Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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Lessons in Perseverance From My Dad

Today’s Just Jot Janury prompt is, “limp.”

My dad walked with a limp. It started Korea when he got shot in the leg. They put a plastic artery in his leg – very innovative for the early 1950s. Then they shipped him around to major military hospitals for doctors to view the leg work.

Once his leg healed, he hardly noticed the old injury. He continued his military career, including a tour in Vietnam, until 1969. The leg didn’t slow him down until he got older. By the time he was 70, he walked with a cane most of the time, but he kept walking.

In 1993 he was in a major car accident which broke two vertebrae in his back and put him in the hospital for several weeks, then a wheelchair for a few months. He also wore a Frankenstein looking “halo.” It looked like this:

They had a ramp built to the back door which he used while he was in the wheelchair, but a year later, he rarely used the ramp.

Both of his legs were worn out by the time he was 80. The plastic artery prevented him from getting a knee replacement. His legs hurt at night, and he heard keeping a bar of ivory soap between his sheets might help. He said it seemed to. He had a walker, but preferred to use the cane. Climbing the three front steps to the front door was like climbing a mountain, but he only used the back ramp if he had groceries. Then he’d pull the groceries up in the big laundry basket on wheels they probably got a yard sale. But most of the time, he climbed the front steps, slowly to focus on balance, one step at a time.

Now, my dad is in heaven with mom. He doesn’t walk with a limp. He flies!

This is Dad in “cardiac rehab.”
He kept going long after his quadruple bypass.
He enjoyed the comraderie. It was like a club.

In case you didn’t know, my dad inspired the title of my blog,

“Anything is possible.”

For more about Just Jot January, visit Linda Hill at:

#JusJoJan prompt the 22nd – “Limp” | (lindaghill.com)


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Feelings From My Eleven Year Old Self

Writing my family history from my parents’ perspective is emotionally hard right now. The idea that it could some day become a novel is distant. I’m writing about the time when my dad was in Vietnam and my mom was trying to cope with her anxiety and depression and what do to with the family dog. That is the gigantic issue for me. Hoppy.

Hoppy 1967

I was 11 years old. Hoppy, a Newfoundland/Shepherd mix was my confidant. We had moved from Philadelphia to Michigan to New York staying with other families while Dad was in Vietnam. That summer we would stay in Quantico until dad finally got stationed at Camp Lejeune again.

Hoppy had been with us through each move. But something happened to him that spring in New York. I don’t know the truth. My mom made up as story about a sick little girl who needed him more than I did. I believed it. I suppose it could be true. Now, at the age of 65, I wade through my dad’s letters from Vietnam with fear as I approach the possibility of more clues. Any day now, I could read a letter that tells me more about what happened to Hoppy. My parents loved each other very much. It was a terribly hard time for them. I’m trying to look at the big picture and have compassion for all. I wrote this note to myself in my work in progress:

Note to self: Step back and look at the big picture with compassion for all. Allow your feelings. The truth is you don’t know what happened You might was well imagine something good.

So I tried to imagine Hoppy being adopted by a loving family. Then the grief broke through from that 11 year old girl who was me.

I LOVED HIM.

The sobs came and I prayed for guidance, for comfort. All I can do right now is reach back across the 54 years to that eleven year old girl whose body was changing in crazy ways, whose father was in Vietnam, whose mother was on the verge of another nervous breakdown, the girl whose dog was gone – and wrap my arms around her and hold her and tell her she is going to get through this.

In 1967, that eleven year old girl learned to shut down her feelings. She focused on school work and escaped into Star Trek. But she still had that pain and confusion buried all those years ago trying to accept the story her mother told her about her dog.

I guess that’s enough writing for today.

Here’s a family photo from happier times. Probably right after Dad got back from Vietnam since he’s pretty thin.

I’m the big girl on the right wearing hushpuppies.

I wrote this before checking the prompt for Just Jot January which is “button.” I guess we never know when we’re going to bump into a button that takes us back to our childhood, for better or worse, offering an opportunity for healing.

