Intergenerational legacy of war

Posted by on Nov 19, 2011 in Blog | 2 comments

Excerpt from The Hidden Legacy of World War II –

Chapter Five – Lost Child


The Hidden Legacy of World War II

Chapter 5


"Over time I realized that my father was not alone in his defeat. There were many other vets like him, emotionally scarred by the “Good War”, who failed to live up to the impossible standards set for men of their era. I was lucky, in fact, to be Dad’s confidant. Most loved ones were kept in the dark. World War II vets are notoriously closemouthed, the stoic product of the Great Depression and wartime when ideals of honor, courage, patriotism, sacrifice, and self-reliance fostered impregnable reticence."  Julia Collins, My Father’s War

“Your daughter is dead”  Philadelphia policeman to Mitzi Schultz – 11:58 PM, November 22, 1973

“We’re supposed to grow old together”, I said to my sister Rosemary that rainy November eve. She didn’t answer. Lifeless in her satin lined white casket, she never again would. Disbelieving, I choked back tears, became rigid and rejoined my parents in the somber reception line. Not the type of greeting procession the two of them had expected to be in for their youngest daughter. Rather than accepting congratulations at her wedding, the two of them, physically closer to each other than they had been in a decade, greeted mourners at her viewing.

Thanksgiving night, November 22, 1973, just four days prior, had found me overstuffed and sleepy in the Philadelphia apartment I shared my husband. Earlier that day, I bade goodbye to Rosemary as she left the traditional Italian family feast at our aunt’s house. My sister’s thin arms were clamped tightly around her boyfriend’s waist. He zoomed the motor on his black and silver Yamaha cycle and quickly sped off. I had more than a momentary worry. My twenty-two year old sister’s latest choice in men was a disaster. She looked pale and tired. She worked long hours as a waitress at Khyber Pass, a trendy center city Philly club, and juggled a full load of classes at Temple University. The heavy load was wearing her down.


  1. I wish I would have asked the hard questions prior to my Dad’s passing. I realize now how little I knew about my life’s life.
    Army/Air Corp. – Air Force 25 yrs.

    • Marilu, So many of us didn’t even know the questions to ask.

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