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Old 07-25-2014, 09:45 AM   #61
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I was blessed with an awesome grandpa. He had a passion for boats, and loved the water. When I was 12, I dreamed of getting an outboard motor that would be powerful enough to get a boat on plane! I worked hard to save up enough to buy a 15 hp evinrude. It took 3 years to save the money, all the while telling stories to grandpa of my dream to have a fast boat. Grandpa lived the dream and anticipation with me. The moment of truth happened and he was there when I laid down the hard earned money to buy the motor. Of course, he was there for the first ride! We had a blast, arms in the air, and whooping it up as the boat got on plane. I think he enjoyed the ride more than I.

One night, the motor got stolen. This floored me. I found out years later, that my grandpa cried deeply. He knew how hard I worked for a dream to come true. He made up a story that the motor was covered by insurance and bought me a new motor.

I loved my grandpa. He was a great person.
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Dad
Old 07-25-2014, 11:28 AM   #62
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Dad

DAYDREAMER, that makes me think of the movie "Titanic"! (in a good way)

Or, "On Golden Pond"
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Old 07-25-2014, 03:07 PM   #63
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One night, the motor got stolen..... He made up a story that the motor was covered by insurance and bought me a new motor.

I loved my grandpa. He was a great person.
I bet you did. Sounds like a great guy.
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Dad is still alive
Old 07-25-2014, 03:10 PM   #64
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Dad is still alive

My Dad is 90 and he's still alive. But then he's my hero, so I'm not waiting till he dies to post about him.

He raised 5 boys, all successful, happy relatively normal people. No criminal records worthy of note, no bad people, no creeps. Just 5 normal kids.

He was married for 45 years to the same fine woman.

He worked for the same company (he was a milkman) for 25 years.

He never had an accident or a traffic ticket. he doesn't drive now.

He never had a new car until his 75th birthday, when we ganged up and bought him one.

He was 17 when WWII happened, and joined as soon as he could. His two brothers joined as well, one was a B-17 pilot and died over France. The other was a pilot in the Pacific, and died in a freak air accident just after returning from a deployment.

My dad was a machinist mate on an LST; officially known as Landing Ship Tank, but known by all who sailed in them as Large Slow moving Target.

When his second brother died he was in the Pacific, and of course as the last male of the family they yanked him home.

In 2004 this guy calls my dad, and wants to know if he was so n so who served on LST 467. My Dad says yep. The guy says, do you know where your ship is? My dad says, uh, scrap? The guy says nope, it's down here in the Virgin Islands. In 90' of water.

As it turns out the guy was former British Special Forces, and had bought a dive shop after he retired. The locals kept telling him the old wreck he liked to dive on was just an old freighter, but having never seen a freighter with gun tubs, he thought not. He did some research (a story in itself) and eventually figured out that old wreck was indeed 467.

Well, since Dad's 5 sons are all divers, and we try to do a family vacation every year or so, that's all it took. What with wives, girlfriends, kids and what not, 22 of us headed down to St. Thomas to see our dad's old ship.

The dive guy did us right. He knew a video guy who worked for the History channel, and he knew the skipper of the tourist submarine that was based out of St. Thomas. And, he knew the local news reporters.

We were there 5 days and dove on the old ship almost every day. One day they even got permission and took the tourist sub out to the site, so my Dad and a shipmate could see the wreck. And the video guys filmed all of it. Maybe, they said we could make a History channel documentary. That never happened, but we have some amazing footage.

Anyway, it was pretty amazing, to stand on the deck of my dad's old warship. And for the first time my dad talked about the war. He really is my hero. It's a miracle that he survived to have kids. Really.

The dive shop guy brought up the engine telegraph from the engine room, cleaned it up, and presented it to my dad. We all cried.

After the sub came back from the site the news reporters were there to interview my Dad and his shipmate. This nice lady reporter said to my dad
"So, did you recognize your old ship after all these years?"

My dad says
"Aw hell, ships are like women. You can change their hair and change their dress, but as soon as you see them from the back, you know em every time"

They printed it, and put it on the 9 O'clock news.

And my Dad became an instant celebrity down there. It seems PC hasn't quite reached the Caribbean.
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Old 07-25-2014, 03:27 PM   #65
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What a great story!

I met a guy who served on a ship in WWII recently. Those guys had courage.

And... your dad was right about backsides (probably true for men's, too)
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:27 PM   #66
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Schutzie - great story.


My Dad's brother was also a machinist's mate on an LST. The parallels end there, his service was in Europe (in fact his one day of action before being wounded was the D-Day invasion)

He passed away in 2010.
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:01 PM   #67
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My dad was a crew mate on a mine sweeper. Those were the wooden hull ships that went in first to pull up the mines in the water before the steel hulled ships went in.

