Greenwich Village, 1958.
“A group of protesters are marching around in capes with white paint on their faces. They’re carrying signs that say BAN THE BOMB and NEVER AGAIN with pictures of the mushroom cloud that exploded over Hiroshima.” –from The Beat on Ruby’s Street
I told you about the protesters because they helped me hide from the police, but they’re important by themselves, too. Sky told us about Hiroshima and Nagasaki so I knew why the marchers were against the Bomb. Sky also showed us pictures once of people who’d been hurt by the Bomb and they were really gruesome; Sophie couldn’t even look.
I’m still against the Bomb and want to ban it. But Gordy’s father told me something I didn’t know and I’m not sure what to think. Has that ever happened to you?
What happened here is that I was waiting for Gordy to walk to Blue Skies yesterday (he’s always late) and his dad invited me inside because it was cold. There were people across the street holding signs about the Bomb and he dad said, well, you know. The word that starts with “f.”
I kinda looked at him, surprised, and he told me he was in the Philippines in ’45 and they were getting ready for some kind of invasion, expecting most everyone who went in would be killed. His lieutenant (which Sky promised me a dollar for if I spell it right) asked Gordy’s dad who should get his pay if he died. He wrote down his wife’s name and all the other soldiers had to do that, too. That’s how they knew it was serious.
So there they were, getting ready to go fight in Japan and figuring out most of them wouldn't make it, and trying not to think about dying and all. And then in August they dropped Little Boy over Hiroshima, which was a really nice name for a really terrible thing, and then dropped the other Bomb and then Japan surrendered.
And Gordy’s father got to go home, and then Gordy was born a year later. But he might not have been, if his dad had been one of the guys who went into Japan in ’45. “So no apologies,” said Gordy’s dad (whose name is Sherman, in case you want to know.)
Then Gordy said we had to split so we said our goodbyes and got over to Blue Skies. I wanted to ask Sky about it, but Gordy made me promise not to. Sky is absolutely positively and completely against any kind of bomb and especially the Bomb bomb. And Gordy didn’t want Sky to know about what happened to his dad.
I still want to talk to Sky about it, but I can’t because I promised Gordy. I told Sophie but she said she knew already, though she didn’t sound too jazzed up about all this.
I think she’s trying to see if she can get on her mom’s show and her mom is telling Sophie to wait and they’re arguing about it. Which is kind of how it goes with Sophie, she’s mostly in the show business world and not a lot else that happens really counts. Unless she’s in the middle of it, of course.
Anyway, I think what Gordy’s dad was trying to tell me is that Gordy wouldn’t be here and his dad wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t dropped the Bomb. And I don’t know what to think about that. I mean, he could have survived, couldn't he?
If you had a secret weapon and it was really terrible, Gordy said, you wouldn't want to use it. But then he said if the only way to save millions of lives is to take… millions of other lives, is it self defense or is it murder?
And I said, who gets to decide?
And he couldn't answer except to say, Whoever’s in charge and for my dad it was Harry Truman. And then we didn't talk about it any more.
But I keep thinking about it. I just can’t figure it out.