Book Club Meeting – January 13, 2011

On January 13, 2011, I had the pleasure of attending a Book Club meeting at the home of Kay Buffamante. This was a new experience for me, as those ladies who would be attending had read the book, and I was excited to be able to talk about the areas that they were interested in discussing. The meeting had originally been scheduled for December 8 but had to be rescheduled due to foul weather which has been a common occurrence these days. I was anxious to learn which areas that they found most interesting and to get their feedback. We also had 2 special guests – Sara Kyler (my Mom) and Pat Ward (Kay’s Mom) who added delight to the occasion.

The background tunes of the WWII era set the mood for the afternoon. Kay served a delicious lunch of chicken and biscuits. And her table was appropriately appointed with patriotic plates, napkins and centerpiece.  There was a display of spam, chocolate bars and c-rations that was given as a door prize. We also celebrated the occasion with a very tiny bit of champagne.

We discussed the fact that we didn’t realize that they still made spam and there’s even different kinds of spam now. As a matter of fact, when you think of spam today you think of unwanted e-mails rather than the canned food product. It was interesting to examine the contents of the c-ration kit and to learn how a meal was heated – with a drop of water or if you didn’t want to waste your water – a drop of spit would do the trick. We commented on our troops and the importance of food and water which was indicated in my Father’s notebooks. During his period of internment, it was obvious that food was central to the thoughts of a POW. Dad had inventoried the Red Cross parcels and drawn pictures of food as they all did, dreaming that some day soon they would eat their favorite foods again.

I was excited and proud to show everyone the beautiful vest that my talented Father had crocheted during his “free” time behind barbed wire, as well as other articles that he had brought home from the War. I also explained a little about my trip to Belgium this past September which was another incredible experience that I plan to write and post in the near future. It’s nothing I can write briefly about.

I appreciated this wonderful occasion with these lovely ladies as well as the hospitality extended by our hostess with the “mostess”. It was extra special to share the afternoon with our Mothers. My Mother has lived this story with me as difficult as it has been for her at times but she will never forget the incredible trip that we took in 2006 (she was 85) with the spirit of our “hero.” We walked where he walked during the most dangerous time in his young life discovering a lifetime that he could never bring himself to share with us. (Maybe he felt it was too insignificant and why would anyone want to know about it or maybe it was just too painful. Either way, I’m certain he would be happy to know that he and the honorable group that he represents are appreciated and will never be forgotten.)

I hope that other Book Clubs select “What I Never Told You” as a read and that I have more pleasant and gratifying opportunities like this.