First and foremost, thank you to all who have read my past blog posts and my book, “Homey’s Adventures.”
As promised, I am writing this book as a sequel to the happy ending of my first book. I recently started writing this book, and I have been inspired lately. I decided to share this with you. So, without delay here is Chapter 16 of my third book:
Chapter 16 – Behind the Numbers
My dad continued talking about his 15th mission:
For my dad, my brother, and myself, numbers take on meaning. It is in our DNA. For example, I sometimes pick my lottery numbers from events in my life on a given day. I get spooked whenever I see the number 666 which is the mark of the evil one in the book of Revelations in the bible.
The number 13 is unlucky especially if it is Friday the 13th. This superstition seems to relate to various things, like the story of Jesus‘ last supper and crucifixion in which there were 13 individuals present in the Upper Room on the 13th of Nisan Maundy Thursday, the night before his death on Good Friday. On this mission over Japan, my dad was clearly spooked: “…on Friday the 13th and had 13 men on board. The first strike report sent counting 13 ships over the target at the time.”
He also was clearly missing his beloved Island Queen. He clearly loved that B29. Maybe, my mom should have been jealous, but I rarely ever saw jealousy come out of my mom. My mom did not like to sin, and jealousy is a sin.
My dad was counting each mission with two different sets of numbers, missions over Japan and total missions. On his 16th mission (12th mission over Japan), they bombed Yokohama on April 16th:
April 16th was an unlucky day for Hitler. The Russians had surrounded Berlin and Hitler was cut off from the rest of Germany. The Battle of Berlin started. Hitler would commit suicide 2 weeks later.
In the articles, I notice a lot of references to how many square miles had been burned. I remember during the Vietnam war. The whole war started to be reduced to numbers, numbers killed, numbers of dead, numbers of body bags coming home. Number of hills taken and then abandoned. People start throwing out numbers when they want to depersonalize the situation. The Viet Cong were not counting, they just did what they had to do. The Japanese were not counting either. The once great war machine Axis was down to just one member.
Dad was seeing behind the numbers. His comment about seeing the devastation of southern Tokyo: “I thought if hell looked any worse than that, I was going to change my ways.” I think moments like this gave my dad PTSD.
PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that develops following a traumatic event characterized by intrusive thoughts about the incident, recurrent distress/anxiety, flashback, and avoidance of similar situations. During World War I, it was called shell shock and in World War II, it was called combat fatigue.
I can remember when my family went to see the1963 movie “PT 109”. The movie is a movie about President Kennedy’s heroic deeds as captain of a PT boat during World War II. In the middle of the movie, my dad left the theater. When the movie was over, we him found sitting at the bottom of the stairs leading to the balcony seats with his head in his hands.
I placed my hand on his shoulder and asked him: “Is everything okay dad?”
He just nodded and got up and we headed for the exit. I now suspect that he was experiencing what he saw during the war, maybe the hellfire in southern Tokyo.
End Of Chapter 16
I recently started drafting this about 4 months ago and I still have a lot of research to do. I plan to share some of my work as time and resources allows. I am hoping by next Father’s Day, my new book will be completed and published.
I encourage anyone who had a parent or grandparent who flew in the B29’s from Tinian Island in 1945 to contact me. Without these heroes protecting our freedoms, we would not be able to celebrate our country’s founding on Independence Day.
Originally, I started this blog as an eclectic mix of what I was thinking during the week and book reviews. I will do some of that too. So, you do not want to miss what follows. Follow my blog to make sure you receive it.
If you do not want to wait that long and you have not read my first book. I encourage you to go to my website, www.homeysadventures.com. You can read the first two chapters for free, and you can also buy it. Or you can buy it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other fine retailers. Just search for it using the words: Homey’s Adventures by Jim Wish.
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I liken myself to the Vienna Violinist described in chapter 5 of Homey’s Adventures Too. I play (write) for your enjoyment and mine. God bless you all.