Packed In My Brain As A Youth

Dad liked to help me memorize things.  He taught me the Lord’s Prayer, the 23rd Psalm, the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, and other things.  Dad was raised as a Christian Scientist, and he taught me some things that Mary Baker Eddy wrote too.  It has been many years since our family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), but some of those things still mill around in my brain.  I was very young, maybe six or seven, when Dad taught me this:

Thy kingdom come.

Let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love

be established in me, and

rule out of me all sin;

and may Thy Word enrich

the affections of all mankind,

and govern them!

–Mary Baker Eddy – 1821-1910

When I learned that, I had no idea what it meant.  Today as I ponder those words, I am awe struck.  What if I truly allowed God’s truth and love to consume me?  What if I let His love expunge the sin in my life?  What if the scriptures had such an impact on mankind that we truly were governed by God’s word?

I learned this in a Christian Science children’s book:  “The 5 G’s:  God, Good, Guides, Guards, and Governs me.”  I hadn’t thought of that for many years.  Then one night, I was faced with what could have been a life or death situation, and those words came to my mind.  I was instantly calm and was able to control the situation.  I’m quite certain those simple words saved me from harm — possibly death.  There is power in words.

Little children are so often underestimated.  We don’t realize the power of little minds to memorize good words.  The good words that were packed in my brain as a child have guided me through my life.  Help your children and grandchildren to memorize the good things.  Sing to them often.  Words to many songs can be comforting in times of trouble.  Music is the universal language.  It touches the heart and soul.  I’ve spent many rough moments pondering the lyrics of good music.  My soul is often quieted by the little tunes learned in my youth.  “‘Give,’ said the little stream.”  “Teach me to walk in the light of His love.”  “Spring has brought me such a nice surprise; popcorn popping right before my eyes.”  “I am a child of God, and He has sent me here.  Has given me an earthly home, with parents kind and dear.  Lead me, guide me, walk beside me.  Help me find the way.  Teach me all that I must do to live with him someday.”

What messages are we packing into the minds of our little ones?  When was the last time we read scripture to our children or grandchildren?  Or even a good book?  When was the last time we sang to them?  Does the bedtime routine include family prayer?  When was the last time we rocked our little ones to sleep and let them feel enveloped in our love, as well as Heavenly Father’s love?

I cherish the moments spent learning at the feet of my parents.  I long to hear again my mother’s voice singing “Somewhere over the rainbow.”  I hold tight to the memories of rocking my own children, singing to them, reading to them, and helping them write talks to give in Primary (LDS children’s Sunday School).  Maybe — just maybe — something that I packed in their brains will help them through the rough spots.  I hope.

Guest Post: Battle of Buffalo Wallow WWII

My sister, Colleen Janes, wrote the following story for our family history.  My Dad, Richard C. Janes, was a World War II veteran.  His is just one of many stories that have never been told.  We are losing World War II veterans at an alarming rate.  Colleen gave me permission to publish this because we both feel that too many stories are left untold.  Colleen did a wonderful job on this, and I appreciate that she is allowing me to share it publicly.  So in her own words:

Mom & Dad Wedding Picture

Margaret and Dick Janes
Wedding Picture December 8, 1942

My dad served as a supply sergeant in the U.S. Army in the South Pacific theater in World War II.  He served mainly in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines.  In the Philippines he served with General Hospital unit.  It was a medical unit that was smaller than a M.A.S.H. unit and closer to the front lines than a M.A.S.H. unit.  It was comprised mostly of medical personnel.

During World War II, medical personnel were not sent to a full basic training course as they are now.  They weren’t taught to shoot weapons or use hand-to-hand combat, because they were to “do no harm” and it was not expected that they would ever be put on the front lines.

However, on December 10th, 1944, the 44th General Hospital (just a few days before nurses were to be assigned to them) ended up behind enemy lines due to a signal corps SNAFU, and the unit ended up holding down an air strip in the Philippines until it was “re-captured” by the U.S. military.  It was called The Battle of Buffalo Wallow, and each member of the unit was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation medal for fighting it.

So how did these doctors (many of whom had never held a weapon) manage to fend off Japanese soldiers and hold the air strip?  Luckily there were two expert marksmen (non-medical people) in the unit who broke open the weapons they had in supply, lined up the doctors and gave them a quick weapons training course.  One of the marksmen was from a farm in the Midwestern part of the United States, the other was a long-time deer hunter from Portola, California (Dick Janes).  Together they quickly armed and trained the doctors, bunkered down, and didn’t let the Japanese take the air strip.

With communications cut off, and the unit surrounded, they sat there like sitting ducks fighting off Japanese soldiers, all the while waiting for the U.S. military to come to their aid.  But the U.S. military, believing that the men were dead, gave up the airstrip and notified the Red Cross that they were to notify the families back home.

When the army decided to “re-capture” the airstrip, they were surprised to find that it had been under U.S. military control the entire time.

Meanwhile, weeks later, an unfortunate Red Cross worker walked up and knocked on the door at 5th & Thompson Streets in Carson City, Nevada to notify one soldier’s wife that she was now a widow.  Luckily, she had already received word from her husband that he had been to hell and back, but that he was alive and well.  When the Red Cross worker gave her the “bad” news, I think she decided to send him to hell and back, too.

There are many accounts of the battle, including one article in Time magazine; but, according to Dad, it was the Signal Corps’ fault that the medical unit ended up behind enemy lines that night.  The signal corps was supposed to be on the front lines, but retreated without telling anyone.

