I wrote this post a year ago. So many of us have stories – of sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, uncles, grandfathers – and first cousins once removed… Find the stories – tell the stories. We mustn't ever stop telling the stories. If we stop telling the stories, these events will never stop.
When my sisters and I came into this world, my mother had no parents, one sister and one first cousin. Her cousin Allan Park was a half generation older than her. Like most of our family, he was known to us more in story than life. That scar on his head was legendary. It was from a war.
World War II was mythology to us kids born in the sixties. I have fuzzy recollections of my dad watching the news on tv and seeing footage from Viet Nam but that wasn’t real, it was on tv.
Allan’s war, to us, was a story wrapped up in that scarred head we saw a few times over our lifetimes. All we knew was that we were lucky he was with us, that his injury very nearly killed him and if it had everything would be different.
In 1979, the story of that scar revealed itself via the words of national favourite storyteller, Farley Mowat, in his novel And No Birds Sang. It was a different story than the one any of us had known.
The blanket that screened the shattered cellar door was thrust aside and a party of stretcher bearers pushed in amongst us. Al Park lay on one of the stretchers. He was alive, though barely so… unconscious, with a bullet in his head.
As I looked down at his faded, empty face under its crimson bandages, I began to weep.
I wonder now… were my tears for Alex and Al and all the others who had gone and who were yet to go?
Or was I weeping for myself… and those who would remain?
- Excerpt: And No Birds Sang, Farley Mowat
You want to talk about how a story can bring new light to a family?
To a nation on Remembrance Day?