Saturday, September 28, 2013

Little Man

painting by catrin welz-stein

Little Man

“Nothing is dead; men feign themselves into enduring a mock
funeral--and yet there they are standing & looking out a bright
window, sound & well, in some new disguise.”--Ralph Waldo

I have always loved the story of the 2 year old sibling
whispering in the ear of his newborn sister:
What does Jesus look like again--I forget?

Some of us, realizing that we are in lesson in this life,
embrace every shred of past memory that may bubble
up anywhere along our incarnate spectrum--although
many resist the truth of these insights secondary
to their conditioning, even rejecting the fact
that there have been thousands of young children
who recalled their past lives, with or without regressive
therapy, manifested as dreams, nightmares, comments,
and remarkable drawings--these behaviors beginning
as soon as language developed. 

Case in point, a story that aired on CBS Primetime
about a young boy, James Leiniger, who at a few months
older than a year was given a toy plane with a bomb attached
beneath it: No, Mommy, not a bomb, that is a dwop tank.

At 2.5 years old he began having terrible nightmares,
and when awakened he always said:

Plane on fire! Little Man can’t get out!
Who is the little man?
What is his name?
Your name is James, son.
No, I am James 3.
What kind of plane are you flying?
Who shot down your plane?
The Japanese!
How do you know it was the Japanese?
The meatball had a big red sun on it.
Where did your plane come from?
A boat.
What kind of boat?
One that carries planes.
What was the boat’s name?

Later the parents, after some research, discovered
that a WWII aircraft carrier, the USS Natoma Bay,
CVE-62 did serve off Iwo Jima in 1945, and that
a James Houston, a member of Squadren VC-81
was shot down & died during a battle.

At 3 years old, little James began drawing furiously,
and the pictures were all of violent plane battles.
His father bought a book about the War in the Pacific.
James pointed to a picture of Iwo Jima and said:
Daddy, that’s where my plane was shot down.

They took him to a plane museum, and he kept
trying to get closer the WWII fighters--Mustangs,
Spitfires, & Wildcats.

They would buy him toy planes, and he would always
crash them into the furniture, tearing off the propellers.

At 4 years old 20/20 did a taped story on him, taking
him to another plane museum, showing him a Corsair.
He was allowed to get close to it, and he showed
an astonishing familiarity about the plane, pointing
to the tail hook, explaining that meant it was a 
Navy fighter.

One day he told his parents that he loved them, that
they were good parents & that is why he picked them
that day in Hawaii at the pink hotel. His parents were
stunned. They had never told him about their anniversary
trip to Hawaii 5 years before, staying in a pink hotel
just six weeks before the mother found out she was 

At 5 years old he was allowed to meet the Houston
family. He knew all their names, knew that James Sr.
had been an alcoholic, recalling intimate details
of James Houston’s boyhood. The 85 year old sister
sent little James a box of her brother’s things. It
contained a model of a Corsair; sniffing it, he said:
It smells like an aircraft carrier,
and it did have a slight oder of diesel oil.

At 6 years old he was taken to a Natoma Bay
crew reunion, and he recognized many of them,
recalling their names & exploits.

At 8 years old a Japanese production company
paid to fly the family to Iwo Jima, and James
recognized the exact spot where Houston’s plane
had crashed. In tears, he stood up in the long boat,
saluted the spot, said his good-byes, and finally
let Houston go. 

I believe there is a sweetness to this tale,
a bright ray of genuine hope, glad that some
of us can accept it as truth, even though others
condemn it as delusion, as demonic fairy tale.
The truth is out there,

Glenn Buttkus

September 2013

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?


Claudia said...

this story gave me shivers... how tough must it be for the parents as well... and how tough as well for the boy until he finally manages to let go..

Brian Miller said...

wow. what a connection that little boy has...gave me a shiver as well...there is obviously something to it...kinda freaky man....

Laurie Kolp said...

Wow! This really sparks my curiosity, Glenn.

Heaven said...

What a story Glenn ~ Unbelieveable but still there is hope and closure at the end ~

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! Delighted i dropped by and read your response, insightful, profound, thank you for sharing, Kevin

Mary said...

That is truly an amazing story, Glenn.

Björn said...

What an amazing story.. And the closure he got at the end.

Anonymous said...

Poor little lad! Thanks to the parents..... Cool story

Debi Swim said...

They do say truth is stranger than fiction... it is certainly eerie.

Anonymous said...

Scary that is what!