How does a couple cope when two of their sons are missing in action?
If you’re a farm couple who’ve recently bought a little house on your own acreage, and, if you’re Clabe and Leora Wilson, you’re going to stay busy. Busyness helps somewhat to think about something besides the worry of Dale (missing in New Guinea since November 1943) and Danny (MIA in Austria since February).
The buildings on the acreage near Perry, Iowa, needed painting, so Clabe set out to do that, using 20 gallons of white paint on the barn, the other out buildings, and the house–into July. He also hired out to help a neighbor make hay a couple of times.
Leora’s 200 White Rocks and 174 Barred Rock baby chicks had arrive in early April, causing her to awake at least twice during the night to check that they were okay.
They’d also set out 75 strawberry plants, grapes, raspberries, cleaned out the henhouse, and sowed grass seed.
Leora wrote letters–to Donald in the Pacific, Don’s wife Rose on the West Coast, Delbert and Evelyn on the East Coast, and Junior in Texas.
And President Franklin Roosevelt died, the only president the Wilson siblings had ever known. Harry Truman became the new president.
Robert Scar born, another Grandchild for Wilsons
Sam and Darlene and little Richard came for Sunday dinner every other week. At the end of April, Sam and Darlene left Richard with his grandparents. Robert Edward Scar was born May 2. Darlene said that a lot of his babyhood was lost in the fog of having two brothers missing in action.
Richard stayed with his grandparents through May, but by then their daughter Doris could help watch him, and she had moved in with her toddler. Her husband Warren was in heavy training to fly the B-17, then later was the commander of the B-29 Superfortress. The towns where the pilots were sent next were so small that there was no room for families.
The week after Robert was born, Germany surrendered and the country celebrated VE-Day (Victory in Europe). Surely now Danny Wilson would come out of hiding or maybe out of a hospital somewhere. Surely they’d hear from him any day, as other families had heard from their boys.
Days were celebrated, or at least observed. Mother’s Day was May 13th, also the 24th birthday of Dale and Darlene. Danny would have turned 22 on May 21.
A bittersweet spring. Wilsons owned their very first property. Even the 1942 Plymouth was paid for. By then they had four grandchildren–two grandsons and two granddaughters, with another due that fall.
Richard Scar Joy Neal Leora Darlene Wilson Robert Scar
But one son, Donald, was still in combat in the Pacific aboard an aircraft carrier. And those two cherished younger sons missing in action.