You’re looking at me like I’m crazy,
but I’m thinking sometimes the bullets
went right through me.
The firing was so heavy
it was like walking on bullets.
To this day I can’t figure out
how I made it home
except for divine intervention.
When Maurice first came home,
my parents owned cabins on the Rapid River
just north of Rapid City.
We had a hand water pump
and an outside toilet.
If I had to go to the bathroom at night,
Maurice would come with me
with his rifle.
He’d stand guard till I came back.
It was pretty scary.
My mind said, “She can’t be out there alone.
The Chinese will come up that hill
and capture it.”
So I would go out there with her.
She’d be sound asleep,
and my mind would say, “They’re coming.”
I’d get up,
grab my rifle
and go sit guard on the ridge.
It might be snowing and blowing.
I didn’t know that.
I’d think, “I’m going to kill every one of them,”
but I never took ammo.
When I told that story to the therapist,
he said it was a good thing
I didn’t have shells.
Maurice called me Mama-san.
I’d ask him questions,
but he wouldn’t talk about Korea.
I knew nothing
until five years ago.
I asked him,
“Whatever happened to that happy Irish boy
He told me he was killed in Korea.
Maurice was a different person.
He was a good husband,
but now had a terrible temper
In bed he scared me at times
swinging his arms around and yelling.
I’d have to wake him up.
We had four little boys