Thursday, November 11, 2010


The years between 18 and 21 were probably the best, most fun years of my life.
As my mother said to me, "College was the most expensive good time you'll ever have!"
I think about this as I look at this picture of my father when he was that age. When I was 18, my biggest problem was planning how to sneak a keg past Sr. Elizabeth while she stood guard at the front desk of Baldwin Hall. While my father at that age was loading bombs and unloading dead bodies onto planes in Africa and Italy. He was a baby for cryin' out loud.
I'm thinking he paid a much steeper price during his college years.
So when he should have been whooping it up, he was seeing what he prayed his kids and grandkids would never have to see. Hell, he was praying that he even lived to see kids and grandkids.
And while I was saying my tearful summer good bye's to Judo and Keto. He had to say permanent good byes to childhood friends and neighbors like the Owens and Stutzman boys.
I can't imagine. I really can't.
I am forever grateful to him and the millions of other servicemen who gave up the best years of their lives so that nuts like me could whoop it up!!!!!!!

* Here is a story of the day my father came home from WWII

* Here is a story about my Uncle who barely survived the war.

*St. Mary's Church in Lawrenceville lost the most parishioners in the diocese during WWII. The Stutzman boy was a friend of my fathers. He was a little older than my dad. He was shot down on Christmas Eve over Italy in 1942. Every year Christmas Eve mass was said in his honor. (Until they closed the church five years ago) He worked for the Pirates before the war. He let my father and other neighborhood kids be bat boys. It was something my father talked about for the rest of his life. This man did something in his short life that made life long memories for a bunch of poor kids from the hood!


Judi said...

You're messing with my mascara girl!
Thank you for this....I can't wait to share it with my dad. I'm sure he will know more stories to add to it.
Many times I wondered what my father felt like that day he got on the train and left his family at the station. He often said that his father didn't look at him as they said goodbye and he always felt bad about that. He told me about hearing all the other "boys" crying the first night in the barracks but he said he didn't cry...he said he couldn't see crying as making anything better. He said that if he thought crying would get him home, he would have cried harder than anyone. But, since it did no good--he just said his prayers and did his rosary. Leave it to my father! He probably went out and got stinking drunk the next night!
And, you know, I wondered what it felt like for my grandmother saying good bye to her son. I can't imagine. It was so hard back then--wasn't it? There was so much about their lives that today feel as though we could never endure. And, to think what we hear ourselves bitch about!
Once again---we may have to wait for you to blog but when you do--it's powerful and magnificent!

Eileen, Founder, Organizer, Mayor and Chief Cook And Bottle Washer of the Anger Management Girls. said...

The only thing my dad ever told us was that the night before he left, his parish priest, Fr. Gerhing took him and his best friends Ray Noone and Eddie Stack out to dinner. (I think they all left on the same day)
He wonders why he went ahead of his brother and cousin who were older than him. They eventually went, but he was the first in the family to go.
It is amazing what they went through as boys isn't it?
As I said before, my kids at that age wouldn't have been able to get themselves home from Oakland let along half way around the world. You father sounds like such a character!!