Linda’s Just Jot January story looks interesting. Click the following link for details:

#JusJoJan prompt the 15th – “Button” | (lindaghill.com)


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Christmas Letters from Vietnam

Today is my parents’ anniversary. They were married on December 21, 1954. Now, they are together again in heaven. In memory of my parents, I’m sharing two of the many letters my dad wrote from Vietnam. They are slightly edited to remove items about other people.

Dec. 25, 1966  From the Republic of Vietnam

My Dearest Wife,

You have made my Christmas much better. I received ten letters from you and a Christmas card. I was feeling real blue til mail call and you came through like always. I also received a card from (his niece). We will get paid on the 6th of Jan. and I’ll send you a check for $250. This should help you some. We get paid once a month and from now on, I’ll be able to send you a check. I went to church twice today, first to Roman Catholic and then to protestant. I also received communion. I prayed each time as I do at night for God to give you strength, health, and happiness. I also thanked God for my wonderful wife and family. I love you with all my heart and will forever. We had turkey, corn, powdered mash potatoes, nuts, and candy today for dinner, but it tasted rotten. They did try however, and I guess I should be thankful for that.

We’ve had rain again for three days, but it stopped at 1:00 pm. The mud is about six inches deep and it’s getting cloudy again. It’s 8:00 pm (2000) and I go on watch at 10:00 to midnight. ….. Please try not to worry too much about me. I won’t be foolish, I love you too much. Please tell our wonderful children I love them and give everyone my best. Remember, I love only you and our family and live for you. May God Bless you.

All my Love, Forever Your Husband, Jim.

December 27, 1966 from Republic of Vietnam

Darling Betty Ann,

It rained all Christmas night and yesterday too. It’s been raining all day today and hard. I hope I don’t have to go any place. It’s now 2pm. We were real busy yesterday and last night so I didn’t have time to write. So for today, it hasn’t been too bad….There sure are a lot of rumors going around but nothing certain. One is that we are supposed to go back to Okinawa soon, but like I say, it’s not fact. A lot of people start rumors just in hopes they will come true. I am going to enclose envelopes  that you may be able to use again as the stamp was not cancelled.

I sure do miss you honey. We have a radio in my bunker and all I ever hear is Christmas carols. I just sit and think about you and the children. I love you my darling and always will. I know things seem unbearable, but it will all come out in the end. As long as we have our love, we can endure anything this world has to offer.  I just want you honey and no one else will do. You’ll always be my only love….. I  guess I am not worth much to you right now, but I’ll do all I can to make it up to you when I get home. Lover, I want to hold you again in my arms so bad that I could cry just to dream about you. You are the greatest and most wonderful woman God ever created, and I love you, oh how I love you, forever and ever.  Please give my best to all and tell our wonderful children I love them. May God bless you all.

All my Love, Forever Your Husband, Jim.

My favorite photo of my mom and dad – 1960 Newfoundland Canada. That’s me on the left.
Dad in Vietnam
Post retirement photo of Mom and Dad on the road with Frannie


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SoCS: Family Options, Letters from Vietnam, and a Thanksgiving Day Hike

Our Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “opt.” Use it as a word or find a word with “opt” in it and base your post on that. Have fun!

Have fun, because misery is optional.

We opted out of family Thanksgiving with extended family. It was me and David and Mama Cat who slept through dinner. (Mama Cat slept, not David and me.) We made an almost vegan dinner with stuffed acorn squash and a roasted cauliflower. David made an apple pie. There was a little butter somewhere which was not vegan and humane certified hard boiled eggs in the stuffing.

But that is not what I was going to write about. I was going to say that we always have options. But some people have fewer or more options than others. I was going to write about mask wearing options and how it annoys me when people wear a mask below their nose, but maybe they have a chronic respiratory illness….. I don’t know.

I’ve been reading my dad’s letters from Vietnam for NaNoWriMo research which has slowed considerably to a trickle, but has not stopped. And will not stop for more than a day, because I’m rolling slowly along. Gathering no moss so far.

