Heimwee- homecoming hero, what feeds you?
from Veteran Wilbur Sharpe, this Memorial Day about being a POW in Germany from June 1943 to Jan. 21, 1945 (Ashburn Patch Newspaper, Ashburn, VA). He suffered acute hardshiop. Months after liberation to the Russian allies and enroute back to American allies, he still weighted only 94 pounds. In the POW camp, Red Cross packages save their lives.
Red Cross packages were turned over to the prisoners every 10 days, after the German captors, appropriated a “share.” In contrast to Sharpe’s suffering, Allied POW’s, and European civilians in the Pacific Japanese concentration camps found stacks of undistributed and pilfered Red Cross packages, AFTER liberation August 1945. By then many starved to death and died from disease.
Families over generations have always associated food with love. After such a legacy of hunger, Dutch families in the ’50’s to ’60’s— the decade of my childhood — particularly did. The Dutch starvation winter of ’44/’45 which killed 50,000 civilians and my father’s experiences starving in those Japanese concentration camps brought a love of food, and a reverence of food to many households. Homecoming meant being fed again. Here is a photo of me, the well loved-well fed toddler, first grandchild toddler:
I hungered to express love and feel love from my family who suffered in World War II. My father, who watched his own father starve to death, and who barely survived seperation from his brother, mother and sister across several Japanese concentrations camps, ALWAYS asked, “Is there more?” In a safe world, there is always more. I so wish that there was enough nutritious food in every household in America, and for every family the world over. Not yet. There are Never Agains, and Not Yets. I’find hope in the knowledge, that one way the world keeps trying to give, is giving enough food. Still, it is a Not Yet.
Wilbur Sharpe reminds me that expressing love, and receivng love from those who suffered is simple, just appreciate.
Homecoming means the answer is ALWAYS, “Yes, there is more,” to my Papa’s question. More appreciation, more food.
Food and water is neccesary for life, World War II survivors and others can never take food and water for granted again.
Soul Food is also faith, or whatever renews each person’s spirit.
Heart Food is also love.
What is your comfort food?
What renews your spirit?
What is your love? Wilbur Sharpes’s food of love is: “Just appreciate us. And consider us survivors, not heroes. I am not a hero; I’m strictly a survivor.“
Henri Nouwen, a Dutch priest who spent most of his life in the U.S., and Canada, from his book The Wounded Healer:“A man can keep his sanity and stay alive as long as there is at least one person who is waiting for him. The mind of man can indeed rule his body even when there is little health left. A dying mother can stay alive to see her son before she gives up the struggle, a soldier can prevent his mental and physical disintegration when he knows that his wife and children are waiting for him. But when “nothing and nobody” is waiting, there is no change to survive in the struggle for life.”
Who are you appreciating as a survivor of either war, or strife or poverty, or childhood abuse? Maybe you are learning to appreicate yourself?
Tell me who you appreciate today, how you get fed, how you feed others.
Next post from me, how Food and Homecoming was for me and for us in the ’50’s and ’60’s in The Netherlands (Holland). Also to be mentioned,the book The Taste of War: World War Two and the Battle for Food by Lizzie Collingham.