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A bird named Boy - growing up in Metcalfe County during wartime

As a young girl, she marveled at the tender moments when her hunter brothers were so kind to the pigeon they saved; and remembers, later, when they had all gone off to World War II, the times her father would shush the family while reports from the fronts came in over the radio . . . LW
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from Geniece Marcum's stories of growing up in Edmonton, KY
written by daughter, Linda Marcum Waggener

These observations were made by ten or eleven-year-old Geniece Leftwich Marcum from her growing up years, the youngest of nine children in a farmhouse just outside of Edmonton, KY. She told the story of a bird named Boy.

Back before World War II took them from the little girl, her Leftwich brothers, Robert, Russell, Ray and Rondyl, shared a big drafty upstairs room overlooking the smokehouse and fields they worked, across the hall from the girls area. There were five girls but two had already married and followed their husbands out west to California at the time.

The boys worked the farm with their father, Walter Scott (Papa) Leftwich, but their day would begin early, gathering at the dining table of Addie (Mama) Turner Leftwich.

It was an exciting start to each day for Geniece who always marveled at the growing brothers who were getting taller all the time, talking in their deepening voices, sharing new adventures, and teasing her, calling her "Jimmy" because she'd swing and yodel and sing popular radio songs by Jimmy Rodgers.

One breakfast morning, the brothers came laughing down the stairs reporting they'd been alarmed at daybreak, awakened by a pigeon that had gotten into their room -- flown through an opening in the top of the old window.

They put him out but he pulled the same trick again and this time he appeared to have a broken wing.

The brothers reported they'd caught and saved the bird, named him "Boy" and would take care of him until he could heal, then the window would be secured as he was set free.

Geniece pondered how the brothers could hunt and shoot a bird at one moment, then save the life of an injured one the next. She didn't ask, however, just listened as they shared details of the bird named Boy with their parents and sisters over oatmeal, or biscuits and gravy and sausage or bacon, from one day to the next before heading to the fields for farming.

When she shared this memory late in her life, her thoughts would cloud as she recalled Papa shushing Mama, her and her sisters Almedia and Eugenia during the war years, at the end of the days when time came to hear the news of the boys from the radio reports or as he'd read aloud the Courier Journal stories of the war. She loved her Papa's voice and those moments by the fireplace in the old house even though she recalled being afraid of the harsh spoken, overly stern parent. She said WWII swept her four brothers away from home and would only return three.

This story was posted on 2017-08-09 11:44:13
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