PEGGY RAMBACH

 

Omaha Beach
by H.J.
(excerpt)

Let me start with the army.

I was in Omaha Beach. That was a bloody mess there.

I climbed off the boat and walked through the wire. I had to swim a bit first and then walked through the sand. I was shooting a rifle. The gun hit my shoulders when I shot it. I was helping others that were shot, and pulling them out of the water when they were shot. Some were in my unit. I knew some of their names, but lot of them I didn’t know. I called for the medics to help them to get some aid kits to try to get the blood stopped.

Then we got up above and out of the water and started shooting the German soldiers. We had to kill a lot of them. I walked over bodies, through them, and saw guns and rifles. We had to go through all the blood and pull out all the wounded bodies, bloody bodies and help them get further off the beach.

I was very worried and afraid I might be killed. I tried not to look at the wounded and the dead. There was a lot of shooting and I took the guns away from the Germans. We had to keep killing them to get away from them

We kept on going. We started running from wall to wall, over the land, and to get by, we had to keep killing them. On the land, stone walls separated one farm from the other. They had dirt and plants growing through them. You could see over them. They weren’t that high, but they made it hard to keep going.

 

Grandma and Me
by B.G.
(excerpt)

I was proud of my Class A uniform. I looked so good in it. I was really thin and the color looked good on me.

I remember my girlfriend and I got a weekend pass for giving blood. We rented the only room we could find, a small room meant only for one person and lots of our friends visited us while we stayed there. It was during the National Finals Rodeo. That night, while I rode up and down the elevator, I met some of the cowboys. They were very attentive and cute. They invited me to a room for a drink and we laughed and joked. They left the door open so there would be no shenanigans. I told my firend that I had more fun that night than she did.

From the very beginning of Basic Training, I saw how unfairly blacks were treated. When we went to buy our black dress shoes in town, we were told that we couldn’t walk on the same side of the street as our black friends. The black women kept mostly to themselves. It was just kind of an automatic separation. The black women weren’t used to the white women and vice versa.

I had a black girlfriend who got pregnant. Her parents wouldn’t let her go home, and so to support herself, she became a prostitute. One of my girlfriends and I went to check on Louise and the baby. They lived in a shack behind the club. The baby was alone on a double bed, not even in a crib. It was just an infant, three or four months old. Louise was out working, so we went inside the joint and Louise was there and glad to see us. If she had been allowed to go back home, her life would have been different.

Author, Peggy Rambach, runs creative writing workshops in community education settings for the Healing Arts in health care, correctional facilities, ESL programs and immigrant support centers as well as offering assistance with lesson plans in professional development presentations for middle and high school teachers. She teaches memoir writing in medical schools as part of the curriculum in Narrative Medicine and Medical Humanities. Ms. Rambach is conveniently located for teachers, students and participants from throughout New England including the Vermont (VT) cities of Bennington, Burlington and Montpelier, the Maine (ME) cities of Portland, Gardener, Kennebunkport and York, the New Hampshire (NH) cities of Portsmouth, Concord, Manchester, Dover, Nashua and Rochester, the Massachusetts (MA) cities of Boston, Newburyport, Amherst, North Hampton, Salem, Beverly, Lawrence, Lowell, Haverhill, Gloucester, Plymouth, New Bedford, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Rockport, Hyannis, and Falmouth, the Rhode Island (RI) cities of Providence and Newport and the Connecticut (CT) cities of New Haven and Hartford.