Monday, May 26, 2008

Remembering Mama and Daddy.....

This is Mama and Daddy, holding me and my sister, Debbie. This picture was taken in/about spring, 1947. I am the cute chubby one in Daddy's arms.

My Dad was a military man, which is what made me think to post this today. He spent 12 years in the U.S. Army, then switched over and stayed 14 more years in the Air Force. Daddy retired from the military at the ripe old age of 42, and spent the next 33 years as a fishing guide on the Texas coast. He fished the bays, as opposed to the Gulf. He loved to fish.

We lived all over the world. My brother was born in the Philippine Islands. The 'Baby' of the family talked with a British accent for a full year after we returned from England. Today, we are thankful for the experience.

My Mama was as military as Daddy was. She was the perfect wife for him; dutifully packing up the household and dragging her brood across country or national borders. It was all the same to her. We loved it, thrived on it, and missed it when the moving was done. Life wasn't always easy- I believe this picture was taken during the 'chicken house' period. Mama said that for awhile, housing was so scarce, they lived in a chicken coop.

That must have been tough.

Of course, we were never completely sure of the truthfulness of some of these stories. Daddy told us once that he was flat-footed because a tank had run over his feet during the war. We believed him, and told that story all over school, then found out in our adult years that he was just funnin' us. LOL

I remember when we went to England, we rode to New York City on the Greyhound bus. It took us 3 days on that bus. There was a lady riding most of the way with us who was going to Washington DC, and she had big briefcases full of papers with her. The Supreme Court had agreed to hear a case that she had brought before it, and she was going for the hearing. Today, I would love to know what case it was, and what the resolution was.

I remember Daddy today, and am humbled by his service to our country. He did not lose his life in battle, but laid his life on the line for us anyway. He got to Europe on D-Day, and walked to Germany. He said the most scared he ever was during the war was when the radio operator made an error and directed their own air support back on them. Daddy didn't talk about the wars much, until his last days.

Only if he would be ill and run a fever did he ever talk about the war. Then, he would rave. I never understood why that was so, just that it was. During the last few months before he died, he would tell stories about the war and about his family to my sister- the one Mama is holding in the picture. She was the 'Keeper of the Stories'. I was relegated to doing his manicures and cutting his hair. He seldom trusted me to give him a shave tho. LOL

Daddy served in Korea as well. I remember the morning he came home like it was yesterday. Shortly after his return, he went TDY to Matagorda Island, home of a Radar Bombing Squadron. He was in Heaven there, for Matagorda Island, 12 miles off the Texas coast, was a fishing/hunting paradise for VIPs, both in the military and in politics. The RBS squadron was not as important as the fishing/hunting. They called it "Special Services", and that was Daddy's job; Special Services was code for fishing.

We learned at an early age that 'loose lips sink ships', and we did not talk about what Daddy 'did'. I remember one time, he was gone for several days. Only after it was all said and done did we learn that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had been meeting on the Island. That was a very big deal.

We tried to get his records once, because we wanted to find out more about his life when he was stationed at Fort Sam Houston. He was in the Cavalry there, and worked with the mules. He always told us that he had caught dandruff from those mules, and that was why he lost his hair. We were scared to go close to a mule for years, lest we get the same dandruff!

If we had his records, we could have found out where he worked, what barracks he lived in, and things like that. But because of his security clearance, his records were sealed. We will be long gone before they are available.

Daddy died in 1991, followed by Mama in 1992. They are buried in the little cemetery at his beloved Port O'Connor, Texas. Mama used to fuss that she didn't want to be buried there. She said that when a storm came, that cemetery would be under 20 feet of water, and so it would. But when Daddy died, she could not bring herself to bury him anywhere else, even knowing that she would be right there with him, if/when a 'big one' comes in.

I salute all those veterans who have served to protect our freedoms; Those of the past, those of the present, and those of the future. I am thankful for Them.


OhioMom said...

What a wonderful tribute Janie, Daddy served in WWII also. He was stationed in the Phillipines and he contracted malaria. He was plagued by it all his life. Like your daddy, mine never would talk about the war.

I do have pics of him that I will be posting on my genealogy blog ... hey what can I say? I am a blogger addict LOL!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful blog in honor of Memorial Day. Both of my grandfathers were WWII veterans, my dad served during the Vietnam Era and my husband retired from the Navy 4 years ago. I served 7 years myself in the Navy. Thank you for honoring our veterans, past and present.

janie said...

And thank you for your service, too.

I am always impressed by the women who choose to join our services. I often regret that I did not choose that path.

ancient one said...

This was just wonderful. I think I would have loved your "kidding" daddy. I have a BIL that can tell you something and make you believe it until he tells you later..LOL

My dad was in the navy during WWII. My brother and cousins served in Vietnam. And you've seen my soldiers on my blogspot who have or are doing service in Iraq...

Loved this post!!

Rose said...

A wonderful post, Janie! Such a great tribute to your father, and mother.