After reading of friend Chris Rush’s fine account in last week’s Forum, I am moved to tell of my father’s proud service to our country, many years before Chris.

Ben Corey returned from France on a stretcher in 1918 via steamship, after a rough fall, crossing the Atlantic, and eventually arriving at his home in rural North Carolina, via army hospital in Virginia. “Shell Shocked” was a term I heard numerous times in my youth. Father was met with loving care from his large family of tobacco growers in eastern North Carolina, who owned many acres of the “cash crop” tobacco. He had been deemed incompetent by the Army medics before his discharge.

With help from an older sister who was named his guardian, he busied himself with a small, country store, which suited him fine as he was a likeable and social person. Now enters my mother, Carrie Faris from Virginia, with a two-year college degree from the Teacher’s College in Farmville, Va. As it happened, she walked by my father’s store after school daily; it was not long before he offered her a piece of fruit; eventually, a marriage proposal. The rest is history, as they say.

Brother John Corey and I made up the mostly happy home, with Father leaving for periodic stays in the Veteran’s Hospital when needed, “to get a grip.” Mother, due to her education, caregiving, and loving care was our official guardian, but always deferring to Ben, the love of her life.

— Carol Coleman, Tehachapi

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