Today is my father’s birthday. He would have been 108. Yesterday was my father-in-law’s birthday. He would have been 102. They were from the greatest generation, yet their lives were completely different in so many ways.
My father choose to stay home from the war. The year he graduated from high school the stock market fell and he faced years of scraping by just to feed his family. Even the roof over his head was often from the help of his sisters and brothers.
The depression was large in Al’s life as well. Mostly it showed in his relationship to food. He loved his regularly timed meals. However, in his family he was the one that stayed home to help provide.
Being married with no kids he was drafted and served in the army in water purification and 3D map building. He lived through five hot landings.
My father had two kids so he wasn’t drafted. He could have joined, but chose to stay home to build ships. The shipyards in Richmond were so ramped up that they launched a ship per day.
I’m the only Californian in my family. If my father had gone to war, perhaps I wouldn’t be here. If Al had been killed on some South Pacific beach, my family wouldn’t be here. So many potential futures…
Both men were quiet, both men struggled but they lived the American dream. They worked hard, bought homes, and enjoyed their retirement.
I miss them both!
algoldstein.wordpress for his complete diary of experiences.