As a young boy, Howard McFadden always dreamed of being in the Army, just as his father and grandfather. Howard’s family traveled with his parents to many countries, but Howard wanted to return to the United States so he could be in his high school ROTC program and continue on to West Point. After four years of studying, he went into the Army following his father and grandfather. Howard was living his dream. He hoped to get in thirty years so he would have a nice retirement for his future.
On his first leave home, Howard met the love of his life, June Blevens, at a 4th of July party. They could not keep their eyes off each other. They promised to keep in touch when he had to return to base. The many letters written by each deepened their love for each other.
After nearly a year before another leave could be attained, Howard and June decided they wanted to be wed. With not much time for his leave, they decided to marry in June’s church with only family in attendance. After a three-day honeymoon, Howard had to return to duty. June continued to live with her parents until she could find a small place to set-up housekeeping.
Howard and June McFadden wanted to start a family before his next tour of duty in the Army would be over. When they had been married for five years and still no baby, they consulted the help of a specialist and found that Howard had a very low sperm count. It seemed adoption was the answer to having a family.
After much talk of adopting, June agreed to find the necessary resources that she and Howard would have to have in place when he returned home from his third tour. They were hoping the tour would not be more than a year.
Much to their dismay, shortly after Mr. McFadden left for his tour, Japan bombed Hawaii, which started World War II. June wrote to Howard nearly every day. Sometimes it would take three weeks before Howard would receive her letters.
June felt so lonely because the time for Howard to send replies to her letters seemed an eternity. She had so much to tell him. After Howard was gone for three months, June started feeling sick to her stomach nearly every morning. The morning sickness went on so long, June felt she should make a doctor’s appointment to see if is was just nerves from worrying about her husband.
June did not believe what the doctor was telling her. How could this be possible; after five years of marriage and nothing but disappointment. Even being so excited at the news, June decided to not tell her husband the good news right away, just in case the doctor was wrong.
As time went on, June’s doctor informed her that she was definitely expecting a baby. Not just one, but two!
June now sent a long letter to Howard telling him of the news and when they were due! However, before Howard could get a furlough, the identical twin boys were born. At five months old, Howard sent word to June that he would get a one-week furlough and at that time both parents would be involved in naming the babies. Howard was as excited as June. The boys would soon think their names were first and second if they were not called by their future given names!
After much consultation dealing with names, they decided on naming the first-born Casper and the second one Connor, names that were not already in the family. Howard could not have his arms empty, always holding one or the other, not knowing when he would be able to see them again because of the expanding war.
The night before Howard was to report back to duty, Howard and June sat up nearly all night discussing a move to a state where the boys would be able to get a good education. They also wanted enough land so the boys could run and play, climb hills and trees, play in creeks, camp in the wild and learn survivor skills. June was anxious to get started on a house-hunting project.
Tensions caused by the war news were not helping the nervousness June was feeling. The boys were nearly four years old and could not remember anything about their father because of their young age when he saw them. They were asking lots of questions. “Do we have a daddy?” they asked.“Where is he?” “What does he look like?” “When will he be coming home?” June would always get pictures to show the boys and tell them how proud he was of them. Soon their father was not talked about for some time because they were kept busy going with their mom to look for new places to live.
June and the boys traveled every week-end to some northern states that have small towns with a low population to look for land with a house that was for sale. When they came to a lovely small town named Mosquitoville in Michigan, they found an older house that had been well kept with ten acres of land. After walking the land and checking the house for any damage, they all agreed it was what they wanted during the time their father was still in the Army. The land included a small running creek to the back of the property and lots of trees. June could already envision a tree house and a fort. Perhaps in a year or two they could get a small piece of ground readied for a garden. The boys were always ready to learn new things.
After signing papers, getting the loan, and informing the twin’s dad, the time for the move would take another six weeks. Everyone was excited, so the boys helped with packing their belongings.
On the day of the move, June made the boys promise they would never go to the creek without one of the parents with them. They promised and also promised one would tell on the other if either disobeyed. The movers came and soon June and the twins were on their way. The trip would take about eight hours. All were overjoyed as they sang all the way there. The twins could hardly wait to explore what awaited them! The boys kept making up things they would tell their father the next time he could get home. Then they would show him the many trees with the tree house and fort that would be built before winter; then of course, they would show him the water hole, as they called it.
