Saturday, October 14, 2017

Vietnam, Part 3

This is the second person who I spoke with about Vietnam.  Remember, I asked for date of birth, where stationed, what year entered the service, and whether enlisted or drafted. 

Please also remember: the stories I created are in my words based entirely on what I was told.  Please also note, all names are fictitious.

Because this affects how I feel and how these veterans feel in their souls, I'm adding it to Elke's theme, Landscapes of the Soul at Art Journal Journey. 
This is the story of "Jesse."  Jesse told me he really didn't want to talk about the war, but has learned to deal with it over time.  He was quite honest and up front with me.  He told me he shut down for years, and lived on the streets for awhile.  He eventually got a job as a dishwasher, then worked in a laundry. He finally got a job as a machinist.  He retired from his machinist's job in 2013.  He has never been married, but has lived with various women.

Not only was Jesse returning to a country that hated the war and its returning service men and women, he returned to a racially divided nation, too.   He may have been an angry black man when he went to Vietnam, he came back a disillusioned and weary black man.  Although he wasn't in the thick of battle, I still believe he suffered from post-traumatic stress.

Jesse felt part of the country he saw was beautiful, while other parts he saw had been destroyed by the bombings, especially Napalm and Agent Orange.  Jesse admitted he had unloaded palette after palette of 55 gallon barrels of Agent Orange while he was there.

Since I obviously didn't have any pot lying around (grin), I decided to decorate my page with a poker hand and poker chips.  I found these round two-color discs in my stash, and used them to signify the chips.

I used the insert that was meant for the name on the tag to cover the words "Special Forces" with my handwritten "Army."

Materials include the back of the previous spread (Barry), but this time I used the credit card technique to create the background.  The text was computer generated and outlined using two pigment inks.  The picture from the Mekong Delta came from a travel magazine.  For embellishments, I used five playing cards, three two-color discs, and a faux dog tag.

Thank you for joining me today, as I link to Elke's theme, Landscapes of the Soul at Art Journal Journey.  And thanks for your visit as I explore how the men who survived Vietnam remember that war.  As you have read, "Jesse's" is a very different story from "Barry's."

17 thoughtful remarks:

Valerie-Jael said...

What a sad story. The vets who survived Vietnam had a lot to contend with. I know my stepfather had nightmares all of his life after being a soldier in WWII. And I am sure the people in Vitnam were scarred for life, too. Hugs, Valerie

Barbara Fisher said...

The story of “Jesse” is heartbreaking, and I’m sure it was repeated many times over. I missed “Barry’s” story, so I’m going to read that now.

geistige_Schritte said...

The story of "Jesse" is sad and what has to be experienced is bad in Vietman
thank you for linking to AJJ a very touching good work!
hugs, Elke

froebelsternchen Susi said...

Jesse's story really touches me. I always regret my hubby ( he is born in the same year as Jesse) that his childhood was so sad - he was the youngest of 5 and was raised in a stately children's home after the divorce of his parents - he was just 5 years old at that time. But how I regret all this men - marked by this brutal war, and I don't want to think of the people in Vietnam - oh my gosh.. I often feel so blessed about my life - my grandparents were affected by WW I and II but even my parents were/are lucky to be postwar- children.
Thank you for this thought provoking series you started with this pages Elizabeth!
Not just fab collages but also impressive personal stories!
Thanks for another fantastic entry - did you say that you don't understand the theme?
You got it very well and you have come up with fantastic entries !
Happy Saturday Elizabeth-
hugs to the boys!

oxo Susi

Darla said...

Well told and illustrated Elizabeth. I lived through the era as a young adult, DH was in Vietnam. It seems both very recent and very far away.

CJ Kennedy said...

I think all of the Viet Nam stories will have a touch of sadness to them. Hard to leave home to do your duty to your country and to come back to a divided nation. Sad not much has changed.

craftytrog said...

Such a sad tale!

My name is Erika. said...

I love the personal stories you created and love even more they are based on a real story. What a super idea you had for these pages. This is true art isn't it? Telling stories and making people think? Happy Saturday. Hugs-Erika

Sandra Cox said...

This was such a moving piece, dear Elizabeth. I wonder what happened to Jessie. I'd like to think his life took an upward spiral.

Sandra Cox said...

Whoops. Sorry I missed that paragraph, Elizabeth.

nanskidrewski said...

So sad, but beautifully written.

Meggymay said...

A wonderful tribute to Jesse's story from the war years. It is moving to read the personal side of war and how the effects lasted for many years. Added with the racial situation, your heart can only go out to the folk who suffer
trauma in the service if their countries.
It is a remarkable page that is sure to make folk think.
Yvonne xx

Rita said...

These stories make these pages so much more personal. Was a rough time.

Sami said...

What a sad story of what the war can do to some people! I hope "Jesse" has found some happiness in his life.

Pamela Gerard said...

Lovely that you are doing this. Giving a voice to people who may feel like they don't (or, didn't) have one.

Cindy McMath said...

Wonderful composition to this very sad page Elizabeth. You’re doing a wonderful job with this series. You’ve cut through all the rhetoric and gotten to the heart of the matter with these personal stories.

Jeanie said...

This is a powerful theme, your Vietnam series, and I applaud both your artistic achievement and also simply the time it took to do your research and interviews. Probably most people would have dug up a story and graphics. But it wouldn't have been so real, so raw. And, I suspect, somewhat cathartic for the participants. To have someone honor you with their time is indeed a gift and you have given a great one.