Peace on Earth

—Albert Einstein, Interview, on Belgenland, Dec., 1930.

It wasn’t so much that he was a soldier and it was wartime, hell, the man was an ensign in the navy, whereas he had only been a private, and in a foreign army, one that he never had to, or should have joined. Ah, well, that was so long past now, why should he think of it, hell, he couldn’t even remember anything of it. No, it wasn’t that

so much as it was that she was his first born child and his only daughter and only twenty-one. Aw well, he was only seventeen when he joined the army, after having a fight with the German kid, what was his name, Abe, that’s right Abe, Abe Schmidt, wonder what the hell ever happened to him and why is it I can still remember such things if I can’t remember anything about why I got all those medals for just four months’ service. Was it because of, as one doctor had said, the gunshot wound in the head? Or was it because he, as another doctor had said, didn’t want to remember what had happened? Or was it as another had said, a combination of them both? But, she had only just met this guy, on a blind date, cryin’ out loud. And now, now she wanted to marry him. What had she just graduated from college for, to be a housewife? Aw well, a housewife was all right and he would have some grandchildren, finally, being as he was already 45 years old. He sat in front of the fireplace in his brick home and smiled. He was to meet the man this very night, the man who wanted to make his only daughter his wife. Well, his daughter had already told him all about the man; he was born and raised in a small town in South Dakota, on a farm, and his mother was still living there, along with her oldest son and three daughters, while her middle son, this one, along with her youngest, were both in the navy, this one as an officer, the other one as an enlisted man. He knew the man’s father had died only last year, of gout and exhaustion, must have worked himself to death, he well-knew the amount of work done on a farm because he had worked on one for three years while putting himself through college, back when he first came home to Baltimore. An accounting degree he had gotten and had taken a job with the B&O bus line, in New York City. Had married a girl he had met in college and moved to a nice little town that, coincidentally, carried his last name. He remembered talking to the man over the phone, his daughter all excited as he had just proposed marriage and given her a diamond ring, and all in less than a week and she wanted to accept, and he was going back over to Germany to fight against that madman Hitler. And he was German, spoke it perfectly, as it was his first language and he was in some sort of intelligence work in the navy. Well, he should get a good job then, if he lived to get one. And, he remembered that the boy had told him that he had had an uncle who had died in the Great War, his war, an uncle that he had never known but that he had a picture of. He remembered he had asked the boy about the belt buckle that he had brought back from the Great War, the one he remembered nothing about, now he must remember to show the boy when he came this evening. He shook his head and smiled, his little girl, and now she was getting hitched, God Almighty but time did fly, did it not. He was about to get up and get the belt buckle when his wife came into the room.

“Dewey, Helen’s fiancé is here.”

He stood up and stretched. “Okay. I was just going to my room for a second, wanna get somethin’. Tell them I’ll be right out.”

His wife walked back into the living room and smiled at her only daughter’s fiancé and thought: ‘my but what a handsome man and what a head of hair he has.’ Her husband was bald already, they said it had to do with his war injury but she knew it was also the stress of his job, controlling all the money at so large a company. She told him to have a seat and he sat down on the couch, next to his betrothed, just as her father walked into the room.





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