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Community Facilitator, Ruby’s Bequest (2009)

Client: Institute for the Future/United Cerebral Palsy/AARP via Writerguy.

Played character; vetted and responded to audience-submitted stories in a serious game. RubysBequest.com

Well, there are probably not many people left in Deepwell who even remember the Korean War, and certainly not many people running this website do. But I remember it clearly. I was a young woman then, and I was off at school in the next state over, and I had fallen in love with a boy in that town. His name was Frank, and he had brown eyes that were bright like a bird.

Frank had me to dinner several times that spring – spring of 1953, this was – and I got to know his parents as well as I could. His mama was a sweet thing, but his father was cold and hard and never cared for me.

Several things happened then in quick succession. Frank was called up for service to his country and was shipped to Korea. My school term ended and I returned home to Deepwell, where I wrote him every day and waited most impatiently for him to write back. And one day that summer I received a very terse letter from Frank’s father saying that Frank had been killed in action and that his mama had suffered a stroke from the strain.

At that time, being a state away was tantamount to living in another country. It would not be proper for me to travel unaccompanied to visit Frank’s mama in the hospital. Frank was gone. My only contact was with his disagreeable father, who was not inclined to give me any information at all. I desperately wanted to do something for her, but never felt so powerless in all my life. I was just sick with grief. That was when I joined the Altar Guild, by the way, and every week since then I have gone to church and offered up a prayer for Frank and his mama, who died later that terrible summer. I had to find out from a newspaper obituary.

So I am not without sympathy – I know what it is like to have someone you feel for be at a distance and ill and not be at their side to hold their hand and let them know you care. I am sure with the way young people move all over the place these days that these stories are increasingly common. Do you have one to tell?

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