Decoration Day

by Taffy Cannon

My grandfather called it Decoration Day, which seemed very old-fashioned.

Then again, so was he, a veteran of the Spanish-American War, which to a child in the fifties felt as distant as the French and Indian Wars. He had been in Cuba with Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, the farthest he’d travelled since leaving Mecklenburg, Germany, for Wisconsin at the age of four.

I knew, of course, that it was now called Memorial Day, and the important issue wasn’t nomenclature anyway. It was that May 30 provided a school holiday at a time when we desperately needed one, when the Chicago Public Schools still had a solid month left before closing down for the torpid summer. A kid gets restless after six months of Chicago winter. Continue reading “Decoration Day”