Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Slaughterhouse 5.

Kurt Vonnegut belonged to my parents generation. My parents were born in 1921. Mr Vonnegut was born in 1922. I wonder if my parents ever read Slaughterhouse 5? I doubt it. 

My father spent the war defusing German bombs- which was incredibly brave of him. I asked him once if he'd ever fired a gun. And he said, yes, he'd fired a Tommy gun- but only on a firing range.

My father and I went to a firing range once when I was a teenager. The man in charge said he'd knock me sensless if I pointed the gun at anyone- for which I hated and still hate him. He didn't say that to my father so my father thought he was within his rights to jiggle a hand-gun around like he was Wild Bill Hickock and the gun went off while he was doing it and the bullet bounced off the concrete roof. Afterwards we told one another what fun we'd had. 

But we never went back.

My mother was a driver during the war. She drove "B" list celebrities around for some ministry or other.  One of her "gentlemen" was Christopher Hassall. I believe he was a writer or publisher or something like that. 

My mother held onto her wartime uniform. It wound up in my dressing-up box. I used to go out on the streets wearing her WRAC jacket and cap with a toy six-shooter strapped to my waist.

I know my mother enjoyed her war. Pretty much. I don't know whether my father did and I can't ask him now because he's dead.

Mr Vonnegut is dead too but I'm grateful to him for writing about the war before he died because now- at long last (why didn't I read this book earlier?)- I know what it was really like.

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