My Dad Hugging His Mother
“The true measure of all of our actions is how long the good in them lasts.”
-Queen Elizabeth II, PBS Documentary
While taking a picture frame apart I came upon this picture of my Dad with his Mother. It was tucked behind another picture. Finding this picture was serendipitous, because I had just spoken with a relative in the past few days who shared with me something I didn’t know about my Dad.
I contacted my Uncle Mike to ask about this picture. Uncle Mike said he took the picture around 1951 (when my Dad was 21 years old); he was coming back from leave and heading off to his next mission that year. My Dad was a Marine; he served as a call box soldier in the Korean War. His mother immigrated to the US from Eastern Europe by way of Ellis Island. She and my grandfather, also from Eastern Europe, had an arranged marriage. My grandmother never learned to speak much English. My Dad once told me he signed his own report cards for school, because his Mother didn’t write much in English.
My Dad passed away 19 years ago, and I thought I knew pretty much everything there was to know about him. It turns out, I was wrong. I learned this week while I was growing up my Dad had been quietly doing random acts of kindness for the local women’s shelter for years. After my Dad died, my Mother was called by the women’s shelter to ask if they could do anything for her to thank her for all my Dad had done for them. This offer of care for my Mother came to everybody’s surprise including my Mom. After all these years, it was news to me. I didn’t know my Dad had invested his time in the women’s shelter.
What a sweet feeling it is to learn something new about my Dad. He was a thoughtful person, conscientious of others in his community.
Sometimes it is the quiet, unspoken gifts of caring from others that speak the loudest over the years.