Hello, All. Hope you had a great Halloween. Today, November 1st, 2010, is a monumental day for me. It is the one year anniversary since I moved in with my glorious roommate, a woman I now consider the sister I always wished I had. She's wonderful. It is also the 67th anniversary of my beloved Charles the Man's landing on the island of Bougainville in the Pacific in World War II.
Charlie was a Marine in the Third Marine Division. He was twenty years old when he landed on Bougainville. Raised a poor tenant farm boy during the Depression, Charlie "Bud" Dodd enlisted in the summer after Pearl Harbor. He was wounded by a grenade on Bougainville but stayed on the island to fight. He suffered through dysentery, dengue "bone breaker" fever and intestinal malaria for the fifty-five days he was on the island, every one of which was almost constant fighting. He went on to fight on Guam and Iwo Jima.
I first met Charlie when he began dating my mother after her divorce from Dad. He was kind, funny, clever and a voracious reader. They were together for twenty-six years, he in his house, her in hers, and it worked. He went to sleep one night in 2006 and simply never woke up. When I called one of his old war buddies to tell him, a man who'd been ill and frail for years, his reaction was, "That goddamn Dodd! I wanna go that way!" And he did, less than a week later.
I have been researching the Pacific theater of World War II for over a decade. I interviewed Charlie every time I went home, which was only once or twice a year, and I have hundreds of hours of transcribed tapes detailing his experiences in the war. Two weeks after we finished our last Iwo Jima interview, he died. We began the whole project as a possible future book but so much information has been amassed, I am splitting it into a trilogy: one book for every island he was on.
With all the different talents I have, writing is my favorite. It touches something in me on a different level than any other medium I work with, although I love them all. FREAK is coming out soon and reminiscing about my crazy life has made me nostalgic for certain dates. Today is one of them. So I write this as a tribute to the greatest man I've ever known and will probably ever know. Charles the Man. May I do his story justice when I put it down on paper. He is an important part of my memoir and an enormously important person in my life. I am very lucky to have known him at all. Thank you, Charlie, for all that shit you went through back then. Miss you.