Grandpa's Visit

During the later part of World War II, my Grandfather was serving as a ships electrician on a battleship in the South Pacific. Grandpa would often write my Grandma of how he missed her and their three girls and how he would give anything to see them again.

Grandpa had been away nearly nine months and was very homesick. My Grandma worked in a factory during those war years as many women did, doing their part to help with the War effort. One evening after a rough shift at the plant, Grandma came home intent on getting to bed early for a good nights sleep. After making supper for the girls Grandma went to bed at about 9:30 that evening.

Grandma was exhausted from a long day but still had trouble getting to sleep, tossing and turning and having uneasy feelings about my Grandfather. Despite his insistence that she not be afraid for him, it was difficult for Grandma not to worry about my Grandfather, after all he had already survived the sinking of his first ship, and the ship he was currently serving on was in a navel battle just three days after he came aboard.

After a few hours of unrest, Grandma finally got to sleep a little past midnight. At about four in the morning Grandma again woke up with an uneasy feeling, after a couple of minutes Grandma sat up and turned on the small night light on her night stand. Grandma then glanced toward the foot of her bed and was shocked to see my Grandpa standing there.

In stunned silence Grandma just sat there, knowing that Grandpa was thousands of miles away in the South Pacific. As my Grandfather continued to stand there and smile at her with a look of contentment on his face, Grandma continued to sit there attempting to come to grips with what she was seeing. Just then Grandma decided to reach out for Grandpa and as she reached for him and called his name, he vanished.

Grandma got up and turned on the bedroom light and looked around but found no evidence that anyone had been there. Grandma then checked on the girls and found them sleeping peacefully. Before going back to bed Grandma tried to remember exactly what she had seen, through the light of her small night light she could remember that Grandpa was pale and looked much thinner than when she had last seen him.

The next day Grandma wrote my Grandfather a letter and telling him of what she had seen but before she could mail the letter, there was a knock on her door, when Grandma answered the door she received a telegram from the Navy informing her that Grandpa was suffering from malaria and had been unconscious for several days with a high fever.

Grandma sent her letter later that day and a couple of days later she received a second telegram from the Navy informing her that Grandpa's fever had broken and he would be all right. When Grandpa finally received Grandma's letter he wrote back saying that he thought he had seen her and the girls but figured it had to be the fever as he couldn't remember much of anything. Grandpa included a picture of himself in the hospital and to my Grandma's surprise he had lost about twenty pounds from the fever and looked very pale.

Grandma always felt that the fever from the malaria allowed Grandpa to "escape" and come home to see her. My best guess is that Grandpa had what we now refer to as an "Out of body experience" but in 1946 it was simply a homesick sailors strong will to go home.