The smiles returning to the faces...

I grew up with a story my mom told me about an old friend of hers from their college years. They would hang out, talk, whatever. And they were obsessed with The Beatles' song "Here Comes the Sun." This friend was killed in Vietnam and any time my mom heard the song after that, she would cry.

This was how I remember her telling the story anyway. I found out within the last few years that I apparently wasn't remembering it all that correctly. Pretty much not at all. Yes, my mom had a friend she hung out with regularly and they did listen to music a lot and he did get shipped out to Vietnam. However, he was not killed there. And, now that I look at the release date for "Here Comes the Sun," I'm not entirely sure that could've possibly been their song since it came out in 1969, which I believe is after my mom finished her undergraduate work at college. Maybe there is something I'm missing. Maybe grad school friend? Maybe not even from school? I dunno.

However, despite these conflicting details, I still love the story and like to think of it as true because it holds a certain romantic appeal in a time of great personal and political upheaval.

I guess I should consider myself lucky in that I've never been personally touched by loss of a close friend or family member in any of the more recent wars in which our country has been involved. Yes, I know people who know people who... you get it. But in terms of one degree of separation between myself and a person who was killed in action, I know no one.

My grandfather was supposed to be a pilot in the Army Air Corps in WWII, but that never quite panned out. My dad enlisted for Navy duty in Vietnam and was sent on a tour of the Med instead. My uncle joined the Marine Corps right around the time that 'Nam was fizzling out so I don't think he was ever deployed. And I've had some friends in the most recent Gulf War and all made it back intact.

I do think I'm lucky in this regard.

But not everybody is quite so blessed.

AmyD is a fellow blogger who I've known about for some time but only started reading yesterday after being guided there by Avitable and Sheila. Amy's on a quest to help her uncle find an old friend who he lost track of during the Vietnam War. Here's the information from her site and you can feel free to click on through for more information about the search.

Gene Bishop is looking for Charles Stevens. Here’s all the info I have on Stevens:

Charles R Stevens- Indianapolis, Indiana (from there)
Marine Corp
2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, Echo Company, Da Nang, August 1966-1967
Weapons Platoon, Machine Gun

Graduated from Camp Pendelton and served in Da Nang with Gene Bishop. They trained and graduated together, and spent 48 hours in Okinawa awaiting transit together. They were separated upon arriving at Da Nang Air Force Base, Gene Bishop and Stevens served together until Bishop was wounded in Operation Stone, in 1967 and shipped out to Guam, and then Oakland Naval Hospital in the States.

If you have any information please email me (amy AT amysmusings DOT com) or my mom (mkgssong AT yahoo DOT com)
. Thank you!!

Anything that you can do to help is greatly appreciated by Amy and her family. Even if it's just passing on word of this search on your own blog. The bigger the audience, the better the chance of reconnecting.

I'm posting this because I realize how strong a community the blogosphere is and I think it would be fantastic if someone who's reading one of these sites that's posting about it actually has some information that could help. Here's hoping!

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Comments

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AmyD

Oh wow. Just WOW. Thank you so so much for this. It means... just.. you have no idea. It really means so much. I can't say thank you enough.

THANK YOU.

Robin

I love your story :D

My mom is an archivist, I wonder if she'd have any idea where to look.

Marie

Wish I could help. I hope Amy will be able to find her uncle's friends. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Marie

Sorry, meant to write "friend." I know, I know, it's almost Friday.

Sybil Law

It's so weird how our memories turn out to be clouded. I wonder if it's what we've done to make them that way, or if we dream things and it seems so real or what?!
I don't think any of that made sense.
Hey - my allergies are bad today! :)
I hope someone finds that guy. What a great thing for her uncle and what a fabulous story that would make!

kapgar

AmyD, I just hope it helps.

Robin, that would be fantastic! And thanks!

Marie, we all are. It would be cool to see it work out. And I knew what you meant. ;-)

Sybil, there are some memories I don't mind having clouded. But this one was so cool that I wanted (and still want) for it to be true.

John

Very nice post.

RE: "...But in terms of one degree of separation between myself and a person who was killed in action, I know no one.

Me either, and I'm lucky in this regard. However, I've lost three friends just this past year; the latest one just this past week. I was thinking about doing a post on this topic today. After reading your post, I think I will. It seems that you've inspired me again my friend. You're pretty good at that bud.

Sheila (Charm School Reject)

Damn. I didn't have a cool story to lead into it. Damn. You rock for passing this on.

You're right, your version of the story is much better than your moms!

AND, now I've got that song stuck in my head. Thhhhaaaaaaanks.

kapgar

Hey, there are worse songs to have stuck in your head. Try this one... "my humps, my humps, my lovely lady lumps, check 'em out!"

Sheila (Charm School Reject)

Oh no you didn't just do that.

Someone please, shoot me now. That song ::shudder::

kapgar

It's all love!

Malinda

This is Amy D.'s mom and Uncle Gene's sister. Thank you so much for this wonderful post. I have tried the Government search engines, Vets., Military Buddies,Marine Unit Search, etc. What I do know is that Stevens made it home and was Honorably Discharged for his service. Atkins, was wounded in the leg( a few weeks after being "in country" ), and had several surgeries and was discharged. My brother served 8 months before his injuries sent him stateside on the "freedom bird"
leaving the last of the 3, Stevens, in Nam.

Sorry for being so long winded, but thank you so VERY much!

kapgar

Malinda, thank you for the kind words. Anything I can do to help. I just hope it does help.

Whit

That's a nice thing you're doing.

I love when people, myself included, have memories like the one of your mom and her friend. Sure, they aren't true, but they're true to us. It's like the person listening to a song takes something different than the one that wrote it.

Hey, I'm being deep in a comment box. I always thought these things were just for sarcasm.

kapgar

I always thought they were solely for sarcasm, too! Who'd'a thunk? ;-)

martymankins

As a kid, my mom used to cry when she heard the song "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" by BJ Thomas (and written by Burt Bacharach) because it reminded her of some man she was dating that broke her heart. It's amazing how certain songs bring out different emotions and thoughts.

kapgar

marty, oh it absolutely is. And what's even more amazing is that it can be some completely repressed or forgotten memory and then you hear the song and it all comes pouring back like a levee breaking.

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