Saturday, August 16, 2008

Weird things n'@


Some things are just too weird, ya know. I mean weird in a seance, oohhh kind of way.
This weekend I am down here in our nation's capital, Washington, DC. I drove down here yesterday with my father to attend a family wedding. I won't mention the drive down because that is a whole other blog post. I am not going to mention how my father is HARD OF HEARING, I SAID HARD OF HEARING and feels he has to watch over every lane switch on I70. No, I'm not going to mention that. That's a whole other story. I am not even going to mention my throat hurts from having to talk so loud for six hours straight. No, I won't mention that.

Let me start by saying I wasn't going to come to this wedding. I was torn between two events. Tonight is also my brother and sister in law's 25th wedding anniversary. So when I received both invitations. I just assumed I better attend the brother in law's thing because the Italians would never talk to me again.

After discussing my dilemma with many friends and family. I changed my mind.

First my father is 84 years old and I could not let him drive down here by himself, which he would have insisted on doing.

Second, as I said, my father is 84 years old. How many more road trips do we have left together?

Third, who really has 25 wedding anniversary parties anymore anyhow?

Forth, after thinking about it, when Dan was alive, he couldn't attend alot of family functions because he basically worked 7 days a week. So I had to go alone with the kids most of the time and apologize for his absence.

I don't have to do that anymore.
I don't have to feel guilty anymore. I attend the things I want to and don't go to the things I don't.

One exception is anything related to Aunt Ro. No, as I've learned from marrying into an Italian family, if the matriarch invites you to anything, if your not "laid out" at Zalewski's, you have to go. No excuse. Period.

But that isn't the point of the story. I hate when I do this. I spend half the post on irrelevant facts.

So last night, after a night in Georgetown, we took my cousin(#2)back to their hotel. We get to talking and they mention they have never been to WWII memorial. So I'm all like, hey, let's go. Now is the best time to go. It's 1 AM. The monuments are most beautiful at night and there are no crowds.

So into my car we go. Off on our quest to find the WWII memorial.

After a series of illegal u-turns and illegal lefts.And a bunch of are we crossing the Potomac again. We find it.
It was so beautiful.

I think WWII vets are one of two schools. One group join veterans groups, march in parades and talk about the war freely. The other never, ever mention it.

The second is the group my father was in.
I have heard my fathers story of coming home from the war a few times. Never as a child but as an adult after asking him. Cousin #2 never did.

So he started telling us the story.

He talked about how he was on his way to the Pacific and they turned the plane around mid-trip because they had decided to drop the bomb on Japan. They were no longer needed. Two nuclear bombs had been dropped with the intention to keep dropping until Japan surrendered.

They landed in Miami where he jumped on a train to Pittsburgh.

To make a long story short, he was pulling into Penn Station in downtown Pittsburgh as Japan surrendered.

He said it was just like the movies. People were everywhere.

When he arrived at his house, no one was home. So he went to a neighbors.

My grandmother was at church with her remaining kids. When church let out. Someone said to her "Margaret, I think your Buddy is home, I just saw him in front of your house."

My grandmother took her Polio mangled legs and ran for the first time in her life up 45th street, dragging four little kids with her.After hugging him she said "lets go". He said "where?" She said, "back to church, I have two more sons that need to get home."

The weirdness of all of this is that they were in church for two reasons. One, to pray that her three boys would get home safely from the war. And the second reason was that it was the feast of the Assumption. August 15. A holy day of obligation.

When my dad was telling cousin #2 this story, I realized that the date we were all there, yesterday, was August 15. Feast of the Assumption.

He stopped and thought for a minute. Asked me if it was really August 15. I assured him it was.

63 years to the day, he made it home from WWII and we just happened to be standing in front of the Pennsylvania section of the WWII Memorial.

That alone, was worth more than any 25th wedding anniversary.

As Harriet would say,"Oh well, their mad, they'll get glad again."

I have a bunch of other stories from the trip that I'm sure you'll hear about Thursday!
Do we want to attempt to go the the Ballet at Hartwood tomorrow?
We had such a great time last year.(And we didn't even get asked to leave!)
We will be leaving from Shadyside no later than 6:45.

By the way, the picture above of the stars are from a section of the WWII memorial. There are 4000 starts representing 400,000 lost lives.

3 comments:

Gerry said...

Eileen,
I am Judi's friend Gerry. She referred me to you blog. What a great and interesting story..Weird things n'@. Your dad reminds me of my dad. He would have been 84 and was in WWII too.

Gerry

Judi said...

I have goose-bumps...right here, right now...sitting at my desk (when I should be working). And, I'm *this* close to tearing up. Big mascara problem if I do so I'm holding back....
So, a few things...
-First of all...to answer your question...where do I get all my energy? Here's a tip--get an energy shot in your shaken tea. Whoa baby!
-Good call on choosing the wedding over the anniversary. These Italians will have another grand obligatory event with a cookie table soon enough. A trip with your dad trumped it 100 times over....it's precious. Yeah, I know, sometimes it's tough to uncover the preciousness from the pain-in-the-assness but it's always there. And, moments like you had do not happen at 25th Anniversaries. What's with a 25th Anniversary Party anyway? Well, that's just too Italian for me too. Go out to dinner, buy some champagne, have sex and be done with it. What's with the hall and the favors and the 90 relatives? Okay, okay... I get it because I live it.
-I'm guessing that within a few hours of your dad telling his WWII story, my dad was telling me his (which I've heard 200 times!). Right hand up to God. He was telling me about the first night he was shipped out and hearing all the other boys crying. He told me this because I was sad after seeing the tears in Vince's eyes when he was saying good bye to his Pap-pap and I was worried about the big scene that was to come when we all said good bye up at Penn State. My dad said "Judi, everybody needs to cry." Not sure if it was a directive or just an observation. But he was right in either case.
-Yes, the memorial is most beautiful at night. Kate turned me on to that! When the boys were little (Vince & Kate's Jimmy), we all went to DC. Kate & I dragged the kids out in the wee hours to see it.
-OMG Assumption! So, on Friday, I was taking my morning walk and walked past the church. The doors were wide open and people were strolling in. All of a sudden, I remembered....shit it's Assumption. My dad had been telling me this all week (I tuned him out). When I got home, I called him and told him there was no way we could get to mass that day. His response: "find a way." Which I did.
-I'm happy to know that I played some part in making a shitfuck day a little less shitfuck. Days that we can't go on are just God's way of testing our sense of humor....trust me.
Great, great post!!!
Judi

Eileen, The Mayor, or Francine, depending on my mood and night of the week. said...

Gerri,
Welcome. Just remember, my bite is worse than my bark. Alot of things I just say for effect to be funny and don't really mean to be nasty!
Also I appologize in advance for the terrible grammar.
If I told my dad that your dad was in WWII, he would ask me what his name was. He might know him. He thinks he knew all million people in the war!

Judi,
I love the "Shit, it's the Assumption part of your comment.