Friday, May 25, 2007

Memorial Day---Good for Memories

A concern of mine about digital this and digital that is the loss of the photo album. What will my kids do 30 years from now when they return home and want to see old pictures? Will they all be on some sort of computerized piece of plastic the size of a dime that they insert into their phones to look at?

When I was in Helena for Mother's Day, I told my Mom there was this picture I remembered of my Dad and I wanted it. Sure enough, she looked in a drawer of an old piece of furniture that used to be my dresser 50 years ago and found the picture. My father was extremely handsome. I remember as a little girl being proud that my parents were attractive. My mother was always very pretty, too. She told me as a child that she thought her husband and my Daddy had movie star looks and that's why she married him (among other things, I'm sure).

I suppose the fact my father died young freezes him in my mind as good looking for all of eternity. He was not just nice to look at, he was a great father. He was honest, kind and full of humor; he wrote poetry; he was artistic. He could tell a funny story like no other including doing accents. I do believe he had a gift for languages but he never had the opportunity to learn a second language. When he was a prisoner of war and held by the Nazi's in WW2 for 9 months, he picked up a lot of German. He taught many of the words to my brother and me. There are so many things I could write about him.

Certainly, we had our moments. My father had no sisters so he did not always know how to handle a passionate bright girl like little Janet. About the time I turned 12, we clashed until I turned 17. After that, it was smooth sailing between us until he died when I was 27. Part of the problem was that my brother was much more intimidated by my Dad than I was. He would not have dreamed of talking back to him but I did on a regular basis. I wasn't afraid of him and always knew I had him wrapped around my little finger. Funny how my daughter and her Daddy have a similar relationship.

But, I miss him and always will regret that he didn't ever have the chance to know my children. Lucas reminds me of him in so many ways that it is just weird. Kaley's creativity has roots in my Dad's genetics, I am certain. When I am around my children, I feel my Dad's spirit and this is God's gift to me. In fact, Lucas shocked his Grandma and me by wearing a bolo tie for graduation that was a carved mountain goat my father had made. The big final heart attack hit my Dad on Memorial Day weekend in 1980, a week after Mount St. Helens erupted. I have written about all of this before on this blog.

I dedicate this beautiful weekend to him.

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My Dad (on the left) at age 22 after being liberated from POW camp in Nazi Germany in 1945.

Yes, indeed, old photo albums are gold mines for memories.