Friday, May 27, 2011

Stuff They Don't Teach You In School

A couple times a week, I head over to my parents' house to spend time with them and, generally, make sure they're okay.  They're in their eighties and very stubborn.

Yesterday, Dad was exceptionally talkative.  Maybe because it's Memorial Day in the States this weekend, but he had me spellbound with stories from World War II when he served in the Navy aboard the U.S.S. Leonard Wood at the ripe old age of 17.  He's only recently begun to talk about his experiences during the war.

Anyway, he told me an amazing story about meeting General Patton aboard his ship when they had to transport the general to Sicily.  Dad recounted some of the speeches the general gave to the soldiers and he has a vivid memory of General Patton smoking a cigar and walking very stoically along the deck of the ship, alone.  Because my Dad speaks Italian, he was asked to accompany the general and his entourage on shore and serve as an interpreter.  Dad happened to be available and quite eager to get off his ship, at least for a little while.  Like many of the men who served and lived to tell about it, he almost died a thousand times.

If you've got parents, be sure to hug them.  To those in the States, Happy Memorial Day! Take time to remember those who've sacrificed.  And if you get the chance, listen to their stories.

24 comments:

Sarah said...

What a great post. Both my grandfathers served in WWII, and my sister just got discharged from the Army after 7 years of service as a pilot. I don't ask much because I know she's been through a lot, but if she ever wants to talk about it, I'll be there.

Shirley Wells said...

I love this post. My father served in WWII and I loved to listen to his stories.

cherie said...

Beautiful! A nice reminder to honor those brave people who fought for a better world. :)

Lisa said...

What a wonderful post! Have a great weekend!

Linda Leszczuk said...

My dad served in the Army in the south Pacific. He recently gave me a small box of photos, including ones taken overseas. All those brave young men who gave so much. We don't thank them enough.

Karen Walker said...

Liz, my father was a WWII vet and like your Dad, didn't talk about it much. I love this post. You are so right that we need to listen to their stories. I didn't when I had the chance and now I'm sorry.
Karen

Cold As Heaven said...

My father is in the early 70s and retired. He shares his time between cross-country skiing and writing (both poetry and memoirs from the old days). I'm very happy that he will be leaving behind all this written material >:)

Cold As Heaven

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's great he told you some stories!

Pauline Barclay said...

What a superb post. We'll be thiking of you this weekend. Hugs x

Talli Roland said...

I'll be he's got loads of amazing stories! Wow.

Danette said...

Sounds like you should be taking notes so you can write something from his memories-- even if for your own benefit. But it might turn into something someday!

Veneers West Hollywood said...

My grandpa does the same thing, and it's only recent. Although he doesn't have such a great story as that, they are still amazing to listen to. After all, I feel the best thing you can learn from history is by the ones who were there.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Liz,

What a fantastic story. My dad caught the tail end but was in Korea. He very seldom talked about the war. Too many horrors for him I guess.

It's wonderful that you still have them. Both my parents died young especially my mom.

I'm glad you have the chance to honor him. I can certainly see the resemblance.

Have a great weekend.

M Pax said...

I wish my parents were closer, but am glad my younger brother is now in the same city as them.

Happy Memorial Day!

Liz Fichera said...

Your comments are getting me all choked up today...Thank you.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

LTM said...

what a fantastic post, and how handsome your dad was! :o) You are so lucky that he tells you these stories! Be sure to write them down. Oral histories are so rare and valuable. Esp. from that time.

Happy M-day! :D <3

Jeigh said...

Thanks for such a great post. It's all too easy to forget what other people have done to insure our rights and luxuries. I can see you got your beautiful smile from your dad, too. Happy weekend!

Colette said...

How great that your Dad is sharing his stories with you. Perhaps a book in there somewhere.

Nas Dean said...

What a wonderful post. I loved reading it, better still I would love sitting next to him and listening to all these stories. As him if he ever served in Fiji?

Marianne Arkins said...

Tell your dad thanks from me. My dad served in WWII as a 17 y.o., too, in the Battle of the Bulge. Though he left me hundreds of pictures from over in Germany when he died, he never talked about his time in the war. I feel like I missed my chance.

I'm glad you haven't. Happy Memorial Day.

Liz Fichera said...

Thanks much for the comments and kind words. I agree: We have so much to be thankful for!

@Nas: My dad was all over the South Pacific, although he spent most of his time aboard a ship.

@Marianne: Your dad must have been quite a guy. Reading about the Battle of the Bulge gives me chills every time. Hard to believe sometimes that our Dads actually lived that part of history.

Trisha said...

Is that your dad??? What a spunk! I was surprised to see how hot my Grandad was as a young man too. LOL.

You really should be recording those stories on a minidisc or something!

Liz Fichera said...

Trisha, Thank you! And thank you for teaching me a new word: Spunk. I love it. :-)

Cheryl said...

Hi found you via your comment on Shirley Wells' blog. Loved this post so will follow. So pleased you are capturing those memories. I was so sad when my grandfather passed and no one had captured all his stories and then I allowed the same thing to happen with my father. They all lived in amazing times.