Dad used to get such a big kick out of the television show, M.A.S.H.  He said it was so true to life.  His unit even had a Corporal Klinger, only the 44th General Hospital’s crazy guy called himself “Foot Locker.”  Whenever they would ask his name, he would respond, “Foot Locker.”  Dad said he could never figure out if the guy was genuinely crazy or just trying for a Section 8.  But they finally ended up sending him stateside.

But Dad laughed the most at the episode where Radar O’Reiley is on the radio trying to get the friendly-fire shelling of the hospital stopped.  Dad said that, at the beginning of Buffalo Wallow when they still had communications, headquarters kept telling the hospital to quit firing; because they must be shooting at their own men.  Dad said they kept telling headquarters, “These guys are a little too short and a little too yellow to be our men!”

On a really poignant note, Dad kept a letter log throughout his entire overseas experience.  It is attached.  He kept a detailed account of each card and letter he received and each letter he wrote.  To save paper, his writing keeps getting smaller and smaller and smaller until it is so small I don’t know how he wrote it.  One of the most poignant entries:  Jan 8 and 9, no letter written (flu).

Files attached:

·        Dad with a captured flag at Buffalo Wallow

·        Tongue-in-Cheek accounts bantered back and forth between the Signal Corps and the 44th General Hospital

·        A journalist’s account with a hand-written note on the bottom from Dad that it wasn’t quite accurate

Writer versus Journalist

In the age of social media, we often forget there is a difference between a writer and a journalist.  By definition, journalism is “writing events without at attempt at interpretation.”  (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary (1970), 459.)  I could discuss whether modern day journalists actually adhere to that definition, but I’ll save that post for another day.  A writer has a different definition.  A writer “practices writing as an occupation.”  Writing is defined as “to communicate with writing.”  (Webster’s, supra, 1032-1033.)

Bloggers are writers (unless, of course, they are writing for a newspaper or other journalistic purposes).  Writers are free to express their opinions.  One may not like their opinions, but that’s okay.  If you don’t like it, you can put your own opinions on paper, or just choose not to read anything else from that writer.  What happens all too frequently, however, is public thrashing and name calling, all behind the safety of a computer screen.

Case in point:

Mrs. Hall has her own blog, and she published her very personal opinions here.  If you don’t have time to read the blog post, a quick synopsis is that she monitors her sons’ Facebook accounts, and she is concerned that their female friends are posting pictures of themselves scantily clothed in their bedrooms.  Mrs. Hall doesn’t like her sons seeing these pictures, and has warned the girls that she will block them from her sons’ Facebook accounts if they post these pictures.  She says she gives no second chances, however, this writer notes that she does give the offending girls the opportunity to take offending pictures down.  Another blogger, Jerilyn Pool, wrote this rebuttal.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve watched on social media as this woman has been publicly flogged.  Nasty name calling  seems to be the order of the day.  I’ve written previously about my contempt for the nastiness on social media.  I’ve also written about the difficulty writers have of people reading into what is written things that are just not there.  I won’t rehash all that here, but to say that it would be a much nicer world if we could all play nice in the sandbox.

So this is my take on the situation from a writer’s perspective:  We almost never try to write about every single scenario possible. We write about what we see and feel at the moment.  For instance, I could write an article about the detrimental effects on children when their neighborhood school closes.  I could focus on the difficulty of poor families without transportation trying to get their children to and from school.  Even though I know the school district has financial problems and sees no alternative, I may not even bring that up in my article.  At a later date, I might write a second article about the financial devastation of the school district and why closing schools is seen as the only alternative.

Mrs. Hall obviously is having difficulty with what young women are posting on Facebook for her sons to see.  She wrote a blog post from that perspective, trying to solve that problem.  As a parent, she has chosen to write the blog post explaining her position in hopes that the young women will stop and think.  She has chosen to listen to “experts” who tell parents to monitor what their kids see on the internet.  Other parents may choose to “teach good principles” and let their children “govern themselves.”  I don’t think this mother is saying that if a man rapes a woman that she is responsible for her own rape because of the way she dresses, or what she posted on Facebook.  I think Mrs. Hall is trying to make a point to these young women that there is a better way to get attention, and to point out to her sons that it isn’t appropriate for them to see their female friends in skimpy clothing posing in their bedrooms (where I’m sure they wouldn’t be allowed to be in person).  As a writer, I can tell you first hand that people read into my articles and blog posts things that just aren’t there.  Mrs. Hall is saying, “Hey, girls, it isn’t appropriate for you to post skimpy pictures for my sons to view. If you do, you’ll be blocked.”  Six months from now, Mrs. Hall may choose to write a blog post about how young men should appreciate and treat women.

Don’t put words in this woman’s mouth.  She’s a mom.  She’s trying to teach her sons what is appropriate to view and what is not.  In the process, she’s trying to wake up a few girls to the fact that they are beautiful inside and out, and that they should cherish their bodies, not flaunt them for the world to see.  If you don’t like what she says, that’s okay.  THIS IS MRS. HALL’S PERSONAL BLOG.  You don’t have to like it.  If you wish, write a rebuttal on your own blog.  It is not appropriate, however, to drag this woman’s name into the mud and slime that is the social media.  At least accept that she is a mom doing what she feels is best for her sons. Cut her some slack, for crying out loud!  She is entitled to her opinions.