Beings how this is Veteran’s Day in the U.S. — a time to remember all those who served, whether in war or peacetime — I thought I’d show you a few photos of my dad.
Dad loved wearing hats and always wore them with a jaunty flair.
Dad once told me he thought about going to college and becoming a minister, but then he got drafted. I guess once he got home, college didn’t sound so appealing.
You might say Dad served in both war and peace. He was on a ship headed to the Philippines when report came that Japan surrendered. But he still had to complete his course of duty, so after training he was sent to Japan.
Here’s the back of the photo — the handwriting is Dad’s:
I looked it up. Kamakura is a “a seaside Japanese city just south of Tokyo.”
There was an old wooden box in our attic that contained old photos, letters and keepsakes from Japan. Every once in a while, Dad would bring it down and we got to look through it. (Do you suppose he did it on Veteran’s Day? Let’s say he did.)
I remember the box had a kimono it it, but I couldn’t describe it if I tried, plus there were some old coins and photos. Mostly, I remember the box had an enchanting odor of dust and mold and a young man’s dreams fading away.
I think the box is with Middle Sister now. Most things wound up with her, simply because none of the rest of us wanted to deal with it and she can’t throw anything away. (Every family should have a Middle Sister.)
Anyway, I do have one item from the box: a letter opener with shells and a small bit of seaweed preserved in resin.
It just now occurred to me that I opened my sewer bill with a letter opener that’s over 70 years old.
Every time Dad opened the box, we hoped we’d hear more about his time in the Army, but he never seemed to think it was that interesting. He was a cook, after all. He didn’t do that much.
Maybe not, but thanks for serving anyway, Dad. I miss you.
The man knew how to wear a hat.