Monday, May 25, 2009

My Dad

I talked to my mother on Friday and she had made the trek over to the cemetery 45 miles away in my little hometown to place new flowers on my dad's and grandparent's graves. When I think of Memorial Day, it always reminds me of the big fat white peonies that she'd cut from the yard for that task. Since I've lived across the country from family for most of my life, my mother tends to that duty by herself. But when I was a child, we would spend the week before Memorial Day visiting all the graves of relatives in our area placing flowers.

But back to my dad. He died in May 2001 of Lewy Body/Parkinson's. The one thing that eats at my heart is that he had to go through that hell in his last few years of life. Lewy Body is the Parkinson's form of dementia. It's like a fast-acting Alzheimer's. But one has to focus on the good times because after all, we're all just passing through. As one friend of mine likes to say, no one gets out of this game alive. Since it's Memorial Day, I thought it would be an appropriate time to again post some photos of his life in WWII.

I know some of you have already seen these photos, but I love looking at them! My dad was stationed in Pearl Harbor during WWII and served as a Navy medic in the base hospital. (He was great about first aid when we were kids!) Although he didn't see actual combat, he saw the wounded. So I'm sure that left a large impression on his psyche. He had so many fond memories of Navy life on Oahu during WWII. A small town boy from Kansas who'd rarely traveled out of state was suddenly transported a world away to the tropics! I'm sure he worked hard and it was war, but life off base was spent touring the island and enjoying the nightlife of Honolulu. So the pictures I have here are of the good times!

In the late 70's, my mom and dad took a trip back to Hawaii to visit all the old haunts. It's too bad they only got to go once, but that was the trip of a lifetime for my dad!

On base with one of his best buds. Wish my dad was still here to tell me the guy's name.

Love this one! My dad was such a character!

Koko Head

Out at night!

This is one of my favorite pictures of my dad and I. I'm guessing he'd just gotten home from work because he's in his office (engineer) clothes. He was a civil engineer who designed and built roads and bridges for the Kansas Department of Transportation -- KDOT. Before the war and joining the Navy, he played football at Oklahoma State his freshman year. Then After WWII, he went back to school and got his engineering degree from Kansas State.

Hope everyone has a nice Memorial Day. I'm going to try and stay away from the 'tater salad'.


Isla Deb said...

Those really are great pictures of your dad, Beck. I read recently that Lee Marvin, Captain Kangaroo and Mister Rogers were also celebrated war heroes from that same time. Go figure!

About the 'tater salad' son in Austin text messaged me a couple weeks ago that he was sitting three tables down from Ron White at Threadgill's restaurant. I told him he should get an autograph, but he said he didn't want to bother him because he was with his family.

jeanie said...

Love this post Beck! I really enjoy your family photos. Glad you have chosen to remember your Dad on this day.

Moongrl722 said...

Great post and I especially love the pic of your dad standing on the wall in his Navy uniform. So handsome and confident!