My dad had options in Vietnam, but not many. Most were about attitude and whether to pray. Mom was having nervous breakdowns while he was there. It was an awful year, and we moved a lot that year. My dad did have the (illegal) option of deserting, or “bugging out.” But that option was so distasteful, so full of way worse consequences of shame and dishonor, that it probably felt he had no choice. He chose to make a commitment to the Marine Corps and to honor that commitment, to do his job well. But it was so hard. He had also promised my mom he would come home to her and us kids. He had orders to return fire, not knowing who might be killed. He was the only enlisted Marine (a Gunny, not an officer) in charge of a platoon in his company. He was a natural leader who would be haunted by nightmares for the rest of his life by what happened in Vietnam. I’m so proud of him and my mom who were half a world apart on Thanksgiving and Christmas when Dad was in Vietnam. They did a lot of good service work together after Dad retired.

My dad in Vietnam (1967) He lost about 40 pounds there.

I feel like I’ve spent more time lately with my deceased parents, through Dad’s letters, than other family members living outside of my household. Maybe for now, that’s okay. For now.

What happened to having fun? Fun is different now than it was when I was a kid, or a teenager, or in my twenties or thirties. Fun can be relaxing and watching a movie. Or taking a hike on Thanksgiving Day. Like this one at our neighborhood creek:

A pair of ducks
Graffiti on a drainage pipe

A pair of old hikers

For more Streams of Consciousness, rules, and maybe even some options, visit:

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Nov. 28/2020 | (lindaghill.com)


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SoCS: The Lord of the Rings and Letters from Vietnam

Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check,

but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday

deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay…

small acts of kindness and love.”

Gandalf in The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

Today’s prompt is the word, “ring,” to be used in any form and to have fun with.

Fun comes in many forms. One way I have fun is to watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit movies. Being a huge fan, I can watch these movies over and over again, especially the parts with the elves.

LOTR is about heroism, good winning over evil, sacrifice, fellowship, loyalty, natural magic, and more set in a place that allows me to escape the things I want to escape from that I will not mention. But the qualities and messages are still relevant in reality.

There’s a scene toward the end of the trilogy when Sam and Frodo are exhausted and don’t know if they will survive. They reminisce about their sweet home, The Shire. Sam imagines the goldilocks girl, barmaid he would like to marry. The reminiscing starts at 1 minute. Be sure to watch til the end when the Eagles come!

Coincidentally, but not really, I’ve been reading about all these things in my dad’s letters from Vietnam since Veterans Day.

I’m reading them for research for the novel I’m writing for NaNoWriMo. Reading the letters is slowing me down, but it needs to be done this way. So what if I don’t write 50,000 words by Nov. 30? It will be okay.

My dad’s letters show how much he adored my mother. He writes of dreaming of her constantly while asleep and while awake in Vietnam. It almost seems like he puts her on a pedestal. The dreams and images of her keep him going, keep him sane, and give him hope to stay alive to come home to her.

I watched a video about another guy talking about doing this in Vietnam, dreaming about his girlfriend kept him going, sane, alive. Let see if I can find it…. The speaker, Dr. Earhart, was a high school teacher after he got back. Toward the end of the video, at around 13 minutes, he talks about the girlfriend that had sent him a “Dear John” letter. The whole video is eye opening.

My dad’s letters mention that a lot of guys got “Dear John,” letters. Maybe that’s why he expressed so much love for my mom in his letters and always signed them,

All My Love,

Your Husband Forever,

Jim

When things are going badly, when we don’t know what’s going to happen, even when it seems like we might not make it, dreaming of a better future, imagining holding our loved ones in our arms, being with family in our homeland, these are legitimate coping skills. Valuable survival skills. And so we keep on doing those small acts of kindness and love to keep the darkness at bay whenever and wherever we might be.

For more Streams of Consciousness, rules, and such, please visit our host, Linda Hill at:


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Lonely Hearts Healed

FA8B561A-59CA-4E63-8F22-815B036DD1A4

Today’s SoCS prompt from Linda is:

“ends with -ly.” Start your post with any adverb (oops) that ends in “-ly.” Bonus points if you end with an adverb too. Have fun!

