December 23, 2010

The Journey Home

Greg's grandfather passed away today. Our hearts are so heavy. And yet we know. We know. He's home. He's healed. He's whole.

I've treasured an article written about Clarence, and his life-long sweetheart Anita. I want to share it with you . . .

Clarence Burkett still remembers the words of his Navy buddy, Bruno: "I'll introduce you to a nice girl, provided you'll be good to her."

Fair enough, Clarence thought. But the introduction would have to wait. It was 1943, World War II was raging and both men were sailors aboard the USS Pennsylvania, a battleship that had survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

The "nice girl" that Bruno had in mind was a young woman from his hometown of Renton, Wash. Anita Qualiotto was her name, and she was also friends with Bruno's girlfriend, Cleo.

Bruno provided an address. And sometime in late summer of 1943, Clarence, a country boy from Paintsville, KY, began writing to Anita, whom he had never met and knew little about.

She answered each letter.

The correspondence continued for months as he saw duty in Hawaii, on the West Coast and in the Aleutian Islands.

"We just kept writing," Anita says. "Evidently, something clicked."

Details of those thoughts have been lost to time. The letters are gone.

Clarence left the battleship after a bout of appendicitis. In January 1944, he found himself stationed in Bremerton, Washington, just across Puget Sound from Renton.

So he hopped aboard a ferry boat to visit Anita for the first time.

"It felt like we knew each other," she says, then adds with a chuckle: "Naturally he fell in love with me immediately."

"She chased me till she caught me," Clarence says. Then he admits he never went steady with anyone else.

They married in April 1944, just three months after meeting.

--Written by John Johnston for the Cincinnati Enquirer in November, 2006.

Tonight he's with my angel-baby, my first, who was due this very day, December 23, five years ago.

"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10


  1. So, so sorry to hear of your loss. Please let me know if I can do anything at all.

  2. I'm so sorry my sweet friend. Little did I realize you were in pain when I saw you at the Christmas Eve service. My uncle Marvin died at Pearl Harbor on the USS Arizona (my dad's name sake). I love you and know it is hard to loss a grandparent. I just lost my pawpaw this past June. I still miss him. Always will. To know they are at peace in the Father's arms is great comfort.

  3. oh Amanda. I am so sorry. I am blog hopping for the first time in a looong time. that is precious. i am so moved. i love you and greg. i am overwelmed with the hope of eternal life. praise Jesus!


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