by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942–Sep 1945

We all had a garden patch,
grew what we could
and made it last
‘cause things were
scarce and money
was hard to come by.

Beside the RR tracks 
we squatted
apickin’ up lumps a coal,
if upon the ground it landed
it was ours to hold.

We went for rations
once a week
for taters,
peas or corn;
if you needed
a pair of shoes
you had to look forlorn.

Ol’ Pap would line up 
at the mine
to get a load of coal;
he could sell the stuff
for fifty cents on the load.

Ol’ Pap was resourceful, 
don’tcha know,
he never stood on rules;
if he couldn’t get
the things he needed,
he’s apt to bend those rules.

When they cut off the juice
and we didn’t have no lights,
he “jumped the meter”
like the neighbors do
and that made things

He never had
a steady run
on the  old IC 
as a RR man,
it was catch 
as can,
for times were
tough on all.

All through those
years it was hard,
we scratched
as best we could;
the years of
the depression
left scars
that slowly heal.

Lord help us if ever,
ever again we
see this kind of hardship.
Will the land ever mend?

*     *     *
The author: Robert Lin Cook served with Regimental Weapons Co. (2d-2d) from 1942–44 at Guadalcanal
and Tarawa during a 33-month overseas tour.

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Great Was The Sorrow