3

For My Dad, On Veteran’s Day

Here are some photos of my dad from an earlier post I did on my family history.

I find this photo particularly poignant.  I managed to date it to Dec. 25, 1942 from the headline on the newspaper my Dad is reading.  He would be going into the Coast Guard soon to serve during WWII.  He had the opportunity to get a job at a factory that supplied the war effort and essentially sit out the war safely at home, but he wouldn't do it.  He didn't feel he could face his children if he didn't "do his part."  My Mother (on the right) is about 2 or 3 months pregnant with my older brother.  My Grandmother is on the left, lost in thought.  To me, this scene reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting.

I find this photo particularly poignant. I managed to date it to Dec. 25, 1942 from the headline on the newspaper my Dad is reading. He would be going into the Coast Guard soon to serve during WWII. He had the opportunity to get a job at a factory that supplied the war effort and essentially sit out the war safely at home, but he wouldn’t do it. He didn’t feel he could face his children if he didn’t “do his part.” My Mother (on the right) is about 2 or 3 months pregnant with my older brother. My Grandmother is on the left, lost in thought. To me, this scene reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting.

 

My mother found her own hunky dude in the form of my father, Jack, seen here on his Coast Guard ship during WWII.  His ancestors came to this country from the Alsace region of France, probably in the early 1700's.  (That region typically veered back and forth between the control of France and Germany until finally coming under French rule in recent times.)  My Dad's relative during the Revolutionary War provided meat to the troops, so we qualify for membership in the DAR for that "patriotic assistance."  They say an army travels on its stomach....

My mother found her own hunky dude in the form of my father, Jack, seen here on his Coast Guard ship during WWII. His ancestors came to this country from the Alsace region of France, probably in the early 1700’s. (That region typically veered back and forth between the control of France and Germany until finally coming under French rule in recent times.) My Dad’s relative during the Revolutionary War provided meat to the troops, so we qualify for membership in the DAR for that “patriotic assistance.” They say an army travels on its stomach….

 

Jack Coast Guard

When I was a kid, my Dad would let us play with the semaphore flags he had brought back from the war. Sometimes he would demonstrate how to send certain messages and occasionally, with a mischievous gleam in his eye, he would spell out words that we knew had to be “naughty,” but we didn’t know what they were. My mother would just say, “Oh, Jack!” and laugh along with us.

 

My parents' union was "blessed" first with the arrival of my brother, Tim, in 1943 and then with me in 1947.  Get a load of the noggin on that baby!

My parents’ union was “blessed” first with the arrival of my brother, Tim, in 1943 and then with me in 1947. Get a load of the noggin on that baby!

Dad passed away in 1998 at the age of 82.  His generation had to deal with the Great Depression and WWII.  They had a job to do and they stepped up and did it.  Many never returned to their families.  We were among the lucky ones.  Thanks, Dad.

4

Eh? Whadidya say?

For all of you who have read my posts that poke a bit of fun at my 90 year-old mother and her hearing, I want to say that karma has a way of biting one on the butt sometimes.

I know that my hearing isn’t what it used to be, mainly because of the constant ringing in both ears that I attribute to the Lipitor I took for several years before kicking that habit cold turkey.  (See my artist trading card “I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.”)

But lately I’ve noticed that I have to ask people to repeat what they’ve just said and find myself indulging in more lip reading than I care to admit. 

I took a course in American Sign Language about twenty years ago and am tempted to teach it to my husband so I can converse with him while he’s driving.  He has hearing loss from his stint in the Coast Guard where they repeatedly fired off 40 millimeter cannons next to his right ear. When the driver’s side window is down even a little he can’t make out what I’m saying and I can’t hear him because of the whine in my left ear. 

A match made in heaven?

Anyway, the other night while watching the Olympics I had what might be called an epiphany, or at the very least an appreciation of what my mother is experiencing and what I have to look forward to.

I wasn’t really interested in what I was nominally watching.  I think it might have been the compulsory dance in ice dancing, where all the couples do a routine to the same mind-numbing tune—over, and over, and over.  So I was “multi-tasking” by reading a magazine at the same time. 

“Multi-tasking” for me means doing several things at once very badly.

I remember the channel went to commercial break for a car dealership.  I was paging through the magazine and wondering why Jennifer Aniston was on the cover of Architectural Digest instead of a photo of her house.  (Jennifer Aniston is on the cover of every magazine, it seems.  We’ll know she’s taken over the world when she turns up on the cover of AARP’s Modern Maturity.)

Then, I swear I heard the announcer say:

“….and zero percent APR for all qualified lesbians.”

What the hell?  I know a lot of corporations are targeting the gay and lesbian communities with special cruise packages and hotel deals, but a car dealership?

Then, to my chagrin, I reasoned that what I thought I heard as lesbian was in reality probably leases, leasees or something along those lines.  My ears didn’t pick up on the complete sound of the word so my brain decided to take over and just fill in the blanks a bit.  Helping me out, don’t ya know. 

I had to laugh about what I thought I’d heard, but it gave me pause.  What else have I been assuming I heard and understood, but didn’t? 

Move over, Mother, and hand me that ear trumpet, will ya?