Photograph Packet #11: The Wake of WarThe war was over, and Morgan Blake was sitting in Elizabeth Anderson’s living room. During the months since the war had officially ended, a steady stream of men had been flowing back into the country, most of them eager to plant themselves permanently back into the home soil from which they had been uprooted. Morgan seemed intent on planting himself permanently into the foundation of Elizabeth’s parents’ house. He had been formally, honorably, discharged on February 22, 1946, and he had wasted no time in getting back to Atlanta and less time informing Elizabeth that he wanted to marry her.
Elizabeth had been shocked. She had always thought of Morgan as more of a little brother. But the boy she had known had come back a man. The exoticism of foreign ports and questionable adventures clung to him. Elizabeth had remained an innocent, and Morgan had become a toughened citizen of the harsh world. He smelled of cigarettes and coffee and maleness.
Not that Elizabeth hadn’t fought battles of her own. Twice she had believed that she was in love and had come close to marrying the objects of her fantasies, only to have her dreams dissipate into nothingness. More significantly, she, like the Allied Forces, had looked death and disaster in the face and emerged victorious. Having contracted polio from a patient while training to be a nurse, Elizabeth had bravely fought against the formidable foes of ghastly illness and pain, only to confront the nauseating fear–once the uncertainty of her very survival had passed–that she may never walk again, probably never marry or have a lover or children. . . . But now Elizabeth was walking, she had no deformity, and Morgan Blake wanted to marry her.