My Dad: How Different Are Eighty and Eighteen?

Today is my father’s eightieth birthday. He lives three hours away, so while I will not be with him today, I was on Sunday, Father’s Day, as were many members of his family.

I always enjoy hearing my dad tell stories about when he was younger. When we picked him up for dinner, he said he had a Navy picture from 1943 to show me, but somehow it got lost in all the family doings. I will have to remember to ask again.

In 1943, my dad turned eighteen in June, my mother in July, and they were married in August. Two weeks later, my dad left for boot camp.

I bring this up because on Sunday, my nephew was relating the story of how he waited until his dad came around to dealing with his intended before he married her. My brother-in-law is nice; he just has his own ideas. Anyway, that got Dad talking about when he asked my grandfather if he could marry my mother. Grandpa said yes; he just asked that they be married in his house. My mom was one of seven children and the only one that her parents saw married.

My husband made a comment about not being able to relate to waiting one or two years until your spouse’s parents came around, and I told him that the reason he can’t is because we wouldn’t have. We didn’t. My father objected big time to my marriage before it happened, although he has treated my husband like a son ever since. My father, in his patriarchal role, said it was always better to have the blessing of both families, and at that point, I could not help myself.

“Dad,” I said. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t I remember hearing that you and Mom had an alternate plan if the grandparents said no?”

My father actually blushed, something I had never seen before. He said (as he looked at the top of his shoes) that he and Mom did have another plan and were glad they didn’t have to use it.

Looking at my dad as he blushed, it was easy to see the eighteen year old boy in the eighty year old man. Obviously I did not enter the picture until later. I am so thankful that I have this memory to carry with me. Although I miss my mother very much, her death left a benefit I never imagined. I began to know my father as a person, not just as my dad.

I am richer for the knowledge.

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1 Response to “My Dad: How Different Are Eighty and Eighteen?”


  1. 1 Ron June 21, 2005 at 6:40 pm

    Even I knew that Grandpa had an alternate plan. :>


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