Who Knew? …Reflections on Vietnam
Author: J. Holley Watts
Publisher: J. Holley watts (2004)
Binding: Paperback, 104 pages
Those of us who went to Nam and found ourselves many thousands of miles from homes, our girl friends, and everything knew and loved — then you will remember how nice it really was to be visited out in the boonies by one of those Red Cross “Donut Dollies.” Oh, I know at the time how silly we all acted just trying to be noticed by one of these visiting young ladies. It brings back many memories of a time and a place that was our generations defining moment.
Holley Watts captures some of that feeling and those memories as she takes us back down a nostalgic and sometimes sad pathway to our youth and our time spent in hell. It was young women like Holley who made that stay in hell a little easier even if it was just for an hour’s mental escape through silly and mindless games. She brings us back and reflects with that old question, “Who Knew?”
From her book:
Who Knew…how depressing the monsoons could be. Everything smelled musty. The air was heavy. Gray days made even waking difficult, sapped our energy and dampened our spirits. Mud covered everything and sucked down shoes and tires. Playing cards stuck together.
Men worried about their weapons clogging. Their mail getting delivered, the limited visibility, and if their feet would ever dry.
We climbed into our van one soggy morning saying nothing to each other, our tempers short. As we headed up to the Center vaguely outlined in the low clouds ahead a voice broke the silence with a sigh—
Well, at least it’ll make the flowers grow.
They could hear our laughter all the way up the hill.
Just a taste for the mood and the pace set up through out Holley’s book. It is not a driven race to the last page but a stroll down memory lane with old comrades and friends. It is also a sad look back at times of people who are no longer around — robbed of their young lives like flowers crushed under a heavy foot in the mud.
I enjoyed Holley’s book and strongly recommend that you put it on your list of books to buy and read. It also has many great old photos of times and places long gone.
Reviewed by: Bill McDonald (2005)