LuRain Penny watches Ken Burns’ The War – 1




Been watching PBS show The War, by film-maker Ken Burns.

 It is about the Great Second World Conflagration which I remember well.

Especially now got this program to remind me.

Didn’t do much drinking during the whole event.

There were shortages of everything then.

I was just about in my twenties.

Though I cannot tell you where exactly.

In the beginning, I added on.


I lived in a big town East.

Can’t remember the name but it’s one you’ve heard of.

Working as a runner in a brothel toward a seamier part of the city for some years.

 I got word my Mama died. I must travel to Chicago to get her meager duds out of hock.

Mama abandoned me when I was 9 abouts.

Lived with Wheaters then.

They kept taking care of me even when the money she’d been sending long since ceased to come.


A man I believe to be my daddy showed up to the brothel.

He let me know. 

I never seen him before.

 My parents were accidental.

Immaculate deception.

He took off pretty quick after.

Mama raised me with my Grandma – singlehanded – til she palmed me off on the Wheaters.

My Aunt found him but not me.

He must break the news. 

This man wore a cheap suit, two sizes too big.

Gaunt – balding.

Got his sustenance from a bottle.

He din’t look in my eye once.

Mama took sick real sudden.

Dropped dead center of a jitterbug knot. 

Went out on her feet at least.


She left a letter for me.

The catch was I had go get it.

After handing me money for the train – he turned around fast.

Goodbye curled out on the smoke of his cigarette.


My Aunt later told me – some doctors gave him 6 months to live – if he didn’t give up likker.

He stopped right then.

Six months later stroke killed him.

Couldn’t live sober.

On that train to get my Mama’s things – I met Sidney Bechet with his Band – Club Car of the 20th Century.

But that’s another story.


In Chicago I found the flop hotel where Mama lived. 

This was what her Life amounted to me:

 1 ratty Boa, a cute red feathered pillbox hat, plus a gorgeous slash collar camelhair coat.

I wore them for years.

The letter said –


Never wanted to be a mother.

I hate kids.

Read it and weep.

Must have toted it around a long time.

Enveloped in years of stain.

Been opened then folded near to crumbling.

What must she been thinking?


Home to the City. 

 Wouldn’t go back the brothel.

Shared a room in a boardinghouse with as many as six other girls.

Took turns sleeping cuz there was only four beds.

We all working crazy hours anyway.  Somehow it sorted itself out.

That’s where I was when the War began.


One thing on the Mr. Burn’s show – really brought back memory. 

How America was in the effort together.

The Whole Country.

All we talked about – saw on the Movietone news or heard on the Radio.

It was occurring to Everybody.

Sure there was some who took advantage – like after 911.

Human Beings can be the lowest form of Life.

Most all else believed we belonged to a Purpose.

Whole Hearted Survival on Grand Scale.

Our Lives revolved around it.

We linked on a level hasn’t happened since.

Maybe never again.

Happiest of all my days on Earth.

Spent one summer on Long Island, Atlantic Ocean –  keeping a eye peeled for Subs.

Loved Big Water ever since.

But that’s another story.



We saved bacon grease for the ammunition.

Why did we stop that?

     Everyone’d drive grease cars by now – be using less fossil fuels.

The Government put out pithy slogans to keep us mindful.

Don’t waste anything

Only buy what you need

Salvage what you don’t need

Share what you have.

I wonder why Humans have amnesia for good ideas.

Need to be following that advice again.


War never ends, it just moves from place to place.

Keep all those suffer injustice, brutality – ever in your prayers.

Our World is in terrible pain.

Wrap it in loving arms.




Be Aware.


Thanks for your attention.





 LuRain watches The War – 2 

 artwork by codifyer




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