Today is Father’s Day, and many have turned their thoughts to their fathers and the environment they grew up in. I am no exception, and today I have been reading my dad’s book he wrote and entitled “A Grandfather’s Memory Book.” It is a compillation of questions the family sent to him which was inspiration for his writings. Reading the pages reminded me of memories I had experienced as a child in their home, or ones that I had heard retold many times. Other pages were filled with information about his childhood, serving in World War II in the Army. (He served in the Machine Gun Squad of Company I of the 3rd Infantry Division.) I love the stories he has shared in his book about his life. This book is one of my most valued possesions.
I’d like to share a few stories that give a little insight into the mind and heart of my dad. In his own words:
What kind of pranks did you play on “poor innocent little girls?”
“(When I was young) I really liked this little girl that lived across the street, so I can’t remember why I was throwing small pebbles at her. Anyway, her father didn’t understand my affection for her, and he came running around the side of his house, and definitely was after me. He was gaining fast, when I got to a fire hydrant. I grabbed hold of the gizmo on top of the hydrant that was used to turn it on and off. In a flash, I made a 180 degree turn around and escaped his grasp. After that, he, he used to sit on his front porch with a pair of hedge clippers by his side, and told me he was going to cut my ears off when he could catch me. Fortunately, he never caught me. But he sure came close.”
Did you ever do magic?
“I remember doing magic tricks all over the place. The one that worked the best was making a penny disappear when I rubbed it into my left elbow. But the best trick ever was the penny that I was able to move from a paper bag, into a plastic pouch, inside a match box, wrapped with rubber bands, inside another larger box, wrapped with rubber bands, inside another box with rubber bands. While in Layton, I did one of the best tricks I could never repeat. I pulled a live rabbit out of a hat for Elisabeth and Anna. I was so magical, I mystified myself!”
My dad delighted in playing pranks on us. One day my sister Kay and I returned home from school only to find a mannequin arm protruding from under the living room couch. My dad had put catsup on the arm to represent blood, and said in a troubled voice, “Help me get your mom out from under the couch!” Later I found the mannequin arm upright inside the toilet when I lifted the seat up. I still laugh every time I picture it in my mind. (He says he is really sorry he ever played the first joke on us.)
Because he wrote this book, I know that he paid 5 cents for ice cream cones and vanilla was his favorite. His favorite candy was called a “Guess What?” and cost a penny. (It had two small pieces of candy, similar to Salt Water Taffy, and a tiny prize of some kind.) I know where our family came from as he talked in detail about his mother and father and grandparents and the places they lived and how they came to move there.
What is the most inspired thing you have done in your life?
“I married Pat.” (my mom)
What is a secret you never told your parents?
“I never told my parents about about my Purple Heart. I didn’t want to mention anything about being injured to my parents.” During the the advance on the Siegfried Line, I was almost to the dragon’s teeth (the reinforced concrete barriers to stop tanks) when a shell landed nearby. I was hit by shell fragments in my abdomen, left arm, and left eyebrow. When I saw all the blood, I thought I was a goner for sure. I was patched up at the aid station and sent right back to the front again. The important thing to remember about it all, is the fact that I prayed a lot, my prayers were answered, and I didn’t return home with any long-lasting physical problem.”
What were the best times of your life?
“The best time was when I married Pat. Close to it was the birth of each of our children, and then the birth of each grandchild. It just got better as I was able to be near them through the years.”
Thank you, Dad for being the kind, loving, and fun person you are to be around. “Pure hearts in a pure home are always in a whispering distance from heaven.” This describes the home we grew up in, the home you have now. Thank you, Dad. I love you!