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Utne | My Father: Prisoner of War

By Catherine Madison
Utne

Madison_War cover"Doc, you got a phone call.”

My father’s name was Alexander. His family called him Lexy. My mother called him Pete, a nickname that stuck after his childhood friends in Minnesota started calling each other by their fathers’ names; his father was Peter. His buddies called him Doc.

It was June 25, and my mother was calling from her childhood home in Boonsboro, Maryland. I was eight months old, and we had been staying with her parents since my father left for Yokohama on May 15. A captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, he had volunteered for a temporary duty assignment there, which paid per diem rates in addition to his regular pay. He figured he could live frugally and bank the extra to help us get out of debt.

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