Saturday, November 26, 2005

History Lesson

At dinner tonight with my folks, I'm not sure how the conversation swayed this way, but we got to talking about my relatives and the war. I don't like to talk about the current war, but I'm always curious about my relatives and who served in WW2 and Vietnam and why.

I always wondered why my grandfathers never served in WWII since most of my friends gpas did. Apparently men who had 3 children weren't asked to serve. In 1944, my mother was just born (3rd child in her family) and my father was on the way (3rd and last in his family). My gpa (mom's side) was in his late 30s, but my dad's dad was only 27 or 28. His best friend, and best man in his wedding, served in the War and they exchanged letters during his service. I think my grandfather later returned the letters.

My uncle (mom's brother) was in the Air Force and spent time in Vietnam. As far as I know, the war really effected him and he still doesn't talk about it. It wasn't until this year at my sister's baby shower that he ate at a Chinese (exchange with a derogatory word for a Chinese person) restaurant.

My father served in the Air Force as well, but never saw time in Vietnam. He started college, but after his first week he went to the post office and enlisted. He served for 4 years, came back to college, worked for my mom at the library, and as he tells the story, married her because female faculty members couldn't date male students/workers (but male faculty could date female students) and his GI Bill was running out and she had money. I'm sure there was a courtship in there, too.

Some of this I knew and some of it was new to me. On my mom's side, my grandfather died when I was 2 and my grandmother died when I was a freshman in highschool. She would be 100 yrs old this year. On my father's side, my grandfather passed away in May of 2000 the week before I was supposed to start my first job. My grandmother, who had severe dementia, passed away a few years later. I never really got to know my mom's mom since she lived in Chicago and we only saw her when we went to visit for Christmas. I knew my dad's parents since the lived in Michigan during the summer and we saw them most weekends. I still read a letter from my grandfather that he wrote to me in March.. a few months before he died.

It got me thinking about how much do I really know about my grandparents.. or any of my relatives. Not only that, but how much do they know about me. Not just my relatives, but my parents and my friends. Do they really know who I am? Do I?? How much of myself am I willing to put out there?

I guess only time will tell..


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