October 22, 2018:
No — no — no. There is a smile.
He writes, "This is a German girl, she says she is my baby, she is a good little kid too. July 1945 Eberbach, Germany."
He's in his greens, with tie and sergeant's stripes, a dozen G.I.s milling behind. He holds a curly-headed child in one strong arm. She beams confidently, flirtatiously. His smile is broad and genuine. Of course. Because he's holding life, after so much death.
I wonder if he's thinking of his own daughter, in this moment.
I certainly am.
She'll be six years old just then, perhaps in Topeka, perhaps in Little Rock, perhaps already in California, the timeline isn't clear to your author and there's no-one remaining to ask. Is she locked in a closet? Counting flowers on the wall?
That was the life her grandfather doomed her too.
October 21, 2018:
The men in Sunday dress.
White shirts tucked into creased dark slacks, hats, no jackets.
A dirt road, a car with bald tires. It's Arkansas, it could be church. Seems unlikely old Dad the starched-collar Patriarch would attend dances. Probably church.
That one is smoking. Only him, just the one. The first to die, in 1980, as his daughter also was later to die, each of them from smoking-related heart attacks. Years before their time, as the others demonstrated by living into their 90s.
October 20, 2018:
Riders on the range.
Dark horse, white coiled rope, white Stetson, light-colored clothes. White horse, dark coiled rope, dark Stetson, dark-colored clothes. They're behind a fence, barbed wire, it's summer, the ground is dry, behind them a low ridge rises beneath Montana's big big sky.
Two brothers home from war.
- October 19, 2018: Thirty-two years later.
- October 18, 2018: Ivy and Jeff, June 1912, Riverton West Virginia.
- October 17, 2018: Kids behind their team of cows.
- October 16, 2018: Near the end she's gaunt...
- October 15, 2018: "The old man himself Sept 1943".
- October 14, 2018: Army men.
- October 13, 2018: Early 20th Century.
- October 12, 2018: Horseback.
- October 11, 2018: Proud at the Presidio.
- October 10, 2018: I remember the smells.
- October 9, 2018: His smile is kind, when it's there at all.
- October 8, 2018: The brother I never met.
- October 7, 2018: Summer dress.
- October 6, 2018: Two brothers in their early 40s.
- October 5, 2018: Brother and sister, very charming...
- October 4, 2018: France, 1945.
- October 3, 2018: The head seems too heavy for such a thin frame.
- October 2, 2018: The two lively ones.
- October 1, 2018: He's expressive in his Army photos.
- September 30, 2018: They each have a hand on the knife that cuts the cake.
- September 29, 2018: The old couple on their anniversary.
- September 28, 2018: Denim caballero, wide stance, Stetson, thumbs on buckle.
- September 27, 2018: The women are obese.
- September 26, 2018: In each of these images he stands utterly without expression.
- September 25, 2018: Home on derange.
- September 24, 2018: Aug 67.
- September 23, 2018: Little blonde family in the suburbs, as it's supposed to be.
- September 22, 2018: Tennessee whiskey...
- September 21, 2018: Gack, the fucks.
- September 20, 2018: Between frames on that roll of Instamatic film I broke my left arm.
- September 19, 2018: Worry.
- September 18, 2018: I don't look like him.
- September 17, 2018: Zoo day.
- September 16, 2018: "I've read your writing..."
- September 15, 2018: She makes me laugh.
- September 14, 2018: "Wowowowowowowow," I text her, inarticulately but accurately.
- September 13, 2018: She's done with boys.
- September 12, 2018: She cancels all the time.
- September 11, 2018: What's this dude thinking?
- September 10, 2018: In a town full of bedrock crazies...
- September 9, 2018: OMG she's awful.
- September 8, 2018: He always had clean fingernails.
- September 7, 2018: "Dirty mind, clean nails," my mother used to say.
- September 6, 2018: Curious child with a full head of hair and a thriving business.
- September 5, 2018: Saddled with a ham.
- September 4, 2018: Pickpocket. Sword of the Beast.
- September 3, 2018: We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.
- September 2, 2018: Tender young blondes with lobotomy eyes.
- September 1, 2018: Leary received a thirty-year sentence for one-eighth of an ounce of marijuana.