I choose lonely. It’s not that I choose to be lonely. I’m not lonely anymore. I like to be alone with the dogs, writing and puttering around the house. But I was lonely for a partner, oh, ten or so years ago. Except that I didn’t want a partner who added stress  to my life, so I waited and learned to trust the timing. I’m still learning that with other things in my life and realizing what a gift it is to have this time to work on my parents’ old house while our house gets finished and we get to paint the walls!

I’ve been reading the letters my mother wrote to my father when he was in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba after having served 13 months in Vietnam. Her letters are very enlightening and sometimes uncomfortable since they are personal. She writes about how lonely she is and how much she misses him and how she (and us girls) can’t take more separations. I’m learning about how she would find me up reading at 2 am on a school night and how my sister and I were, “sassy.” We were 10 and 12. I was a big tomboy 12 year old. I know now that most 12 year old girls are sassy.  Sorry mom.

My mom was sick a lot and so was my little sister. Mom writes about a cough that won’t go away. I’ve gotten through January and part of February 1968, and she’s still coughing to the point of exhaustion. I resented my mother being sick so much with migraines and nervous break downs when dad was in Vietnam and I was 11. These letters are giving me more compassion as I read her inner struggles of taking care of a home and two sassy girls and missing her man. It also dawned on me that the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune/Tarawa Terrace probably didn’t help her get well. There’s a big thing about that now, but I’ve read many claims have been denied. My parent’s died of “natural causes” in their eighties, but I bet that water contributed to some health problems even if it didn’t kill us.

Dad used to talk to me in his later years about Vietnam and GTMO. Awful stuff. Horrible stuff that gave him nightmares for the rest of his life. After Vietnam, he came home for three months, and then they sent him to GTMO for five months. He told me he drank a lot while in Cuba. He had PTSD before they called it that. A chaplain helped him. I wish I knew his name and could thank him if he’s still alive. Thank you anyway, Chaplain who served at GTMO and helped my dad. I think he needed this time in Cuba maybe to begin to process Vietnam – a job that would never be finished. It was so hard on my mom and him. The separations put a lot of pressure on their marriage.  ( I didn’t know this until I started reading mom’s letters.)

And yet they made it through. Their deep love and their strong faith helped them through the maze and mess of PTSD and all the other challenges life threw at them. I did know that they were very much in love. They were married for over 50 years and still got smoochy sometimes. Dad used to sing to mom, “I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.”

Love and faith and time overcome loneliness. When we are lonely, God loves us no matter what. And dogs too. 😉  I’m reminded of one of my favorite poems from Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese.”

“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination….”      Mary Oliver

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

I’ve probably shared the lonely people song at least a couple of times before on this blog, but it means a lot to me, so here it is again with different pictures.

 

 

 

 

PS: I now realize that I didn’t follow the prompt corrrectly since Linda asked for an adverb and lonely is an adjective.  Letting it be is my goal here. This is progress for a recovering rule follower/people pleaser.

To learn more or join in the stream,  visit Linda at:

https://lindaghill.com/2019/02/08/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-9-19/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. I will post the prompt here on my blog every Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The,’” or will simply be a single word to get you started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read all of them! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later or go to the previous week by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


40 Comments

Finally Understanding My Mother

Mom JoAne Mary Kaye 1967 (2)

1967

Like another lifetime

Yet the same lives,

My dad, your husband,

Is off fighting the war

In Vietnam.

Your thoughts are with him,

Wondering, is he safe?

Is he hungry?

Will he make it home?

Not wanting to think about it,

Not wanting to watch the news,

But worrying nonetheless.

My little sister wonders too

Though it looks like she’s playing

Making lines in the dirt

Like a meditation.

I stand quietly.

Thinking. Pondering.

Wondering how to help.

Maybe just standing by your side.

Is enough.

 

Now, I understand

How strong you really were.

 

This photo is one of the treasures I’ve found as I go through the things that belonged to my parents, Betty and Jim. It was taken in 1967 when my father was in Vietnam and we were visiting relatives in Connecticut. Whoever took it had a good eye for capturing the moment. It’s very different from most of the photos I find where my mother is older, posing with a smile or volunteering at church or the soup kitchen with Dad.

