Full Circle

My dad, who is eighty-one, made it known this year that he wanted a pea-coat for Christmas. My sister and I do our best to comply, and we found one. We knew we had found a good one when my niece’s boyfriend, recently out of the Navy, wanted to know if the coat was military issue since it looked so good.


My husband and I wondered why Dad would want a pea-coat now, though. He has sort of been into nostalgia, traveling to Farragut, Idaho  in 2005 for a reunion since he had done his Navy basic training there in 1943,shortly after he and mom turned eighteen and married. Dad really liked his trip. He got to visit the brig, something he was quick to tell us he had NOT done while stationed there.

Anyway, it turns out there was a story behind his wanting the pea-coat as well. Dad was stationed at Banana River, FL during WWII. He was sent from Banana River to Bainbridge, MD, to be discharged. It was 1946. My dad and mom were twenty-one. My brother was two. Being young marrieds, they didn’t have a lot of money, and the Navy paid my dad’s way back to Fairmont, WV because that’s the home he had left.

My mom and brother were no longer in Fairmont, though. They were living in Monessen, PA with my mom’s parents. What was a young, newly discharged Navy man to do to get to his family? I imagine there are many answers, but what my dad did was to trade his pea-coat for transportation from Fairmont to Monessen, a distance of a little over eighty miles.

My dad, who taught English and Latin until he retired, sold books to buy my mother a wedding ring. If you knew him, you would know that such a sale was a big choice. Having heard that story, I knew that the sale of his pea-coat cost him, but it was worth it to take him home to my mom and my brother.

I never would have heard that story if Dad hadn’t wanted a peacoat this Christmas. Isn’t it funny how you get gifts when you’re not even looking for them?


4 Responses to “Full Circle”

  1. 1 writeathome January 1, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Happy New Year, Becky! That’s an interesting story about your dad.

  2. 2 Becky January 1, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    And a Happy New Year to you and your family as well. Dad tells a lot of these stories now that I really hadn’t heard when I was younger. He says the subject just never came up, and since I was the third child of four and life was busy, I am just glad they are coming up now.

  3. 3 The Nephew January 2, 2007 at 1:36 am

    Wow… That’s a really awesome thing to know. And it’s really sweet that you guys got him that coat!

  4. 4 Becky January 2, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    See, Nephew? We’ll get you some Grandpa stories. We just have to be listening when he is willing to talk!

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