The Greatest Generation
That’s the unofficial title given to the generation who grew up during the Great Depression and lived through WWII. I hope I don’t have to pay a royalty to Tom Brokaw for using this. My parents were part of this generation, and as each year passes, I realize more and more how accurate that moniker is. As my high school english teacher used to say “Compare and Contrast”. . .
At 21 years of age, my father was a tank commander landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day. By the time he turned 22, he was a Silver Star recipient for heroism and a Purple Heart recipient for wounds suffered earning that Silver Star. Short version, his tank was blowed up by the bad guys, he caught on fire, got out, put himself out, then went BACK into the burning tank to pull his driver out.
At 21 years of age, I was switching college majors and colleges, and chasing girls and the next party. By the time I turned 22, I was still chasing the next party and the next girl.
I can’t even imagine what it was like for him. Basically because he NEVER talked about it. I knew he had medals, but really didn’t know why.
I can’t walk down the street without talking about it (or blogging about it) . I really don’t know why either.
He never went to college, worked a WIDE variety of jobs, put four kids thru college, and made more money in retirement that I make working full-time. And I went to college.
Mom was a stay-at-home mom. Kinda misnomer. She was NEVER home. Constantly running us kids to piano lessons, french horn lessons, swim lessons, tennis lessons, archery lessons, rolling the papers so I could deliver them when I got home from school. She always cooked (we could rarely afford to eat out), did laundry (including ironing the sheets ferGodsakes!) and made the worlds best chocolate chip and sugar cookies known to man. All while having a spotless house, inside and out (she even swept the street gutters).
She knew better than the doctors, could break a fever with a hot water bottle and a warm washcloth, make a bread and milk poultice that was better than a band aid and neosporin, and bobby pinned her hair and worked a crossword puzzle every night before bed.
Together they raised four successful kids (well, three outta four anyway), dug a full basement, poured more concrete and laid more cinderblock that anyone should, survived strokes, open heart surgery, broken fingers, snakes in the basement, and sons and daughters staying out late, and rarely if EVER missed Mass. They never went out, sacrificed so that their kids would succeed (NO TV weeknights during the school year) and despite the occasional blowup, stayed in love and married til death did them part. Other Misnomer. After Mom passed away, Dad still loved her, and was still married to her.
I’m sure they still are. 72 years this past week on June 8.
And they put up with me for a lot of those years.
Now that’s a great generation!