What Kids Can Say

What kids can say
Oftentimes may blow you away
Their words, if or when you let them seep in
Perhaps amazingly
Obstinate problems
Living truth creeps from a beating heart
Always from within
Sorrows from yesterday
Turn into blissful imagination of tomorrow
1943, ten years old
“My big brother ain’t coming home anymore”
A hand is placed around his shoulder
They walk the playground schoolyard together
A little boy helping a little boy who weeps
Perhaps ending with a gentle kiss on a cheek
Maybe apologizing for the hurt he caused
They walk home together
There’s a gold star in the window
“My mom put it there”, he says,
“It was there for me to see when I got home
She was in bed crying when I got home”
Little boys offer sympathy
When they become men who speak
Quietly to one another
Paying attention
Maybe taking a knee
Maybe God will help now
If only a modicum
For each other’s welfare
To draw only from their blissful past
Joys remembered
Of what they felt and have learned
From life gone by too fast
Spreading around to all others
Watching a child waving their flag
And then continuing at home
All the neighborhood family’s parading around
Block party’s for all to spread love
WW2 has come to an end
It was coming home time
Back in the United States of America
All arms around one another
Never again to be alone


        Every school kid attending PS 233 was aware of which of their friends had brothers or sisters serving in our country’s military. Often a brother on leave from the service was allowed to stick their head in and visit with a classmate. All the kids stood as one, and clapped and cheered in unison. Some kids were justifiably seen drying a tear or two.

Two of the top songs of the day were:

Les Brown’s band playing “Sentimental Journey” with Doris Day as a vocalist
“It’s Been A Long, Long Time”, Louis Armstrong


        In the years of WW2, every child in every home learned from their mothers and or fathers about patriotism. Each day at school began with a pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. Every member of the families on our block shared the pride in men and women teaming up for our country in those terrible years of unbelievable grief.


        Harvey Kalmenson became twelve and, accordingly, he was merely one year away from being accepted and recognized for becoming a man by the elders of his tribe. Truth be told, at the time I was more into baseball than studying for my Bar Mitzvah, a little less than one year away.

Harvey Kalmenson


“Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah: Basic Jews become responsible for observing the commandments at the age of 13 for boys, and 12 for girls. This age is marked by a celebration called bar or bat mitzvah.”

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