The “back story” to the poem “Teardrops On The Wall” dates back to the mid to late 60’s and our participation in the Vietnam Conflict or War whichever you choose to call or recall it.
Writing has been a passion to me and early in my youth I dreamed of being a writer or journalist. I had a couple of poems published in the early 60’s in both the “Friendship Volunteer”, where coincidently I volunteered, and in the Olean Times Herald. Indirectly, the Vietnam Conflict interrupted my dream of being a writer, as I chose to enlist in the US Navy, where I served from 1963 until 1966. Fortunately for me I had fallen in love with my soon to be wife, and took my discharge; took a job, to start our lives, and writing soon became a hobby and inspiration, instead of a vocation.
My “path taken” led me away from the path chosen by or for others that led them to Vietnam. Many people were called, or went, not by their choice, to a place few had ever heard of. Three people, all of whom touched my life in different ways, come to mind as the poem was written, and as I write this, my first endeavor at sharing my words with the public in a new way.
Robert (Bob) Hunter passed away in November, 2002. Roland (Rolly) Miles was taken in May of 2015. Thomas (Tom) Geyer was the last of these acquaintances to depart this earth in July of 2018. All three of these were affected by the Vietnam Conflict, and the result of their passing was indirect or circumstantial, but nonetheless tragic.
In the summer of 2016 the Moving Wall made a visit to Hornell, NY. As a member of the Genesee Valley Chorus at the time, I sang with the rest of the group as part of the ceremony honoring the veterans whose names were inscribed “on the wall”. A brief thunderstorm moved through the area dropping a deluge of rain. In its passing it left in its wake bright sunshine, and rain drops. As I gazed at the wall, and seeing “Bob” Hunter’s name, I also took notice of the raindrops. Those raindrops seemed to me to be “Teardrops On The Wall”.
Chuck Wiser, May 26, 2021