Albert Schaffran, Staff Sergeant
Finding of Death, Christmas Day, 1945
Acorns grew everywhere out of the lawn, huge oaks over-spreading. My Lil wanted to live there, under her grandmother’s roof. She recognized the mantle, a black glass block three inches thick, six feet long. Hidden in the wall behind it I found a folded notebook, pitted with coal dust, penciled in a child’s hand, Boomie’s Diary. She never knew Boomie, her grandmother’s brother.
He refused a date they made for him.
He never attended his prom.
He died overseas after the war.
He was strange.
I found him for her. A Missing Airplane Crash Report showed him penciled into the crew list on Christmas, 1944. The pilot was Marion Unruh, Commander of the Fifth Bombardment Group, taken prisoner to Japan and returned to a good life at the end of the war with a rifle surrendered by the prison commander.
Nine others made it to shore but died there. Boomie never made it out of the plane; he was listed, missing. By Public Law four-ninety, his death certificate was dated a year later. It was strange though, why they were never told, and why they never asked.
Don Krieger is a biomedical researcher whose focus is the electric activity within the brain. His full-length collection, “Discovery,” is forthcoming from Cyberwit. He is a 2020 Creative Nonfiction Fellow. His work has appeared in Neurology, Live Mag!, Seneca Review, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Asahi Shimbun, Entropy, and others.