Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Dad

On May 13, 1997, a little over 3 weeks after losing my Mom, I lost my Dad.  We had a tough couple of years after he was diagnosed with cancer.  He had always insisted on being the caregiver for Mom. 


Dad had a terrible childhood.  He lost his mother when he was 5.  His father was a decorated veteran of World War I, that became an alcoholic.  He and his younger sister were raised by his aunt and uncle, who had children of their own.  Times were hard and he didn't feel loved, or nurtured, mostly just a burden.

He dropped out of school at 16, lied about his age, joined the Army and shipped off to Europe.  While there, he was blown up by a mine and was listed as missing in action, presumed dead.  Ended up in hospital, wounded from the explosion and carried shrapnel and scars, but told amazing stories of how they put maggots on his wounds, to eat away the dead flesh.  He was awarded a Purple Heart.

After being discharged, he came home, finished school and went to business college.  He used to tell stories of having a pet groundhog and taking it all over town with him, even to the ice cream parlor where he met my Mom.  I seem to recall him saying the groundhog hibernated too close to a train track and when trying to rouse, was run over and killed.

When a group of friends heard about possible employment opportunities at the Paper Mill in Texas, he agreed to drive them, since he had a car.  During this time, he was hired to work, and my Mom was hired as well, based on her work reputation.  He swore he would never move back to North Carolina, and though he visited regularly, he left his troubled past behind, refused to look back and barely spoke of it.

There is so much I don't know about this intelligent man and now the opportunity is gone.  We truly believe he lasted long enough to see that his wife, my Mom, was taken care of, so he could leave nothing unfinished. 
                              far right... what a baby face

I miss you, Dad.  You would love your great granddaughters, they are something else! 

28 comments:

Karen said...

Love these photos, great tribute to your Dad. Your parents sure had their share of tough times, and yet they were resilient. You inherited this from them...

TechnoBabe said...

Your dad was certainly a survivor. I love the way you speak so gently and lovingly of him. The photos show a personality full of spirit and fun. There must be lots of his traits in you and in your children and grandchildren too.

Rebekah said...

He sounds like an incredible man. It's amazing to me how that generation learned from their past and then soldiered on to become someone great. It's a shame that my generation and the next have only turned their hardships into excuses. I'm so sorry that you lost them both so close together and I wish your granddaughters could have known him.

Hartwood Roses said...

What wonderful photos!! It's great to peek into our parents' lives through photos like these. The one with the motorcycle is my favorite (motorhead here speaking).
Connie

gregj said...

A lovely tribute, Ms.A. A wonderful man.

Bossy Betty said...

Your dad was an incredible man to go through all he did and then to become a caretaker to your mom. What a life.... Thank you so much for writing this. I enjoyed reading it so much.

Joe Cap said...

I am also sorry you lost both your parents so close together...but at least neither one of them had to be without the other for much...

Ashley King said...

wow! i know the feeling of feeling like there are so many stories left untold.... my dad lost his father in his early teens, and started smoking and drinking at about 12.... joined the marines, fought in vietnam and was awarded a purple heart when he ran out to rescue his lieutenant who was shot, and during the attempted rescue, my father was shot in the back of the leg also.

i love your stories. i do. you've got some great stories and memories in your brain, i know you do.... i hope you continue to find time to share them with us!! =)

hope you have some peace about all of this now.

Ms. Anthropy said...

TechnoBabe, I have more of his traits than I'm willing to admit. My oldest son has even more!

Rebekah, I couldn't agree with you more.

DrSoosie said...

It is funny how much we know about our mom's history and not so much about our dad's. I think as women we talk a lot more and express better. It sounds like there is a book in there somewhere with the lives of both your mom and dad. How hard and sad for you that you lost both your parents at the same time. My heart goes out to you.

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

What a great looking guy inside and out. I love it that it happened 3 weeks after - that is true love.

baygirl32 said...

Thanks for sharing the picture, its a lovely tribute.

Ms. Anthropy said...

Baygirl, You're welcome!

Jimmy said...

Love the old pictures and the story that goes with them, there was obviously a lot of Love shared between your parents and making it all work through the hard times just proves this point.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

VKT said...

You had two amazing parents that you loved dearly Ms. A! What a wonderful tribute to your Dad this post is. I am so sorry he left such painful memories behind in my home state. What a handsome fellow he was. Bet the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!

Copyboy said...

Wow, just seeing those pics gives me a glimpse in to your dad's world. He does look like a strong determined person. And reading is war exploits shows me just how brave he was. Sounds like a great soul to be part of.

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

It's clear that your parents had so much integrity, which you've obviously inherited. It is beyond sad what they were faced with in their short lives, and what your family had to survive with losing both of them so early. You have a wonderful way of bringing them to life for us all through your posts. It is a blessing.
Hugs and appreciation.
xoRobyn

blueviolet said...

There's always such a desire to know more, but what you do know is really quite fascinating. I'm so glad you chose to share this.

Deborah said...

I love how you are leaving these writings for your family.

Your mom and dad are proud I'm thinking.

Neil and Susan Brown said...

Hold those memories close as it's all we have. Your parents had so much strength! It if very difficult not having our parents with us now. But you know,,,, I think they are just looking over our shoulders. Lovely tribute Ms. A!! Cheers, Susan & Neil :)

Ms. Anthropy said...

Neil and Susan, I just wish I would have written things down BEFORE the brain cells left. Thanks!

PS: I hope you're right!

Michelle Pixie said...

He sounds like an amazing man! What an awesome love story between your parents. Cancer Sucks!

DeanO said...

That is a wonderful tribute to your Father. I know of several men who lied about their age to get into the army. I love the old Motor Cycle - great pictures and thanks for sharing.

Ms. Anthropy said...

Thanks, DeanO. He had to get that lie taken care of, before he passed away. (The motorcycle pic is my favorite)

Ally said...

Awww Ms. A this is so beautiful. Your dad was so awesome. Your last line really tugged on my heart. Loss is so difficult for me to deal with. I dread the day I have to feel your pain and say goodbye to my parents :( hugs to you. I'm so sad right now, and I know that wasn't the point of your post, but I'm just being honest.

Bendigo said...

Very touching tribute to a man who obviously was a huge impact on you in a number of ways...I can learn something from you here. I ask my dad questions about his childhood all the time, and mom too for that matter. I want to be able to tell the kids as much as possible..Thanks for sharing your dad with us....He sounds like a truly great man..

Momma Fargo said...

Your father sounds like an amazing man! Memories are great and what a nice tribute to him. Cancer sucks...for sure. My dad had it, too. Your pics are awesome and great for the grandchildren!

Marla said...

This is such a beautiful and touching tribute to your dad. Well done, Granny! The photos are amazing.