When the furniture arrived at the new house, June instructed the twins to put their clothes away, make the beds, as well as they could, and put their toys in the room next to theirs. After they finished, June gave them boundaries as to where they could ride their trikes. There was a drive beside the house that ran to the end of the property. They could only go a short way down the drive and then turn back toward the house. June went with them the first time so she could mark the turn-a-round point with a block. What fun they were already having! June stood watching them with a big smile feeling good that now she did not have to worry about any city traffic.
During the next month the mornings were cooler, so, while June was busy getting furniture placed where she wanted it, she had the boys entertain themselves in the play room. She couldn’t take a chance on the boys getting a cough.
Noon time came: then lunch. Afterwards the boys were allowed to play outside. This was always the most fun time for them because they had so much space to run and play cowboys and Indians, play ball, play with cars and trucks or almost anything their little minds could think of.
On July 10th the twins turned five. They didn’t know enough children to have a birthday party so June planned a picnic lunch, then took them to the water hole for a few hours. June let the twins put on their swim suits so they planned to get their feet wet by wading and kicking the water for about an hour. They got their mom to take off her shoes and tie up her dress to join them. What a fun time they all had! After lunch, the twins were getting tired so June insisted they return to the house.
The following day, June had to make arrangements to get the twins enrolled in pre-school. She had never spoken of going to school so she had them to sit and listen about joining other children their age and learning to read, write, and many other things. She called the school the following morning to see what they needed to do to get the twins enrolled. She took the twins the very next day to enroll them. They were looking forward to the bus rides when school started and meeting other children. They weren’t so excited about going to the doctor and getting the necessary shots!
The newest letter from Mr. McFadden told of possibly getting a furlough near the end of September. That sent them all into a story telling event as to what they would be telling their father. School and their father coming for a visit. OH BOY! That would be better than Christmas!
On August 21, they started the first day of school. The twins were thrilled about getting on a school bus. They were seated together and were shown how to operate the seat belts.
In the class room they first, saluted the American flag. They had already learned the pledge. That was one thing their father wanted June to teach them. They heard many stories about what the flag meant to their father. Next, they had name tags pinned on their clothing and were taught how to pronounce all the other children’s names.
It was near the end of August and warm weather would soon be too cool to go to the water hole so the twins talked their mom into taking them on one more fun day before winter. The twins ran ahead so their mom had to call out to them to slow down and wait for her. They were so happy and laughing out-loud that they failed to hear her. It was a bit slick where they always went in because it had rained two days before. Casper could not stop in time, slipped into the water and hit his head on a rock. He did not get up. Connor ran for his mom, screaming, which his mom could not understand. By the time June and Connor got to the water, Casper was drowned. June tried to get him to breath but to no avail. She scooped him up into her arms and carried him back to the house, sobbing all the way.
Placing Casper on the floor, she then called for an ambulance. He was pronounced dead by the medical team who then took him away. June does not remember how she coped with the disaster, but she did know that Connor needed to be reassured that the accident was not his fault. Connor, with his little mind, was in such shock because he was sure that he could have saved his brother. She had to contact Mr. McFadden and make funeral arrangements. Howard got a quick emergency leave and left the next day to come home for the family and his son’s funeral.
After being in air for one-hour, enemy fire brought down Howard’s plane and he died instantly. What a double heartache for June and Connor! June got through that tragedy with the help of the Army and Connor. She had to continually be aware of how Connor was feeling, therefore, June included Connor in all the funeral arrangements.
June expressed to Connor how she would like to have a double funeral. She thought both she and Connor would have less pain that way. They decided to have them buried side by side in the small cemetery at the edge of town. Connor thought it was wonderful to have them nearby.
June and Connor found life very odd and lonely as Connor had never been without Casper. Nightly, Connor would talk to Casper and tell him of his day, and the rest of the night Connor dreamed of Casper.
One morning, not long after the funerals, June set two bowls of cereal at the breakfast table. Not noticing what she had done, Connor told her it was alright because Casper was always with him. Then he told his mom how he always dreamed of Casper. Then Connor said, “You know something, Mom, most of the time I think I’m not dreaming and some-
thing else, Casper told me he met our father in the cemetery.” June was shocked at Connor’s remark because she, also, was having some of the same thoughts at night.
Connor asked his mom if any of this was possible? June told Connor, “If you want it to be then it probably is real. You know, Connor, sometimes all you have to do is believe!”
Fiction Author: C.G.Rose 2226 Words