Image by Rennett Stowe via Flickr
As posted on Sunday, May 30, MINDSIEVE has chosen to blog about choices and changes this week. One of the choices I've made in the last month are books that I've selected to read.
In the choice I made of selecting James Michener's first published novel, Tales of the South Pacific, I've been changed by a new awareness of some of the events of WWII; particularly those events outlined in the novel's ocean setting of the Coral Sea and in particular, the Solomon Islands. Prior to reading this book I had little interest or knowledge that this remote archipelago even existed in the South Pacific Ocean. (I knew the South Pacific Ocean only as the beach a few blocks away from the town of Pacific Beach in San Diego where I resided upon birth, with my parents - my Dad was a US sailor.) Certainly I had no geographical curiosity or awareness of how totally isolated, yet in what close proximity the Solomon Islands lie to Australia and New Zealand - nor of what importance they were to fighting the aggression of Japanese forces of the time.
Michener's story awakened a gratitude in me for the events and lives lost of enlisted men of all services and backgrounds. I found myself weeping with their losses and remembering in a rather abstract way, which I'd never thought about before, the lives of those men in my family who were in uniform at one time or another in WWII - my own father, John David, my uncles Paul, Marion, Earl, my father-in-law Eugene. Our families were fortunate in that our beloved men were not lost in the Solomons or on any unknown sandy beach or perilous depth of the sea. They were not stationed in Pearl Harbor on that fateful day. Equally strange in my reflection of the novelist's time period is the fact that I was in my mother's womb during the time this novel was set, so cradled in my own little "ocean" while men I never would know were dying on some strange beach in order that I would be born into safety in a place where there would be no death from a deadly beach landing.
I could go on, but strangely I believe you get the point of this choice/change post. Perhaps a contemporary of mine, have you read Michener's work, did you ever view a stage performance of the play/movie - "South Pacific" - inspired by his work? Did your family members serve in any military capacity - can you just imagine on this Memorial Day how all our lives were set/changed/affected by the choices and changes that persons known or unknown to us of our Armed Services made in those early years of our lives or perhaps in the years before we were born? I am grateful. I am changed from remembering their lives in a way I had not experienced before - any thoughts for you?