When I was growing up, my mother suffered from depression that caused her to be hospitalized more than once. The last nervous breakdowns came when Dad was in Vietnam. For many years I thought of my mother as weak. She was always kind, but a little fuzzy in the brain. I wanted her to be strong.

Now, I get the fuzzy brain too, like: “why did I come into this room?” Now, when I look at this photo, I feel compassion.

After Mom died in 2008, I asked my dad what helped him get through the horrors that haunted him from Vietnam – things he didn’t want to talk about because they gave him nightmares.

“It was your mother’s love,” he told me.

I always knew they loved each other very much. But I had not known this:

My mother’s love was strong enough to save the strongest man I’ve ever known.

Yesterday, I wished my mom a happy birthday.  I’m glad she and Dad are together again. Strong in faith. Strong in love.

 


21 Comments

A Well Armed Veteran

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt is “arm,” brought to you by Linda Hill. You can read all about SoCS at: https://lindaghill.com/2017/11/10/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-11-17/ 

In dress blues (2)

Early 1950’s ?

My dad was well armed. But he wasn’t in the army. He was a marine. For 20 years. He served in Korea and Vietnam and was wounded in both wars. But I’m sure it wasn’t because he was disarmed. My dad was a gunny in Vietnam. They gave him his own platoon to lead, a duty usually assigned to officers.

It’s ironic now that I have two of his guns in my house. Me, who is all into peace and even worked for peace in my younger years. When Dad died in January, his awesomely helpful neighbor secured four guns he found in my dad’s house until I could take them. There was a shotgun, a 22, a 30 caliber rifle like the one Dad used in Vietnam, and a pistol. That’s more than I ever knew about guns before I became the owner of these four.

With help from a friend who knows guns, we sold the shotgun and gave away the good rifle, and still have the 22 and the pistol. I can hardly believe we are planning to keep the pistol and take a class about how to use it. It’s only because it belonged to my father.

When I was in my early 20s, a boyfriend bought a pistol and took me to the target practice place of some kind with him. I thought I might practice shooting it. But when he fired the gun at the target, the noise was so loud, something clicked in me – fear that I had not expected. I couldn’t even bring myself to hold the gun.

But back to my dad. In my later years, I came to respect and admire him. I miss him, but know he is where he wants to be, with Mom, Jesus and the rest, singing and praising and probably doing some kind of volunteer work, cause that’s what my parents did.

Dad in raincoat at rehab (3)

Dad was well armed, but not just with guns and rifles. He was armed with courage, integrity, ingenuity, and perseverance. I could go on and on about him. But I’ll never forget the time when I was in 5th grade and got into a “fight” with a girl on the way home from school. It was right before Dad went to Vietnam. When I got home, he must have seen the tear trails on my face. I wasn’t hurt physically. It wasn’t much of a fight, but it had been scary. Dad pulled me into his lap, and held me in his recliner. I have never felt so safe and loved as that afternoon in my father’s arms.

Dad with Baby mk and me (2)

That’s me on the right and my sister on the left. 7 years before the “fight” in fifth grade.

(You can read more about my dad in my book.)

SOC winner 2017

Here are the rules of Stream of Consciousness Saturday:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


20 Comments

Tough Old Marines

Jerry's medalsThey knew each other in Vietnam. Jerry was one of four tunnel rats in a battalion of about 2000 marines. Dad’s unit didn’t have a tunnel rat, so when they needed one, they’d call up battalion to get one. Sometimes it was Jerry. He’d crawl through tunnels with a pistol in one hand and a flashlight in the other, and a rope tied to his ankles so his buddies could pull him back out. Jerry got away with cutting up on the radio, cracking jokes, and harassing everyone, even officers, because he was so valuable.

My dad was a Gunnery Sargent, but did the job of an officer, leading his own platoon through the jungle. He retired after 20 years in the corps and still has nightmares about Vietnam. Jerry stayed in a little longer and retired as a Master Sargent.

My dad and Jerry each earned three purple hearts during their military careers. Dad got his in Korea, being wounded in the legs and back.  Jerry was seriously wounded in the abdomen in Vietnam.

