BY LAUREN MILLER
I consider my grandfather the living Hemingway — he is tough, he has sought out adventures, and he prefers his alcohol to burn on the way down. So when we pulled out his box of WWII letters, I was hoping to discover another layer to this man who now stands at my own height. What I discovered was a voice from a teenager who was braver than hell and who referred to himself as Junie.
Herschel A. Cox Jr. wrote somewhere north of 75 letters to his mother and father while he was serving as a Marine in WWII. That afternoon, we read each letter out loud; skipping over the words we couldn't decipher and pausing for history lessons along the way. I had braced myself for tears, excitement, and laughter, but it wasn't until we read the one letter from his mother that I discovered the layer I was hoping for:
This letter was written to my grandfather from my great grandmother after she had learned her only son had been wounded. The envelope alone tells a story of how hard it was to locate him once the bullet entered and exited his arm. Her words portray her as a stoic, thoughtful, caring, and witty woman who I consider the bravest of them all. Holding that letter and seeing her handwriting was a heartfelt moment when I connected to the Marine who is my grandfather.
I must apologize in advance to my grandfather. This entry is not a historical representation of the months you spent serving. It is about how one letter encapsulates your experience as a Marine and reveals so many layers.
Lauren Miller is a handwriter in Seattle. True to her native roots, any goodness she hand writes usually starts after consuming a cup of coffee. Her first memory of writing was at her family cabin on Vashon Island. With legal pad placed squarely on her great grandfather's table and a number two pencil tightly gripped, she described the seagulls soaring above the Puget Sound. Today she enjoys the simple pleasures, her ability to follow her passion, and the musings of her nephews.