Thursday, April 22, 2010
Like a good book I never bothered to read, that's how I feel about an opportunity I let slip by.
My sister attended the always interesting cousins family reunion recently. She mentioned to me that one of the things they did while gathered there was to go around the table and share stories that each of them had about my dad's parents.
That got me to thinking. Other then a very few stories that my dad let slip out, I don't know a lot about his life, prior to me being born. He wasn't a great sharer. I'm sure he would have been if I had the sense to ask, but I didn't at that time.
He served in the air force during WWll and I know absolutely nothing about the years he served his country.
The only mention he ever made was when I was showing him some pictures I took when I was on a ship in Hawaii many years ago. I was working with a guy who possessed a license to fly a plane and he thought it would be a great idea to rent a plane and fly around the Island and recreate the bombing run the Japanese made when they rudely woke up thousands of servicemen on Dec 7th, 1941.
So we went on our little jaunt and while flying around I took photos of Pearl Harbor from the air. The only thing I'll say, for now, about that flight was that the idea looked really good on paper. That's a whole other story.
When I showed the pictures to my dad, he said, "I was stationed there manning a anti-aircraft gun" talking about Pearl Harbor.
I almost choked.
Lucky for him he went after Dec. 7th. There were no more planes to shoot at.
Why wouldn't he have thought that would have been some interesting information? The bigger question is, why didn't I put the pictures down, sit in a chair next to him and say, "Ok, tell me all about it."
The best answer I can come up with as to why I didn't is, I was in my early twenties and really really stupid.
Looking through some of his papers after he passed away, I learned he was also on Iwo Jima, another famous location in the war in the Pacific. That would have been interesting to hear about.
After asking my mom why he never shared any of this part of his life she said that he just never talked about the war. To anyone. Well, at least he wasn't keeping secrets from only me.
What a history lesson that would have been if I had had the sense to ask.
The other book not opened is my Uncle Fred. He served in the army during WWll also, except he was in the European theater, as they say. I vaguely remember stories of him fighting in Germany. Uncle Fred was a guy I had unlimited access to while growing up as he lived just a couple blocks away. Why didn't I sit him down when I got older and demand to hear his story?
Like 2 books, both classics, sitting on a shelf unopened.
How stupid was that?