Robert W. Miles is my father-in-law. He is five months younger then me. He met my mother in a bar in Reseda California, and then, left for Vietnam. He told Rosemary if he survived, he would marry her. I do not know the date of their marriage.
At my wedding reception, Robert got into a discussion with Tim O’Connor, the son of a famous actor of the same name. He told Tim about the horrific things he and his platoon did to produce a body-count, they coming to understand that is why they are there for, and that was what was expected of them. Robert was very volatile, and suffered from PTSD. My wife was friends of the Mimi Baez, Joan’s sister. I was very anti-war.
Rosemary and Robert smoked pot, and owned two white doves.Robert loved Rosemary’s grandchildren, and took them camping. Robert was born in Luzerne Pennsylvania a coal and steel town, nt unlike Chariton, the town in the movie ‘The Deer Hunter’. That movie was based upon the book
“The Man Who Came To Play” by Louis Garfinkle.
In Rosemary’s box, I found a piece of paper she saved. She would snatch my writing she found, and hide it away. I can recall writing it. The first part is missing. I speak of a young American pilot strafing a farmer with an ox in his families ancient rice paddy, with a bottle of Coca-Cola between his leg. This act of murder is all in fun, at best, a sport, but, never the preservation of democracy. There is nothing in the Constitution that bids us wipe out people who adobt a different political system then ours – nothing!
“that farmer. Why is it Dad, that you could see only so far into my future (un-readable) you could see no more; and you did send there, though I did not go; forgive (me) that I knew, you were sending me to die, and did not go.
I am sorry I did not become a man; but now only ask – What is a man?
I am sorry I am not dead; but the truth has killed me.
Oh father I have gone to war
And I wish I were home again.”
These words are a glimpse into my death-experience I was not fully aware of. I was there, on a beach in California dying of “guilt that was not mine to own”. I died alongside my peers, my brothers. Can I ever come home, the boy who did not go?
There has long been Cultural Warfare in my family who is a microcosm of the American Family. We have taken your sins upon our shoulders, fought your battles. The white birds of peace have winged their way home, and landed in Rosemary’s tree. When will the men, alas be free?
The Deer Hunter is just a movie. Where are our truths?
On the reverse side of this paper ae these words;
“The child plays
the toy boat sails across the pond (to Vietnam)
Just now the work is begun
Look what you have done.
The Deer Hunter is a 1978 drama film co-written and directed by Michael Cimino about a trio of Russian American steel worker friends and their infantry service in the Vietnam War. The film stars Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, John Savage, John Cazale, and George Dzundza. The story takes place in Clairton, a small working class town on the Monongahela River south of Pittsburgh and then in Vietnam, somewhere in the woodland and in Saigon, during the Vietnam War.
The film was based in part on a screenplay called “The Man Who Came To Play” by Louis Garfinkle
Act I – In Clairton, a small working class town in Western Pennsylvania, in late 1968, Russian American steel workers Michael (De Niro), Steven (Savage), and Nick (Walken), with the support of their friends Stanley (Cazale), John (Dzundza) and Axel (Chuck Aspegren, his only movie role; he was a steel worker from Gary, Indiana), are preparing for two rites of passage: marriage and military service.
The opening scenes set the character traits of the three main characters. Michael is the no-nonsense, serious but unassuming leader of the three, Steven the loving, near-groom, pecked at by his mother for not wearing a scarf with his tuxedo and Nick is the quiet, introspective man who loves hunting because, “I like the trees…you know…the way the trees are…” The recurring theme of “one shot”, which is how Michael prefers to take down a deer, is introduced.
Before the trio ships out, Steven and his girlfriend, Angela (who is pregnant by another man but loved by Steven nonetheless) get married in an Orthodox wedding. In the meantime, Michael must contain his own feelings for Nick’s lovely but pensive girlfriend Linda (Streep), who has just moved out of her abusive father’s house.
Luzerne is a borough located five miles (eight km) north of Wilkes Barre in Luzerne County, Pennsylvanianear the Susquehanna River. In the early years of the twentieth century, it had coal mines, a foundry, drill factories, flour and feed mills, canning factory, silk mill, etc. In 1900, 3,817 people lived here; in 1910, 5,425 people lived here; and in 1940, 7,082 people lived in Luzerne. The population was 2,952 at the 2000 census.