They weren’t close in Vietnam, but as civilians, they serendipitously ended up being neighbors. Jerry moved in across the street from us when I was in high school. The bond of having served together in hell ignited an instant friendship. Jerry and Dad (and Jerry’s wife and my mom) became  best friends.

As I grew older and listened to their stories, I came to respect my father and Jerry more. In spite of my pacifist leanings, my peace songs, and peace rallies, I grew to admire the strength and courage of these two men who I knew to be caring fathers and loving husbands. They’d both been close to death multiple times. They both had to do horrible things to stay alive. Dad didn’t talk much about Vietnam, but with Jerry around, the stories flowed easier. Jerry’s sense of humor was good therapy. I wonder if it kept him from going crazy.

When dad was in the hospital with is heart surgeries, and when mom was in the nursing home, Jerry and his wife, Joyce, always visited, even after they moved an hour away to the same city I live in. After mom died, they tried to help me convince Dad to move closer to us. But dad has been stubborn, staying in the house where he feels my mom’s presence. Because of his age and health problems, we all assumed my dad would die before Jerry. My dad is 84, but Jerry at 75, went on ahead. Jerry died unexpectedly this past Thursday, on Nov. 5.

November is a hard month. Dad’s sister, my older sister, and my mom, all died in the month of November, and now Jerry, too.

carrying the casket in

For me, Jerry’s death is hard evidence that, contrary to what I’d like to believe, even tough old marines don’t live forever. But I will always remember what my dad told me when I was twelve:

“Nothing is Impossible.”

It’s even possible for a tree-hugging pacifist to love, respect and deeply admire a couple of  tough old marines.

I am forever grateful to my father, to Jerry, and to others like them, for their years of dedicated service as soldiers and as civilians. I am increasingly amazed at my father’s character, his integrity, and his strength in adversity. His body may wear out, but his spirit will live forever. And so will Jerry’s.

 

always faithful even in the pouring rain

Always faithful – even in the pouring rain, as we said goodbye to one tough old marine.

 


5 Comments

Family History: Secrets and Light

socs-badge

We’re in Connecticut this weekend for two events. We come here every June for my mother-in-law’s birthday. She’s 80, and looks about 70. She’s doing great!

I liked her when my husband and I dated in 10th grade, and I like her now. She is gracious and has a lovely laugh. She always reminded me of Sophia Loren. I’ll see if I can find a photo for you…..

Carol Silvia

My mother-in-law in 1967

The other reason we’re here, this year, is for my father-in-law’s memorial service. My husband’s family graciously waited to schedule that when we would be here anyway for his mom’s birthday. My husband’s relationship with his father was strained. There’s not a lot of information about his father’s family. My father-in-law’s father died when he was very young. The rest of the family history is a mystery. That’s too bad.

I believe getting more information about family history can help us understand why our parents act the way they do.

We have lots of family history on my mother-in-law’s parents, Malcolm and Edna. I know that after my mother in law got divorced, her father used to bring her a bag full of change every week to help her get by. I never met them, but feel as if I know them from the stories my husband tells me.

I love to listen to my father talk about his family, growing up in Wisconsin, and sometimes about his twenty years in the Corps. My mother’s family tree is more mysterious. I never knew my maternal grandfather and heard he worked in the circus and then owned grocery stores in Washington, DC before I was born. There are secrets on that side of the family. Like there are secrets on my husband’s father’s side of the family.

Growing up, I always thought my mother was weak. I wish I had more information on her history, because I believe she lived through challenges I know nothing about. I do know she grew up during the depression and would never throw away food. In restaurants, she’d wrap leftovers in a napkin and put it in her purse. I don’t know if they had “doggie bags” back then when I was a kid.

After my mother died, talking with my father about Vietnam, which he rarely talks about, I asked him how he got through that horrible time and the nightmares after he came home.

“It was your mother’s love,” he told me. Your mother got me through it.

This new information surprised me. The love of the woman I thought of as weak was strong enough to save the strongest man I’ve ever know.

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday Post was “information.” If you’d like to join in the fun, visit:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/06/05/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-june-615/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” or “Begin with the word ‘The’.”

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments, for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. Have fun!