, but I shared it online for a family member that might come crossed that tree in the future. As if I was giving the men who were still wondering the land as that part of who they weren’t was fulfilled. I was giving that to them. The song ended and he lets me leave. The door was a ball of light. Then I woke. He wanted me to see that I was doing good things, that I wasn’t alone on that side. Giving those men the chance to cross over and move on was the best gift to give them. Giving of oneself to help many.
George had large but gentle hands. He had round thumbs that when I look at other men’s fingers, they match his. Its dose makes me wonder if fingers could tell us if that person is related to another. My mother had a double-jointed pinkie, in later years her father’s sister, her son had twins who had my mother’s finger. I knew they were related, so I didn’t have to think hard about it. But there are thousands of us on this planet. What if things like fingers could tell us that we are related to the other person who has the same characteristic? Not saying they are, but we have left clues. The thing is technology haven caught up to that yet. In his letters, he talks of the new spring flowers, which are so cool as my mother’s purple crocuses are blooming at this very moment. The letter he has written was to his mother. Mom Power! The letter was written two days after my mothers’ death the same day I sat down to write this manuscript. It’s like time was lining itself to match. Or I’m thinking of this way too hard. He goes on to say how he had gotten dress measurements for his sister’s wedding, how he knew her dress had flowers on it. That right there gives you an insight into her wedding as he was telling us himself what she might have been wearing. When writing the letters about his sister’s engagement and wondering if his mother had enough rations for her wedding plans if not, he was going to give his to her so she could get her dress. It made him question if he made the right choices in life as he didn’t want this girl, he was dating prior to the war to have to love him if she didn’t, he was understanding. That was a heavy head for that crown that was on his head.