Danny Wilson: His Last Furlough Home and a Meadowlark

Dallas County, Iowa

Spring, 1944


     Danny Wilson finally got a furlough home, arriving in Iowa at the Boone train station in the middle of the night. He caught a ride as far as Ogden, then called home around 2:00 a.m. for his folks to come get him.

     It rained the weekend Sam, Darlene, and little Richard came over to see him.

     “All this mud sure makes it hard to go anywhere,” Leora said, “but we sure want to get a good picture of you in Perry in your uniform, Danny boy.”

     “Let’s get that done right away. If it stops raining, I’d like to get some plowing done for Dad while I’m here.”

     But it kept raining. Then Danny got a telegram cutting his leave eight days short, ordering him to Salinas, California. 

     The family was able to get to Perry to have Danny’s picture taken before he needed to leave. 

April 27, 1944. Darlene (Wilson) Scar, Doris (Wilson) Neal, Lt. Daniel S. Wilson holding Richard Wilson Scar. Minburn, Iowa

 It finally cleared off on the day he was to depart, and Darlene came with Richard. “Let’s get some snapshots of you and your sisters,” Leora suggested.

     They took photos of Danny with his folks, Danny with Darlene and little Richard tucked in his arm like a football, and one with Spats in it as well. Doris stepped into the last photo, tucking herself behind Danny so her “condition” wouldn’t show. 

     During the picture-taking, a meadowlark’s song rippled from a nearby fencepost. Danny remarked that the meadowlark was his favorite bird. He left for California April 27, after just eight days at home.

This turned out to be the last time he was home, that anyone in the family got to see him.

Meadowlarks are mentioned a few times throughout Leora’s Letters, but when Mom and I were looking at the old photos, she told me what Danny had mentioned while they were taking pictures on this bittersweet day.

The poem by Nick Dowd at the beginning of the book makes it even more poignant. Iconic.


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