• Dadwagon on Facebook
  • Dadwagon on Twitter
  • Dadwagon RSS feed

What Almost Made Me Cry Today: Bedrooms of the War Dead

March 22nd, 2010  |  by  |  Published in What Almost Made Me Cry Today

Yes, it’s an easy tearjerker, and the most cynical among us would say that it was conceived that way. But in “The Shrine Down the Hall, this weekend’s Times Magazine feature on the bedrooms left behind by kids who went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, had me from the first photo. What we see, in Ashley Gilbertson’s pictures, are bedrooms neatly maintained by parents whose children are never coming back. A lot of the kids are 19, 20, 21, and even though you know that means they’re young, it doesn’t hit you until you see the stuffed animals and bedsheets printed with NASCAR insignia. Some of them were in the sixth or seventh grade when this war started. My son’s first year has gone by in the blink of an eye; I’m sure a lot of these parents would say the same thing about their children’s lives, now cut short. Even if you believe (or once believed) that this war is necessary, it is a story that gives you permission to say “this has to end, and end soon.”

As an editor, I’d make only one criticism of the story. The photos are in black and white, which is stark but also makes them more arty and formal, sapping some of their humanity and poignancy. I craved the chance to see these rooms in color, to bring out the Americana: the faded colors of a cheap quilt that’s been laundered a hundred times, the tacky-in-a-good-way faux gold on those junior-varsity trophies. If anything could give these photos more power, it might have been that literal vividness.


Leave a Response

tips/suggestions/grievances

Recent Comments

  • Dee: As one of the impressed moms there last night, and also because my kid ate 3 bowls of that bolognese, thanks for...
  • Drew Wallner via Facebook: I’m totally making this when we get back from holiday travel, I even just got a...
  • Matt: Whoops! Just put that back in. The recipe editor has been fired.
  • Ed Lilly: Looks great – thanks for posting! One question – you did not specify putting the meat back into...
  • Maks: I’m against baby yoga for sure, but want to say something regarding that author is a little wild about...

DadWagon Reads!

DadWagon

"When we met my dad at Starbucks he said I couldn’t play with his laptop but I forgot. He also said don’t fool around with his phone but I think I FaceTimed Australia. My dad sighed and published a short piece on Medium about the challenges of raising kids in the digital age."

Alexander and the V Bad, FML Day

newyorker.com

There was quinoa for dinner and I hate quinoa.

Mar 14th 2:07pm • No Comments

Knock knock.

Who's there?

The interrupting toddler.

The interr—

BBC Radio 1

THIS. IS. AMAZING. 😂

When your Dad is live on BBC News but you just can't wait...

(Via Newsbeat)

Mar 10th 4:06pm • No Comments

"They’re both making noise—sometimes a lot. They’re kids, so they do that. It looks like you’re on a date. Are you on a date? He looks like a nice guy."

Why I Sometimes Nix The Sitter And Drag My Kids To Grown-Up Stuff

rodalesorganiclife.com

Really, it’s good for them—and kind of good for everyone else, too.

Jan 25th 11:50pm • No Comments