What There Was Not To Tell

Lt. Theron G. Platt (known to us as Tom), pilot, US Air Corps, 1941.

My mother, Cpl. Dorothy Rahmann, USMC, Miramar, 1945

by Edie Clark
copyright 2002 All rights reserved.

My parents died in 1994, leaving me more than two thousand letters, written during World War II. To some extent, I knew the story of Tom but the letters allowed me to understand him within the context of that war, which I had never understood nor known much about. The name of the book comes from the fact that, whenever I asked my father to tell me about the war, he would answer, “There’s nothing much to tell.” The letters told me a great deal that my parents did not, not only about themselves but about that war and war, in general. Through reading the letters, I came to believe that my generation was deeply affected by World War II, without ever really knowing it. The silence of our fathers (and mothers) may be from unprocessed grief and the famous “generation gap” may have been a direct effect of our fathers’ service coupled with their inability to articulate what that had meant and how much (many) had been lost to accomplish what they did.

The book is in the form of an odyssey, finding not only Tom’s final (of four) resting place but also the description of his death, reconstructed from Air Corps records and memories of those who fought nearby. I use extracts of the letters to give voice to both my father and mother, as well as to Tom. These extracts are interspersed with my memories, thoughts and revelations as I make this journey into a past I never knew.

My father, Sgt. Luther Clark, US Army, North Africa, 1943

Selected Works

In 1992, the Bishop of Worcester condemned St. Joseph's Catholic Church and ordered it closed. The parishioners refused to leave, sleeping on cots and on the hard pews. For thirteen months this was their life. In July of 1993, they were removed by the police. In many ways this was the blossoming of their faith. Originally published in Yankee Magazine in November 1993.
Growing up, nothing I could do seemed to please my mother and nothing she said made sense to me. But when my mother, on the threshold of death, came to live with me, I found what seemed to have been lost forever. Originally published in Yankee Magazine, May 1995
(The follow-up article to Miracle at St. Joseph's.) The Bishop turned to them and said, "Your prayers have been answered, the hard hearts have softened." Originally published in Yankee Magazine, December 1996
A reflection on the power of cooking and friendship and the concept of family. Originally published in Yankee Magazine, November/December 2007
Memorial Day, Harrisville, New Hampshire 1995. Originally published in Yankee Magazine, May 1996
My Articles
Libraries occupy a special place in the heart of a town. Evening events at the library give a strong sense of community and make it seem like a great place to live. And in the wake of the online revolution small town libraries have found a way to not only survive but to be indispensable.
In December 2008 an epic ice storm left virtually the entire state of New Hampshire without power. The residual effects of that storm paralyzed the Monadnock Region almost through Christmas. A first person account.
In 1994, sixteen-year-old Billy Best was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease. After several treatments, he ran away to avoid chemotherapy. What happened after that may have been a miracle.
Roxanne Quimby once lived primitively in the Maine woods. Today she owns 90,000 acres of those woods, and her goal is to create a national park to preserve the landscape forever. So why do so many people wish she'd just go away?
Multi-million dollar border stations are rising along our line between US and Canada. What was once the "friendliest border" has become deadly serious.
Renowned short story writer, Andre Dubus, reflects on the accident that cost him his legs.
A trip to Poland discovers a beloved family friend
An elegy for the master of the short story.
Fall comes to The County
Thousands seek healing from this innocent, comatose child.
A complete listing of articles published since 1978
An encounter with a sick fox brings a young woman to the heart of her grief