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Some Kids I Have Known
Uncle Dan


A duration of sixteen years in a military school with two years working there also,  did not give Lizzie a heart so hard she could not feel it breaking with the knowledge her son, Daniel,  was in the heaviest of fighting on the islands of Iwo Jima, during the second World War.

Added to the fear of ultimate loss was the steady news covering the desperate war. There too was the having to deal with shortages brought about in order for the country to afford the war. What had been readily available all at once became scarce. Rations on all food was a reality. The stamps issued which allowed a family to purchase only so much kept them aware the grocery stores were no longer the complete provider of food.  There were some things that weren't available no matter how much money a person had, such as plentiful sugar, cigarettes, and certain condiments available in a very scarce way.

Everyone was allotted just so much via the issue of paper stamps to be handed over with money at the time of purchases.  Sometimes, people traded one thing for another. For instance, farm women who needed to can their produce, fruits and jellies with sugar traded home grown vegetables with town ladies who did not need so much sugar but,  would rather have the fresh vegetables. Of course, there was no system for this and it only the initiative of the farm woman gave her the will to barter in this manner.

Cigarettes were not available but tobacco was.  The explanation was that all the cigarettes went to the men “over seas.”  People who smoked bought a clever little machine which rolled the cigarettes. The paper went in one part of it and the tobacco in another. It was a fascinating thing to watch the very neat rolled cigarette come rolling out of the machine.

Ranching men rolled their own. It was equally as interesting to watch them tap out the tobacco from a small cloth sack into a paper held in one hand, pull the string which closed the top with their teeth,  place it back in their shirt pocket, and continue to roll the cigarette with both hands.  These shortages made the world  war all the more real. These were where the disciplines and the term “home front” was coined. There wasn't the blood shed and the horrors certainly, but it was a way people could sacrifice in order to become a part of the necessary victory. One could ask a multitude of question about the circumstance because   it was all tied  up with patriotism.

Lizze held the self discipline of her Native culture, along with the school training and she was very quietly noncommittal. If the children questioned her there was an answer, but it was given with no emotion. She seemed to hold no anger or joy either. It was a short flat statement of explanation and that was all.

“Gramma?”   “Is Uncle Dan going to get killed like the other soldiers.”

She answered.  “I pray early every morning he will not.”

This the children knew was true because they saw her do so in the early morning hours just as dawn was approaching she was up and out into the back yard behind the house. As was the custom in those days many of her prayers were very long and could last for up to an hour when she was by herself. It was her worship and belief going to her Native ways.

These same ways saw the elders coming together with her and her son at a friendly gathering with their family having a meal together.  At this meal one of the chosen elders was chosen to bestow a name upon this young man.

Mah ahZee, his name is Mah ahZee, Green in the snow. This name has a great significance because he will be like the cedar. He will not die during this cold hard time which is like a winter, he will live through it.  He will live and he will come home to his family.


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