Joyce Gibson Roach

Collective Heart: Texans in World War 2

Sixteen Texas writers remember war and home front.

"As a livestock reporter I sometimes found myself thrown into the company of stockmen from other parts of the country. Several times I met people from Wyoming. I would always ask if they had ever heard of my friend Lee Irvine. Always I drew a blank.

It was thirty years after the war when on day at the office of the Livestock Weekly I received a letter from Van Irvine of Casper, Wyoming, inquiring about advertising rates. He wanted to auction off a big band of sheep. I answered his query and at the end of the letter casually asked him if he might be any kin to my Wyoming friend of old Fort Bliss days.

A few days later I received his reply. Lee Irvine had been his kid brother, he said. He was killed in April of 1945, a few days after his arrival in Germany. Thirty years fell away in an instant, and the grief was as strong as if th eloss had just happened.

I have had fifty Christmases since 1944. But it was the last for Lee Irvine, and for some others I knew. It was also the last Christmas in which the world seemed young.

It was in ways the best Christmas I ever had. It was also my worst."

Elmer Kelton