Review — EVERY DAY SINCE DESENZANO by Patrick Logan (Thailand)

 

Every Day Since Desenzano: A Tale of Gratitude
Patrick  Logan (Thailand 1984-86)
Peace Corps Writers
150 pages
September, 2021
$9.35 (paperback), $6.99 (Kindle)

Reviewed by Donald Dirnberger (Eastern Caribbean/Antigua 1977–79)

It is not the road chosen but rather the life one lives upon the journey taken.
(An understanding of the poem by Robert Frost.)

 

Every Day Since Desenzano, A Tale Of Gratitude by fellow RPCV Patrick Logan is a book written about a father and a son living their lives through their words and their gift of giving and sharing through service to others. Learning the importance of family often takes many years, and carries each on different journeys, but in time we come to cherish those who, with gratitude, understand us, even when we did not.

In his book, Patrick Logan recounts, through his father’s, his mother’s, his family’s and his own searching and seeking, and through a journey to reconnect by understanding how words written, reminisce memories of a love held dear.

Generations of forefathers heeded the call when asked to carry the burden, and as Patrick’s father spent his days apart from his new wife, the words sent to her would in time connect in much the same way. As family, we serve one another, sharing, caring, praising, teaching, loving, and in time the roles reverse — that is how Patrick embarked upon his own voyage of self-discovery. That discovery took him, after his own service to others as a life-long teacher of language, back to his roots found in the letters sent home from his father to his mother.

Different service to others leads each to one’s own way of journeying. Some return home and there remain, serving family, friends, religion, community at peace with their choice. Others, restless from seeing the world through the eyes who came before them, embark, like a nomads, but always assured of home.

Logan uses the letters and poetry of his father, the diaries of the 88th (Blue Devils Division of the US Army) Regimental HQ, and his father’s maps of Italy, to encounter people of that country, and to re-trace, as much as possible, his father’s steps during the second World War. These are interwoven, intermingled in a moving and touching masterpiece of prose that touches the heart of all men for we are all like our father’s we do not know until much later in our lives. Many of our generation were born of our father’s who served, and came home to seek peace and solace from what they had witnessed and helped to put an end to.

But we were never quite privy to the depth until either they shared it with us, or,  in their passing, we discovered it through their diaries, letters and keepsakes. Thank you, Logan, for your taking the time to connect and then share with us his and your journeys. May your road always lead you back home, if only in your memories and your heart.

One was a father, the other a son.

Reviewer Donald E. Dirnberger (Peace Corps/Eastern Caribbean  [Antigua, West Indies] 1977-79) served as a curriculum development specialist; a CCV (Crisis Corps [now Response Volunteer]) Honduras 1999) as a project resource specialist; and continues as an AmeriCorps Volunteer, 2021-22, Habitat for Humanity – Metro Denver/new construction project leader.

3 Comments

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  • Like Father, like Daughter, too. The Peace Corps was born out of the continuing effort to work towards peace by confronting the factors which contribute to wars. So many of us who joined the early Peace Corps were raised and/or educated by the men and women who won WWII, as was the author of Every Day Since Desenzano.

    I was lucky and served with an all female group. I remember one Sunday afternoon in training when we had just returned from a hike up Sandia and a night spent in the rain, soaking wet, trying to keep our Pall Malls lit, when a staff person came running out, waving the results of our MMPIs. He said , “We don’t know what this means, but your female group has the same personality profile as the GIs of 1942″. Claudine, my training buddy and I decided, immediately, to call ourselve Sadie and Flo after the famous cartoon GIs of WWII, Willie and Joe.

    Elena, one of the members of my group, was from El Paso, Texas. Her uncle had been a member of the Texas National Guard which became part of the 36th Infantry Division. The young men who had joined the Texas National Guard, together, from El Paso, are imortalized in the book, “The Boys from the Barrio.” My father, from upstate New York, whose MOS was military government was assigned to that very division. The 36th Infantry Division was part of the large American army which was the first invasion on the European continent, landing in Anzio, Italy, in late 1943.

    The battle was brutal. Elena’s young uncle was killed. She was only two when that tragedy happened, but her family kept the memory of his bravery, alive. My Dad survived Anzio, but almost died at Monte Casino.
    Many years later, Elena went to Italy to find her uncle’s grave and honor
    him. She also visited Monte Casino and was kind enough to take pictures
    for me of that restored battle field.

    I am so proud to know Elena, a Ph.D, who works tirelesly for the civil rights of Hispanics. I am so proud to have served with the Daughters and Niece of the GIs of 1942.

    I will order the book. I appreciate so much Patrick Logan’s work.

  • Joanne,

    Warmly and well stated.

    For those in harm’s way and for those who awaited their safe return, through letters home, every day became a garden of remembrance.

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