My son had shared with me some time ago that on Facebook, if people who are not your friends, send you a message, you never know. There is a spot in messages labeled “Other” where all those messages go and you never know they are there until you happen to bump into them. Yesterday I bumped into this message sent to me about a year ago:
Dear Ms. J…,
This message might come as a surprise to you. My name is TD from the Philippines. I was recently going through old family photos when I came across a pencil sketch of my sister A drawn by your father IY in the 40’s. I was 7 y/o when our family, D, from San Juan, Rizal became friends with Mr.Y who was then with the American Forces which liberated Manila from the Japanese in 1945.
I asked my daughter who presently resides in MA if she could try and find any information about Mr. Y. We’ve always wondered where he settled after the troops left our country. I am saddened to learn that he passed away at a very young age.
I remember Mr. Y doing a colored pencil sketch of me too with our home’s front door as background. He drew the door exactly how it looked — with a shrapnel imbedded in it. Our home was hit during the bombing, tearing down the side walls and shrapnels were embedded in different places. I’m not sure if your father brought that sketch back home to the United States. I am not sure if you have come across that particular drawing but if you have, may I request a copy as a souvenir.
Warmest regards to your family–
Dear Ms. J:
My mom asked me to send you her message because she does not have a FB account. I asked her to send me a scanned copy of your father’s sketch of my Aunt so that I can forward to you a copy. Thanks
Hi Ms. J:
Here is the sketch of my Aunt which your father did.
Staring at this drawing of my father’s, I realized that this young girl, A, is looking directly at my father as he was drawing it. This poignant realization caught me off-guard.
Of course how moved I was by this message and image from out of the cosmos. Like the mail of old, it was, in fact, not so instantaneous because it came from outside my Facebook community (which is not so vast). I emailed back immediately (well, immediately after I read the message — only a year later) desiring to make contact, to make connection. I had always wondered whether my father had seen real combat (he never talked about the war) and it is pretty clear from this message that he had. At least on Manilla. His drawings are mostly from all the places of major battles in the Pacific, but it wasn’t clear to me that he had fought in all those locations. We had tried to research his company and division to see what their experiences were but were told that there was a fire where all the information about his battalion was archived and therefore destroyed.
T (via A)—
First of all, please forgive the long delay in getting a message back to you. I do not always check my messages on Facebook and I just discovered your lovely note tonight. (Yes a year later!) And what a wonderful surprise it was! And what a beautiful sketch my father drew of your sister. My father brought home many sketches and drawings from the war but there is not one of a young child with the door you described behind her. However, I will go through those drawings once again to make very sure. I just wanted to get this email out to you and let you know how excited I am to make contact with you. I would love to know any more stories or memories you might have.
I haven’t yet heard back from the Philippine family. And I need to go through all my father’s drawings to see if I can find that “souvenir” for TD. I am filled with a quiet but irresistible anticipation.