Friday, April 12, 2013


Can you feel the wind

Ever blowing, changing me

Bringing me back home

Haiku My Heart
April 12, 2013

See more haiku My Heart at recuerda mi corazon

Sorry, but I can't get this link to work, so, cut and paste this one to see more recuerda mi corazon.

It was forty five years ago today, April 12, 1968, that I reported for induction into the US Army via the draft. Funny how you never forget some things. Funny how some things change your life and you look back and know it did and can't help but think of how different they might be if this or that event did not exist in your life.

The bus I took to school when I attended Proviso East Hight School in Maywood, IL traveled Eastbound on North Avenue through the town where I lived, Melrose Park. I got on at 23rd. The bus turned South onto Broadway, or what we called 19th back then. It took a jog East for one block on Washington Boulevard then continued South to Madison Street before heading East through Forest Park, Oak Park, then into Chicago.

I got off at First Avenue, that's where the high school still stands proudly today, on the corner of First and Madison. It wasn't a school bus, it was a regular city bus we took to school back then. I used it for most of the four years that I attended high school. I did get a car early in my senior year and drove instead of taking the bus.

The funny thing is that this is the same bus route that I had to take to report to that induction station in Forest Park as it was located on Madison Street just East of the high school. I don't remember the trip, but I do remember taking the bus from home to report, and I remember taking a taxi from O'hare Airport to the house my Mom and Dad lived in almost two years later, when I returned from the American war in Vietnem. Actually, I served 22 months and seven days in active duty, exactly one year spent as a combat infantryman.

The irony of that induction center in Forest Park is that a couple of years ago, I met some high school friends at a bar along Madison Street. I did it again last December. I don't live in the area any longer. I moved away from my childhood haunts way back in 1974. I drove right by my old high  school and even attended a homecoming football game there on that first visit back.

It feels strange to go back there now. A flood of memories comes back to me. Good stuff. The things that I remember from when life wasn't so serious. And believe me, it has been too serious ever since April 12, 1968. I've tried to change the reality of it. Running, drugs, alcohol, gambling. None of those things worked. It stayed serious and still is. In fact, I'll carry it to my grave and I want to. The experience of our lives makes us who and what we become throughout our life. I'm satisfied to know that my heart tells me it's okay. It's what happened, and today I celebrate one simple event that had to do with a familiar bus ride. The bus just didn't stop at school this time, but carried me into the arms of my own destiny.



Kim Mailhot said...

Part of me wishes the bus had never picked you up and that your life had been a less serious, easier, gentler life for that beautiful Soul of yours. But if that had been the case, you would never have come to this place, this moment, this way of being. So yes, I can see the need for a celebration of a sorts.
I am grateful that you are in this world at the same time as me, Man. I add my energy to celebrating your life and times for all that they are.
Much love. Peace, my friend.

Dawn Elliott said...

Yes, our experiences are what make us uniquely who we are...and I also believe that we do better to accept and honor them for the lessons and memories they hold.
I always so look forward to what you have to share, Joe, serious or not!

Jean said...

It's a harsh reality that harsh realities change us from children into adults. For some things, there is no adequate preparation, no gradual understanding and so we are traumatized by the experience. To be sure, there are grown children out there - never having lived through a life-changing event - and swaddled by family money, they play with other people's lives without thought or just consequence.

Stephanie said...

So true, that we carry these memories, this history that makes us who we are today.

You tell yours so beautifully, you take us right along with you.


Nonnie said...

In my scriptural reading today, it asked about a time of suffering that brought redemption to me. Your post seems to me to fit that to a Tee.
I celebrate who you are today!

gma said...

Amazing how our memories attach to a feeling, a place or a song and transpot us back. Good for you dealing with those things you carry with you. So glad you are you.

Unknown said...

the bitter and the sweet,
joy and pain
that's what Spadoman is made of!

And the rest of us too
with different measurements of sugar and vinegar.

You are a tremendous person, Joe, in spite of, or perhaps because of
...all of it

joanne said...

lovely haiku....thanx for sharing your personal self with us....I actually wish I remember more of my past (it WAS the '60's)

Anonymous said...

Your simple words about a bus ride to a war that changed your life forever, are poignant and meaningful. It is individual stories that are most affecting and your is no exception. Keep sharing your story and your heart. It is important!

Holy Anthem

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

May you always find your way home, dear one. Always. Amen.

Notes of Gold

rebecca said...

i have been lingering here...with your words, memories, courage, heart. you are a bright welcoming door that is always open, for this and so much more i thank you.

J C said...

Awesome haiku. Thanks for sharing your memories, and thank you for your service, Mr. Spadoman. I honor you.

Cheryl said...

Great haiku, Joe. Ditto to what Kim Mailhot said. I just can't figure my blogging life without you. Whenever you, or any vet from Vietnam, tell us a story, I lower my eyes and remember. I don't like some of these memories but they are part of me and I accept them. God bless you, Joe.

Mel said...

Poignantly written, sir. You make that seem effortless, the ability to put words into another's heart.

The bitter with the sweet--the road that we journey is ours. And we all get to wander, struggle, celebrate and LIVE. You've done that exceptionally. And that you share from the heart, touches others hearts. It just does.

((((((( Spadoman ))))))))
Ah the places we go, eh?

deuddersun said...

Spadoman! d. here. Couldn't find you on FB and me and the guys from API are a little worried. You okay?