WC’s father was born on Armistice Day, the day World War I ended. What’s now called Veteran’s Day. This would have been his 100th Birthday.
He died in 1987, not even 70 years old, killed by his bad habits – smoking, excessive drinking, overweight and a stubborn refusal to deal with serious hypertension. His two sisters, Marge and Helen, who took better care of themselves, made it to 85 and 95.
He was a child of the Great Depression, who moved with his folks and sisters from Morning Sun, Iowa to Stockton, California after drought and the wrecked economy killed the family farm. He was a veteran of World War II, serving as a Seabee in the Pacific Theater. Mostly, he caught and recovered from malaria (twice) while overseas. He took the skills the Seabees gave him and the carpentry skills he’d learned from his dad – WC’s grandfather – and made a construction career, first with the Corps of Engineers when the Distant Early Warning stations (the “DEW Line”) was built, and later as a general contractor. He wasn’t especially successful at either.
He wanted the best for his kids and his family, but didn’t have a clue how to help. He was smart enough to recognize that, but not smart enough to address it. That clouded his life.
We learn from our parents. Sometimes from the lessons they don’t see they are giving us.
Happy 100th Birthday, Pops. Miss ‘ya.