You find them in antique stores and flea markets: the souvenir satin pillows edged with fringe. These pillows addressed to "Mother", "My Wife", "Sweetheart" or "Daughter" followed by a sentimental poem were purchased by enlisted men during WWII to send back home as a token of endearment. The pillow covers often bear the name of a particular military branch or base and the graphics range from hearts and flowers to flags and eagles to tanks and artillery.
This May I celebrate my first Mother's Day as a Marine Mother. Son Lance Corporal Robert Eubank will serve his country in Okinawa for the next two years. Mother's Day makes me pause and reflect on how difficult it must have been for my grandmothers to have their sons go off to war and be so far from home and not be able to communicate with them or know from day to day whether their sons were safe, imprisoned, injured or even dead. Due to the servicemen's mail often being censured, families often did not even know in what part of the world they were serving. It isn't hard to imagine a wartime mother's reaction when they received a pillow: a tangible gift to hold and to hug until their son(s) came home to find the pillow displayed on the sofa as a constant reminder of the enduring bond between them.
It is fitting that we celebrate Mother's Day and Memorial Day in May as it reminds us to honor especially Mother's we may know who have lost a child in service to our country.
In honor of all Military Moms I leave you with a poem found on a U.S. Army, Camp Lee, VA Pillow:
M is for the million things she gave me
O means only that she's growing old
T is for the tears she shed to save me
H is for her heart of purest gold
E is for her eyes with love light shining
R means right, and right she'll always be,
Put them all together, they spell "MOTHER"
a word that means the world to me.
Lois Levihn Eubank is the owner of Born Again Quilts restoration studio and quilt gallery located at 4005 South Wayne Ave. It is open from 5:30-7 p.m. T-W-TH and Saturdays 9-2 p.m. Check it out at: www.bornagainquilts.com