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!