Several years ago, I decided to write some poems about growing up with all my siblings. I decided to give the poems to them as Christmas gifts that year. Before my time ran out, I had written 13 poems about different subjects from how we were living before WWII ended, and then afterwards. I had nothing to go by, except the memories I have carried during the years that the seven of us were living at home with our mom and dad.
The first poem I have chosen is about the “blackouts” that happened while WWII was going on. As I look back, this took place when we were all still living together in a house in Galion, Ohio.
“There was something called a “Blackout” when no lights were allowed to be lit.
It was so airplanes couldn’t see us, and our town would not be hit.
There was something called a “Blackout” that happened during WWII.
It caused me a lot of worry at our home at 225 Grove Avenue.
When the radio announced a “Blackout,” I would sit in the dark and stare.
I searched the sky for an airplane that I hoped would never be there.
I worried that our neighbors might fail to turn out their lights.
I worried about a number of things; I worried both days and nights.
I worried we’d run out of tokens; I worried that our rations wouldn’t last.
I worried that mom worried about sugar and everything else now passed.
Did anyone else worry about “Blackouts”? I may have been the only one.
My older siblings knew it was only a test, the younger ones were just having fun.”
The above poem is what I remember most from when WWII was going on. I was worried more than anyone else in our family because I didn’t know it was only a test. I thought there really were airplanes flying around, looking for cities to bomb. The house across the street never did turn out their lights. I sat on the floor and noticed that we had a design in our carpeting that resembled a swastika. Having that design scared me as well as everything else. I never did point out the swastika to our mother.
I didn’t want her to worry more than she already was. No one else seemed to be worried. While our dad was reading the newspaper, the boys were listening to a story on the radio and the older girls may have been making fudge out in the kitchen, while the younger girls were probably sleeping. They let me do all the worrying.
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.