Dear Dad…

I found this photo in Mary Frances’ worn brown scrapbook, the one filled with the letters you sent her when you were on the Admiralty Islands during WWII.  You look slimmer than your war photos, so I suspect this was taken on yours and Mary Frances’ honeymoon in New Mexico in 1946, when you went to visit Aunt Ruth and Uncle Roger Holloway in Albuquerque. How sweet of you to make sure you were slim and handsome for your new bride, but I see the moodiness you always had, present in your posture and in your eyes.

Although there were many times I did not like that quality, I must say, it made life interesting. I look at this picture now and I also marvel in the knowledge I have about what will soon happen: the birth of a daughter, the unexpected death of your young wife, the dreams you created during your long sojourn in the South Pacific blown asunder, leaving you washed ashore, battered and broken, upon a lonely island of unbearable grief.

One day in September of 1948, about five months after Mary Frances’s death, you and your father drove into Mt. Vernon, Illinois, to Holman Ford Motor Company, looking for a new vehicle. One of the recently hired secretaries there, Mary Alice Newell, asked one of the salesmen who that “sad looking man” was. The salesman explained that the young man’s wife had recently died and set you two up on a date, the very first act of the drama of my siblings and my existences.

We siblings wish we could have talked to you about those times, but you left us too soon. We are all okay, very happy to have made it to this part of our journeys, content. Thanks so much for taking care of us Dad.

Happy Father’s Day.