Chapter XVIII - Edward to Service
Irma graduated college in January, 1943. She was a teacher now and I was very happy for her. She had worked hard and deserved her place in the world. Her first job was in Irvington High School, the school she had attended as a student.
1943 was an eventful year. Not only did Irma become a teacher but I became a grandmother for the sixth time. Tony and Anne had a beautiful baby girl, Carol.
Edward, at seventeen, had graduated high school, and, being under age for the draft, decided to work for a year. He could not find a decent paying job since he wasn't eighteen and wasn't permitted to work full time.
A year passed quickly and he was called for service. One month after his eighteenth birthday, he was off to serve his country. When it was time for him to leave, he tried to be strong and said he did not want anyone to see him off since he disliked emotionalism. We assured him we would only go as far as the draft board headquarters since his bus would leave from there. He gave in that much and said that would be all right. My two married daughters, Colette and Lucy, were at my house to wish him farewell. Irma drove us to the draft board headquarters but had to leave immediately for school. Edward was already on the bus. We waved good-by and the bus left. My heart was leaving with him.
I said, "I'm going to the train station. I want to see him off there." Colette echoed me and so did Lucy. We boarded the first bus to the Pennsylvania Train Station in Newark. We were a little fearful of his reaction but I felt I had to be there.
When we reached the station, we asked if the train with the recruits had left. We were told that they had not and that they were in the waiting room. We entered the room and saw Eddie waiting, sitting on a bench with his elbows on his knees and his face in his hands. He was the picture of dejection. I put my hand gently on his shoulder. He raised his head and looked in my face and a smile like a ray of sunshine appeared on his face. I was happy that I had come. All four of us chatted happily until it was time for him to leave on the train. We saw him seated and when the train left we waved good-by with no hysterics. I believed he left happy.
I had planned to go to work after seeing him off, but for the life of me I could not leave the bus at my place of work. My daughters said, "Aren't you getting off?"
I said, "No. I have to go home and cry."
When I arrived home I found my daughter-in-law Anne and a couple of friends waiting for us.
My daughter Colette had restrained her emotions but when she saw them she burst into tears and cried out, "I will never see Eddie again!"
I turned to her and said, "Don't you say that! Of course we will see Eddie. He will be all right."
After basic training Eddie was assigned to Niagara University where he took courses in engineering. Before starting school he came home on his furlough to tell us all about his experiences. We thought he looked very handsome in his army uniform.
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