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Where Should I Start?

January 2, 2014

I told this Christmas story to my grandchildren and Roland sobbed. Now I feel like crying too. No war ever ends. Another mystery.


Private First Class Carl Ralph Bonde Jr, died Christmas Eve, 1944, along with 762 of his fellow Americans when a U-boat torpedo sank the Belgian troop ship, the SS Leopoldville in the English Channel.  Bonde, or “Bud,” as his mother and sisters called him, was just 21.

How many times have I tried to say those words in order to explain the early death of Bud, my only maternal uncle?

I never even met Bud.  It’s hard to say when I first became aware that he ever existed.  Could have been something I overheard at my grandparents’ house when they played bridge with my mother and her sisters.  In those days the grownups  (but not grandma) smoked heavily and drank whiskey when they played bridge.  All of these adults, with the possible exception of my grandpa, were college educated and absolutely none was overly sentimental.  That is, as long as…

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