Happy Fathers Day!

 

Sergeant Carl Peterson, Eleventh Armored Division, United States Third Army
(painted in Gmunden, Austria, on the banks of the Traunsee, by Theodor Detter in roughly May 1945)

 

I never knew my grandfathers.  Both had been dead for several years by the time I was born.  My grandmothers were both gone before I was six.  Of all my aunts and uncles, only two remain.  My parents are both dead now.  I had only one (half-) brother, and he’s now been gone for more than a year.  My mother-in-law passed away on 6 April of this year.  “Sometimes,” in the words of the old spiritual, “I feel like a fatherless child.”

 

A word of unsought-for advice directed to those who still have living grandparents and/or parents:  Treasure them.  Spend time with them.  If possible, record them.  You may think you already know a lot about their biographies, and perhaps you do.  But, when they’re no longer available, you’ll realize that there are large gaps in what you know about them, and that the chronological sequence is unclear.  You’ll be going through photographs of people who were clearly important to your parents, but you won’t know who they are, because the photos are unlabeled.  (Take care of that now, if you have the chance.)  You’ll think of a host of questions you want to ask them, but they won’t be there to answer.  If you can, encourage them to write their own life stories.

 

Let them know that you love them.  (If necessary, try to love them.  At least, try to understand them.)

 

Don’t assume that you have lots and lots of time.  You might.  You might not.  But things happen.  Sometimes suddenly.  And, even if there’s a gradual decline,  when bodies begin to give out and memories begin to cloud it will be too late for many things that you intended to do.  Do them now.

 

I wish everyone out there a very happy Fathers Day.

 

 

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  • Scott Clark

    Happy Father’s day to you, Brother Peterson.

  • joe e.

    great advice, like u most of mine are passed other than siblings and being the youngest of 4 i have the luxury of their memories also. wish i would have thought about recording my parents? Happy Father’s Day!

  • RaymondSwenson

    One positive thing is that information can sometimes be found on the internet preserved by institutions and organizations. A few months ago I discovered that my wife’s uncle, who had died in a plane crash in the Alps during postwar service with the US Army Air Corps, had also served aboard a B-17 bomber in some of the last attacks over Germany, and had also helped drop emergency food to starving Dutch civilians immediately after VE Day.

    • joe e.

      wow Raymond, that’s great you could find such! i looked a few years ago while my Father was still living as he was on a LST from Pittsburg, Pa to Subic Bay and many other South Pacific ports in between. looking for info on his LST’s number, what i found said it never left the states for mechanical reasons? it was the 1058. his Father was run over by a tractor and the Red Cross got my Father home. Daddy said by the time he got home, they had finished the potatoes & his Dad was ok. he caught flights from the Philippines to San Fran, and then a troop train across the USA back into Camp Bradford, Norfolk, Va. he said that troop train was something else! cup of water in the morning to brush teeth and no bathing entire trip! can’t imagine being 19 and thrown into such a circumstance as so many have been in this country? what a debt so many of us owe our veterans, un-comprehendible!!!!


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