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. Gong back to Oakland after visiting Rosemary, I was detained in the Greyhound Bus depot by two plainclothes cops – for being a Professional Demonstrator – after I told them I was going to Oakland – where Joan was leading a anti-war demonstration. They put me in handcuffs and in a room, where one cop took out a truncheon and was going to work me over – with my hands behind my back! What a punk and a coward!
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, not 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.
I always looked at Robby and I through my mother’s eyes. 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.