Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I had the strangest dream last night.

Most mornings my clanging alarm clock crashes through visions of fighter planes roaring and circling over forests of coconuts. I don't really know what Bob's world looks like, but my restless mind does its best to fill in the gaps.

But today is different. For weeks now we've faced growing shortages and restrictions here in the Northwest. I read the Seattle Daily Times every evening and I know that our "hardships" are nothing compared with the suffering in Europe. We have sturdy roofs over our heads, clothes on our backs and more than enough to eat. But it's a strange feeling to have money in my pocket and little to buy. My job at Boeing pays 60 cents an hour, which is a great wage, but sugar, gasoline, cars, tires and clothes are all rationed or restricted in one way or another. The paper says there's talk in Washington, DC of creating a system of stamps and ration cards. For now the shops are simply forbidden to sell more than certain amounts to a customer. For cars, washing machines, refrigerators, bicycles and most other large metal items its even simpler: They're not being manufactured any more.

Last night all the missing luxuries flooded back into my mind. There were sleek new automobiles and gleaming washers. Three-layer chocolate cakes with deep swirls of buttery icing. A thick, soft wool coat swept out of the closet to envelop me, and boxes of new sweaters and skirts in the latest styles were stacked on the sofa.

Then as quickly as they appeared, all the forbidden fruits drained away and transformed themselves. Into bombers and guns and explosives and uniforms and soldiers' rations; the things the posters and magazine ads constantly remind us we need to win the war. It seemed every material thing in the Northwest was snatched away by a tornado like Dorothy's house in "The Wizard of Oz" and dropped on distant shores. Salmon and lumber and ships were all scattered from Scotland to the South Pacific.

Then my dream turned to my own house. Our car rolled out of the garage driverless, sprouted wings, and turned into Bob's P-38, flashing and diving over New Guinea just as it did in all my usual dreams.

By the time Stormy's hungry meows woke me, the alarm had been ringing for so long that the clock was almost completely unwound. I dragged myself out of bed, pulled on my chenille robe, poured a cup of cold coffee and got ready for another day in the bomber factory.

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