Banner photo. Dad having a cold one. North Africa? Italy?
Hey dad. When you were a youth, did you ever wonder what kind of father you might be? You were at loose ends during most of your twenties. Did you even entertain the prospect of fatherhood?
You had a lot of time to run those thoughts around in your head. You were 36 when I was born. Mom was 30.
You couldn’t have realized it at the time, but when I was born you’d already lived nearly half your life, the final few years tormented by dementia. Knowing you, hell knowing anybody with a thimbleful of reason, if you’d been aware of what was coming down your street you’d have likely figured out a way to check out early, before the demon came a knockin’. I know I would’ve.
You came from Toole, Utah, a mining town that would’ve rested in the shadow of Salt Lake City, except that when you were born, in 1917, there wasn’t enough of Salt Lake City to cast a shadow.
By your late twenties, Salt Lake City was the biggest thing you’d ever seen and the furthest you’d been from Toole was Coeur d’alene, Idaho, where you did a stint with the Civilian Conservation Corps.
That all changed in 1944, when you joined the millions of men who shipped out, either west to the Pacific, or east to Europe to fight the last of the “good wars.”
Your wartime journey took you through Chicago, New York, London, North Africa, and the boot of Italy. The war was winding down in Rome when you arrived and met your future bride. I can only imagine your wide eyed culture shock.
It seems implausible, a young man, green as grass, from a desert mining town hooking up with a Roman girl.
There were times, many times, when the two of you seemed mismatched. It strikes me that maybe you met at a time in your lives when you saw yourselves without prospects and just settled. Continue reading