Chapter XXII: Somewhere in Spain . .
SOMEWHERE IN SPAIN
IN THE EVENT OF MY DEATH, WILL THE FINDER PLEASE MAIL THIS LETTER TO MY MOTHER
I wish I could be near you to hold your hand and explain in some detail the reasons for my death. I know at this point that it has fallen upon you in a way that I wish would not have happened. I wanted to explain to you the night before I left New York that I was really going to Spain, and the reasons why. But I knew that no matter what I might have told you, it would never have made sense to you. I found that trying to explain was an impossibility. I am sorry for that.
But, you see, Mom, there are things that one must do in this life that are just a little more than living. I could never be satisfied with just going through life knowing that there are millions of people all over the world who are being stepped on and pushed around by bullies.
I can recall the first time I missed your presence at home and discovered that you were out hunting for a job scrubbing floors in order to bring home some food for the family. I knew that something was very wrong with life, but I had no idea what to do about it to make it any different. It was only when I grew up and I too had to go around begging for work to live that I realized the wrongs had to be corrected.
In Spain there are countless thousands of mothers like yourself who never had a fair shake in life. Their whole existence has been one of trying to get enough food to stay alive for another day. One day these people did something about that. They got together and elected a government that really gave some meaning to their lives and promised to make it so that the millions of mothers like you would never again have to bend their knees and beg to exist in a world that had plenty for everyone.
But it didn't work out the way the poor people expected. A group of bullies decided to crush and wipe out this wonderful thing the poor people had accomplished and drive them back to the old way of life.
That's why I went to Spain, Mom--to help these poor people win this battle so one day it would be easier for you and the mothers of the future. I am not alone. Many of the men I associated myself with have mothers who have gone through much of the same hard times and misery you suffered.
Don't let anyone mislead you, Mom, by telling you that all this had something to do with Communism. The Hitlers and Mussolinis of the world are killing Spanish people who don't know the difference between Communism and rheumatism. And it's not to set up some Communist government, either. The only thing the Communists did here was show the people how to fight and win what is rightfully theirs.
You should be proud that you have a son whose heart, soul and energy were directed toward helping the poor people of the world get back what was taken from them. When the horrible conditions of this world are eventually made right, you can look with pride at those who will be here to enjoy it and say, "My son gave his life to help make things better, and for that I am grateful."
If it will make my departure from the world of the living a little easier for you, just remember this, Mom: I love you dearly and warmly, and there was never a moment when I didn't feel that way. I was always grateful and proud that you were my mom.
I never had to have this letter mailed, although there were plenty of times when I thought I would have to.
I realized that I had not recognized my mother's understanding of what was taking place when I heard that she had joined a contingent of mothers who proudly marched up Fifth Avenue in New York City in a May Day parade. She walked behind a banner that read, "Support our sons who are fighting in the Lincoln-Washington Battalion, trying to keep Spain free."
Copyright © 1993 by Bill Bailey. All Rights Reserved.
The Kid from Hoboken: Book Two