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Petals Amidst the Thorns - Part 6: A Confusion of Sentiment

Updated on May 28, 2017

December 20, 1941

Dear Diary,

I just don’t understand this new world the war has created, I really don’t. Nothing is like it was before and even when it seems like something is the same on the surface you can feel something lurking below it waiting to strike. You can’t rely on anything, anymore. At home everyone’s nerves are on edge, and at least as far as I’m concerned, with good reason.

I haven’t had cause to tell you about our cousins in North Carolina. They’re on my mother’s side, and southern through and through. I’ve only met them once when we went down there for a wedding a few summers ago. We stayed with one set of cousins at their beach house. It’s kind of strange because they live in WIlmington and have a beach house at Wrightsville Beach just about 8 miles away. It’s seems odd to pack up for the summer and then travel less than half an hour to get to your beach house!

The wedding was held outside the parents home on a cliff overlooking the ocean at sunset which was just so beautiful The family had a standard size poodle which was as sweet as could be. During the ceremony he was laying by the side of the wedding party. Just when the two started saying their vows the dog got to his feet pushed between the couple and plopped down onto his stomach. The pair could hardly keep from laughing long enough to recite their vows. Everyone totally cracked up when the dog turned over and looked up at the groom with absolutely adoring eyes.

One of the cousins was a girl my age. She was really nice and since we weren’t invited to all the grownup parties we hung out together. Her name was Genevieve though she went by Ginny. She was really pretty, with long, blond curls I’d love to have instead of my straight do-nothing hair, and two different colored eyes, one blue the other almost amber. She was an only child and she said she was jealous that I had an older brother.

Truthfully, Dear Diary, I think she had a school-girl crush on our Jeremy. Of course, Jeremy was oblivious,. He was more interested in hanging around with the kids he’d met at the local basketball court than us girls.

Ginny was the youngest of the cousins in North Carolina. All the others were much older than my parents even, and that included Mary’s parents. She was a late life baby, she said. Her mother didn’t have her until she was almost 35!

She referred to her family as the “poor relations”. Her father ran a scrap metal business and they didn’t have much extra money. I never thought about not being able to do what the other kids were doing because we didn’t have the money to cover it. I treated her to ice cream once but I think it made her self conscious. I just wanted to do something nice since she had helped me out when I first got there, introducing me to everyone in the family and reminding me of names when I forgot so that no one knew. She was very clever!

As it turns out, It’s a good thing I liked her, because it looks like she might be coming to live with us. I’m not certain, I only heard part of my parent’s conversation. I really don’t mean to eavesdrop (well, not most of the time anyway), but when I hear my parents whispering, I can’t help but become curious.

I think they said Ginny's parents got arrested! Apparently, before the war started, her father sold all of the scrap metal he had to the Japanese. I guess he wasn’t the only one.

Father seemed really angry that the Government was going after scrap metal dealers. From what he said, the Japanese were going around and buying up whatever metal they could find. But it was before Pearl Harbor so we weren’t even in the war yet. Father told mother that that bought all our scrap metal before we knew what they were up to only to fire it all back at us. So they’re arresting anyone who sold metal to the Japanese before the war started.

It really doesn’t seem fair, Dear Diary. Heck, even on the day Pearl Harbor happened our own military ignored obvious warning signs since they didn’t expect Japan to attack us. So how could everyday citizens know a few months before?

I can’t imagine many scrap metal dealers are particularly wealthy. I’m not even sure who their customers would normally be. Arresting them is just going to make it impossible for them to support their families who probably don’t have much else to live off of. And there are rumors that they are going to start rationing all kinds of things to boot. How are those families supposed to survive?

And in Ginny's case, I think they arrested both her parents! How can they think of sending her mother to jail? And for what? Unless her family is different from ours, it’s not likely her father told her mother about all the sales he made and to whom. And even if he had, why would that make it her fault? They shouldn’t even have arrested him! Doesn’t the country have enough to worry about without the government going after it’s own citizens?

I guess some of the cousins called up father and talked to him about taking in Ginny, He told mother he hoped that they hadn’t given Ginny the idea no one there wanted her. Mother said it was probably just because they had children her age so it would be better to send her to us so she wouldn’t be the only child with older adults.

That does seem best. I know I would hate to suddenly find myself living with old relatives who didn’t have any children in the house near my age. Though the thought of suddenly being without my family and forced to live with anyone else would be really hard. Plus having to deal with a new school, worrying about my parents, being away from my friends and going to a whole different area of the country - we may technically count as the South, but after being in North Carolina, I can tell you, Baltimore and Wilmington are worlds apart!

I didn’t hear anything more because the phone rang, someone for father about business so mother and father stopped talking. Will they really arrest Ginny's parents when it’s obvious they didn’t sell to the Japanese knowing we would soon be at war with them? Though I know I shouldn’t be under the circumstances, I’m kind of excited about the idea of having Marty come live with us. Not that I don’t hope her parents won’t go to jail, of course.

But I’ve always wanted a sister, and what with Jeremy acting so odd and stand offish all of a sudden, it would be nice having someone around I can to about things. I really do hope Ginny's parents aren’t put in jail though.

These are such strange times, Dear Diary. I can’t imagine what else this war will change. Things just seem so unpredictable all of a sudden. Goodnight Dear Diary. I’ll write again when I know more about Ginny or when something else unexpected occurs, which is bound to be before long.

Yours Truly,

Josephine


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    • Natalie Frank profile image
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      Natalie Frank 2 months ago from Chicago, IL

      Thanks - I'm glad you're enjoying it. I'd love to hear about your memories of the war and what you remember about how your parents and siblings handled it. I am only imagining what it must have been like.

    • Natalie Frank profile image
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      Natalie Frank 2 months ago from Chicago, IL

      Yes Bill, you are right about that. Just what we did to Japanese Americans alone still reverberate. It continues to worry me what our Government might decide to do or has already done in the name of National Security. Given the limited number of people involved in major decision making that may not go down well with the majority or the American people and you have a classical Group Think type of situation.

    • profile image

      Doris Frank 2 months ago

      I loved the story, it was very interesting, and kept my attention the whole time. Hope your diary will continue on for a long time. Let us know when the next one comes out . Loved it! Q

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Tough times for sure. Seemingly innocent decisions and actions had far-reaching ramifications. Let us hope we never face those times again.