Thursday, October 15, 2015

I Really Had No Idea

My father never talked about the war (WWII). He didn’t “not” talk about it, he just did not bring it up and no one pushed him for stories. He died when I was twenty-one and I did not really know him. I also know very little about his time in the South Pacific except that he was in New Guinea and Australia, he was in the 22nd Bomb Group and he flew a B-26. He was a Lt. Colonel and a pilot. I just spent a week in a cabin by the airport in Lockhart River, where the original building was constructed for the war in 1942.
      
It has changed very little over the years.
It was only as we were waiting for our plane to leave that I saw the display of historical markers regarding the airfield.
      
We stayed in one of those cabins in the back there.
At home in a box of stuff that I have had since I was a kid, I have an embroidered patch with that 5 and shooting star on it. It was my dad’s. I was walking the same ground he had in WWII. I really had no idea. 


We may have opened the same door.
We may both have opened the door to the Gent’s room with this same doorknob. I do not think he ever dreamed that anyone in the family would ever be there, where he had been (at least part of the time) during the war. I really had no idea. But I am very grateful that I was in this place where my father had been. I am also sad. I wish so much that I had known him better. He was a far more complex man than people where allowed to be back then, and I reckon it took its toll on him. He died at 58. Daddy, I was there where you were.

I would never have gone to the Iron Range if I were not a birder. Once again, birds and a love of “getting out amongst it” has lead me to things I never expected. I am grateful. 




Birds. Peace. Love. Earth. Laughter. Music.

6 comments:

  1. i love this . i love every word,sincerely babz

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    1. I am fortunate to be able to share the experience.

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  2. This story gave me goosebumps. The patch, the sign...it's like you were left a trail of bread crumbs. I think you were meant to cross paths.

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    1. It was and is a very emotional experience for me and I am grateful to be able to share it.
      I reckon in a way I finally feel closer to him now certainly than I did when he was alive. I suppose I love him more now too.

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  4. Bruce my dear friend you have had a very important experience as you know....I am sure your dad is thrilled. I can only imagine the impact this has had on you as my dad
    was a WWII south Pacific vet having spent time in Australia,the jungles of New Guinea and Philippines. I am sure the effects of PTSD followed him until his death at age sixty. The many stories told were not appreciated by my youthful and self absorbed mind. I had no idea of his need to express the things he did or witnessed. How I tried to tape those hidden stories before he died. I am so happy you had this wonderful episode to touch your father in a new way. Thank you for sharing and please touch a bit of the land for me in my dads memory. Love
    Denise.

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