1953: Calamities and War

Ruben Pechero, guest writer


My name is Edward Collins, I am the production manager at a warehouse in San Diego. My job helps different people dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia. I think about the people I am helping as their prognosis are tragically severe. When I arrived at the warehouse, last Monday morning, my boss, Mr. Reed greeted me with a “Good Morning, how do you do Edward.”  He then asked me into his office where he told me to take a seat, as he wanted to have a serious talk with me.

 “Son, I think it’s about time you thought about getting married.”

Mr. Reed explained that the rest of my co-workers had a family life and that things could not be better for them. They were living, what was commonly referred to as, the American dream.

“I’m not pressuring you nor is it something you have to do, but it is something you should think about.” 

As I continued to my office, I thought hard on the subject.   I often saw my coworker’s wives bring them a hot lunch. I saw how happy they seemed to be and I realized that I too wanted to experience what they seemed to be enjoying.  At lunch time, I thought I would go on a walk to enjoy some sunshine. I was feeling a bit exhausted and as I was walking out the door, I told Mr. Reed I was still contemplating our discussion. 


Four months later, I found myself getting married to Barbara, a girl I had been dating for two years.  We bought a house for $9,500 and took out a 30-year loan, as my job paid $43.45 a year. We were excited to move into the next step in our lives.


I realized I had never felt this happy, around me there were several people unemployed who were barely scraping by.



Once my wife and I were settled in, we started talking about getting a television.  When we realized, they had gone on sale, my wife asked if we had the money to afford one. 

“Yes, I believe we do, I also hear a new show called I love Lucy is being shown.”

Ecstatic and running to the store with the biggest smile on our faces, we entered the store with great expectations.  We found the line for purchasing TVs to be the longest it has been since The Great Depression.  Everything was good in my life and I felt that for once I had peace. 


Once we got home with our TV, Barbara and I were excited to see what all we could watch on our new TV.  As we turned the TV on, the first program we came across was a show called I love Lucy. It was an interesting episode because it was of Lucy giving birth. 



One day I received a letter in the mail, it was from the drafting office.  Suddenly Barbara and I started getting chills down our spines. The letter said the Army needed more men and I soon found myself being drafted.  I could not say no though I wanted to cry.  I had never thought I would be drafted.  I understood I had a duty to my country and hesitantly accepted my fate.

“I will be expecting letters from you when you can send them,” Barbara whispered. 

“Yes, my love, I will try my hardest to send letters to you.” 

My heart skipped a beat or two as the letter instructed that I be at the drafting office by tomorrow 7AM.  As I explained the news to Barbara and she almost burst into tears.

“We just started our new lives together and you cannot leave so soon.” 

“I understand that, my dear, but I must go because I do not want anyone to think that I am a communist”. 

“This is not something I want to do but something I have to do.

” My heart hurt as I said goodbye to Barbara.  She hugged and kissed me and cried like I had never seen before. I didn’t want to let her go.



Fighting in the war was nothing I had ever experienced. Harry Truman ordered air and sea attacks to support South Korea because they did not have a big army. The American General was General Douglas MacArthur who wanted to enter China and attack Manchuria. He also wanted to use Nationalist Chinese troops against the communists.



After I returned home from the war, I was ecstatic to see my wife.  I cried and greeted her with open arms. She showed the same emotion when I hugged and kissed her. An emotion that I soon relived five months later when our daughter Deborah was born.  Our joy was soon short lived.  One day we noticed Deborah having problems breathing.  We quickly took her in so that Dr. Smith could see her.  He did an evaluation and took some x-rays of her chest. When he came back into the room, the look on his face said it all.  He had some horrifying news, Deborah had a severe heart condition and would require open-heart surgery.  

“we don’t do that type of surgery here in San Diego.  I suggest you head out to Philadelphia where they are performing that type of surgery. 


I told Barbara we needed to make immediate plans to leave and take Deborah to Philadelphia tomorrow because Deborah needed to have the surgery as soon as possible.”

We both looked at each other and simultaneously said, “I don’t want to lose Debby.”



Deborah’s surgery day came quicker than we could have imagined.  Barbara and I were left to wait in the waiting room where we sat in silence and scared. It seemed like we were taking turns pacing the floor.

“Are we going to lose her?” She asked

“My dear, I am as scared as you are, I don’t know if we are or not.”


After what seemed like days, the surgeon walked into the waiting room with a reassuring face.





Works Cited

U.S. Department of Defense. “U.S. Courses of Action in Korea.” The Cold War, ED. Walter                    Hixson, Primary Source Media, 2000. American Journey. Student Resources in Context,                Web. 6 Apr. 2017

MacGill, Markus. “Open heart surgery: What to expect.”medicalnewstoday.com

            15 September 2016. Web. 9 April 2017.

“Korean War (1950-1953).” DISCovering Multicultural America: African Americans, Hispanic                 Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Gale, 2003. Student Resources in                   Context, Web. 6 Apr. 2017.

“U.S. Anti-Communism Campaigns in Latin America during the 1950s.” DISCovering                              Multicultural America: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans,                        Native Americans, Gale, 2003. Student Resources in Context, Web. Accessed 6 Apr.                    2017.

“UPI NewsTrack Entertainment News.” UPI NewsTrack, 11 Feb. 2011. Student Resources in                  Context, Web. 6 Apr. 2017