Friday, September 20, 2013

September Eighteenth

By Audrey L. Barclay

The first contingent of draftees from Greene County were leaving that night, and thus began a series of events marking the date, September eighteenth, as a special one throughout my life. It was 1917, and we had only recently become involved in the war against Germany. The entire populace, it seemed, would be at the station to demonstrate their patriotism and bid the young men God speed. Learning the young Barclays next door were going to join the throng of patrioteers, I suggested we make it a threesome, since we all had to ride the same streetcar, anyway.

Knowing Mr. Barclay's love of pranks--especially one that would make my face turn red--I shouldn't have been so filled with confusion, when they called for me, to find his younger brother had been finagled into making the party a foursome. My first impulse was to say something had come up that had changed my plans, but quick thinking made me realize they would all see through the stupid alibi, which would certainly give Mr. Barclay something to chuckle over. I accepted the proffered arm and went marching off to the trolley line as if it were the most common thing in the world.

As the evening wore on, I kept telling myself I wouldn't go out with him again, even if I were asked. I had met Erna a few times, but there had never been any particular attraction between us, and I wasn't about to pursue the acquaintance. Oh no---? That's what I thought!!!

We were married the following summer, just a couple of kids; Erna was eighteen, I was seventeen. Then Fate played a prank, the age for registering for the draft was lowered to eighteen, and on September eighteenth Erna had to register. However, before he could be called up, the Armistice was signed, so we were spared that ordeal.

Time passed, and it was ten years and five babies later when the date again brought an event of extra special importance. Infant number six was expected early in November, I THOUGHT, when he suddenly announced his impending arrival--on September eighteenth, 1928. That was surprising enough, but completely flabbergasting when the attending physician announced he was not alone; number seven was also arriving. And so we became the proud parents of twin sons, Alan and Olan.

September eighteenth, 1942, has memories of mixed emotions. It was on that date that a brother of Erna's had died in a distant city, and the remains returned to our town for interment. Our home became the focus point of activities for the family. It was also the date our daughter, Martha, met the young man she was to marry within a few months.

The final episode, to date, was when Alan's little son, Jimmy, chose his father's and Uncle Olan's birthday to become a part of the family. Needless to say, I find myself wondering each year, as the date approaches, if it will bring other events of special significance.

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