A World War II casualty

In the early 1940’s my grandmother’s next door neighbors had a son about my age named Dickie.  I used to play with Dickie sometimes when we visited grandma.  Dickie had an older brother named Norman, who was in the army during World War II.

Norman was discharged from the army and sent home with ‘battle fatigue’.

For months Norman sat at home in the neighbors’ front room, staring out the window.  He didn’t communicate with anyone.

Then, one day, we heard accordion music coming from their front room.  Norman had started playing the accordion.  All day, every day, we’d hear accordion music coming from the front room of the neighbors’ house.

Then, one day, Dickie asked me if I wanted to see Norman play the accordion.  Norman was playing his accordion in their kitchen at the back of the house when Dickie and I went in.

Norman had really got good on the accordion.  He filled that kitchen with music; I don’t know what piece he was playing, but it sounded really good to me.

Norman did not acknowledge our presence at all.  He was completely absorbed in playing the accordion, and obviously loved what he was doing.

I don’t know what happened to Norman in later years.  I think he resumed a normal life.  But I’m convinced that it really was that accordion that brought him back to normalcy.

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