My mother simply called him “a boy I used to know.” Then she added, “He was killed in the war.” That’s how she referred to him when as a child I asked about the wings in her jewelry box, the large pink box with the little ballerina that would spin with the music. I picked up the wings and held them, coveted them perhaps for my own, but they went back into the box, under other things. “They were from a boy I used to know who was killed in the war,” she said simply.
It did not occur to me then that these wings, a gift perhaps before he went overseas, represented a personal loss, or even a deep grief. But it’s hard to think otherwise now. My mother may have been somewhat inured to loss, if such is possible. Her mother died when she was 6, shortly after giving birth to her third child and second son, and then her father, determined to support in any way possible his three young children, was fatally injured in a train accident, falling off a box car as he was making his way to harvest wheat in the summer of 1931 in the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma and Kansas.
The story you're reading is premium content from the Austin American-Statesman. Subscribers get total access to all our in-depth news, digital editions and exclusive premium content. You can now also buy a 24-hour digital pass or 7-day digital pass.
For Subscribers: Sign in here if you have already registered your account.Sign In
For Subscribers: Register your account for digital access.Access Digital
Read MyStatesman.com now — 24-hour digital pass99¢ for 24-hours
Read MyStatesman.com all week — 7-day digital pass$3.99 for 7-days
Subscribe to the Statesman for as little as 33¢ per dayView Offers
David Latimer lives in Austin with his wife and daughter and works as a policy analyst for the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. He also teaches English at Austin Community College. David was born in Dallas but grew up in Marlin before coming to Austin to attend the University of Texas. He has a masters degree in English. David has published historical articles in Texas Highways magazine.