Saturday, June 14, 2008

Father's Day 1952

The last time I saw my father was in 1952. I don't know the exact date, but for me it will remain Father's Day for the rest of my life. My father had been gone from the home for some time and on this particular day he had returned to visit my brother and I. I recall sitting at his feet as he played with my younger brother on his lap. He was dressed in the fashion of the day, cowboy boots, leather jacket, white tee shirt and levis. He was my hero, the under current of confict between him and my mother was never revealed to our young eyes. When it became time for him to leave we followed him to the sidewalk and watched as he walked into the distance and out of our lives forever. I suffered his loss, almost every day I would stand looking down the street waiting to see him reappear. I was told by my mother, not wanting me to know the truth, that he had gone off to fight in Korea. When he never returned I began to make up stories that he had been killed in the war. later, when I learned the truth, it left a scar that never quite healed.

Fifty years later, after an extensive online search I found my father again. He has passed on in 1985, but left the legacy of three other brothers, two of whom I was able to get to know and reconstruct my father's life. In two posts last year, I recounted his life. A Thanksgiving Tribute to my Dad and Tribute continued: .

I was lucky, instead of being left to being raised solely by my mother, my grandfather took up the challenge to make sure I was raised with some sense of direction and values. I have never publicly acknowledged his role. Looking back, being raised by someone who was born in 1886, gave me lessons that were first passed on to my mother, one of those who became know as the "Greatest Generation." I grew up with a sense of community service, so strong that when I graduated from high school, I joined the Army, just as my father had joined the Navy, December 8, 1941, and like ancestors on my mother's side, had done in every war since before the Revolution. Work was something that mattered, you did your job, but family came first, obligations were accepted and promises kept.

I was not the perfect incarnation of a throwback member of that generation. I have many of the traits of my cohorts in the "boomer" generation. But true to form, as we age into our elder years, we find ourselves becoming visionary, so that before we step off the world stage, we might be able to recover our mis-spent youth.

I am blessed have two daughters, two step-sons and a son. They have made me a grandfather six, and soon to be seven times. Their love and the pleasure it gives me to see them grow and mature is a reward that my father missed. My grandfather, E.E. Campbell, did not miss that chance, he lived to see his grand children give him great-grandchildren and passed with the knowledge that he had led a life that counted and would be remembered.

Today, I remember him and my father, and pause to whisper into the wind that I love them both and thank them for what they gave me.


mark said...

Happy Father's Day !

I also tag you :)

Brad B. said...

Happy Father's Day! :) Thanks for the tag! :)