He told me the Jap Zero's used to have target practice on the mine sweepers to get their guns set up before they flew into a confrontation with our fighters. I have no idea how he survived 3 years in the South Pacific. He was a great and courageous man.
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Dad
Old 07-25-2014, 06:06 PM   #68
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Dad

I'd buy those guys a beer if I could. And the girls that pitched in.
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Old 07-31-2014, 06:08 PM   #69
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Schutzie - great story.


My Dad's brother was also a machinist's mate on an LST. The parallels end there, his service was in Europe (in fact his one day of action before being wounded was the D-Day invasion)

He passed away in 2010.
Then your dad's brother was in a special kind of hell. Even when they let the LST's land, I understand the fighting was still brutal. Those LST's were supposed to be unsinkable, but we know that wasn't true.

I rang dad's telegraph for your dad's brother.
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Old 07-31-2014, 06:16 PM   #70
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Nice story, Schutzie. It could make a good NPR segment.
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Old 07-31-2014, 06:21 PM   #71
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Nice story, Schutzie. It could make a good NPR segment.
+1
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Old 07-31-2014, 09:10 PM   #72
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Do you know where/how your dads proposed to your moms? I don't know, but I suppose it was in Chicago. She told us they did some good "honky-tonking".
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Old 08-05-2014, 03:15 PM   #73
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I received a package this week with my dad's ring. It's a smart plain gold band. I had no idea it existed. Needless to say, I am thrilled. It doesn't fit any of my fingers except the pinkies, and they're too small - don't want to lose it.

So I will have it resized bigger. What's a dignified finger on which to wear Dad's ring?

I got it back today and it's on my finger

Shinier than you'd think possible!
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Old 08-05-2014, 06:49 PM   #74
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My dad died suddenly of a heart attack 34 years ago on my 23rd birthday. It was 10 years before I didn't cry on my birthday. He was pretty much the only sane one in the family and we all missed him terribly.

A week after he died, I quit smoking. He was a heavy smoker and I knew it always bothered him that I had taken it up. I think I was trying to make something good out of what had happened at the time.....I don't know.

When I got engaged the following year, my mother gave me his wedding ring to use as mine. And because the emotions were still very raw, I couldn't handle anyone else walking me down the aisle, so my DH-to-be and I walked in from the side together.

I think what makes me saddest of all is he never met my children. He would have liked them.
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Old 08-05-2014, 07:03 PM   #75
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KM, I bet your dad has seen your children ..........
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Old 08-06-2014, 05:02 AM   #76
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My dad will be 84 next week. Here is his story.


Dad was born in 1930 and grew up amidst the political turmoil of China prior to the communist revolution. My Grandpa, a county governor, was assassinated for political reasons when dad was only 13. My grandma sent dad away to a boarding school, where he became a good catholic and befriended a catholic missionary. This friendship proved to be pivotal in dad’s life, for in 1948 as the communists were about to take power, the missionary hastily made arrangements to help my dad flee China. Dad had to act immediately with no time to think it over or say goodbyes, so he wrote grandma a letter telling her what he was doing. Dad would never see his mother again.

Dad struggled mightily here in America. The missionary had made arrangements for Dad to attend Catholic University, but as a History major he was failing his classes because he could not understand the English language well enough, so he changed his major to physics, eventually earning his masters and a PhD. His first Christmas here he had no money and no place to go when school recessed for the holidays, so a kind hearted custodian left the door unlocked to the dorm so dad could sneak back in to have a place to sleep over the break. He spent that break cold (they shut the heat off during break), alone, and starving, hiding in the closed dorms.

The Catholic church offered him only a partial scholarship, so dad still had to come up with money for part of the tuition, room and board. He spent several summers working the fields of some catholic farms as a farm hand. He sold shoes. He sold encyclopedias door to door. He worked as a waiter. With no one to turn to for help, Dad did anything he had to do to survive. When he ate his meals at the house he was boarding at, dad always made sure he ate at the same time as the women boarders, just so he could eat their leftovers. To escape the sweltering heat and humidity of the DC summers, dad would buy a ticket to the early matinee at the movie theater and sleep all day in the air conditioned theater, leaving at sunset to then study through the night.

Dad was a survivor, and he fought and clawed his way out of his difficult situation to provide my family with a decent middle class American life. I am always appreciative of how blessed I am and I have never forgotten all that my dad went through to give me the life that I have, so I have made sure to seize and make the most of the opportunities I have been given here in the U.S.

If dad never made it out of China he would probably not have survived under the communist regime. As the eldest son of a prominent politician, dad would have been a marked man. If he did survive, our family would have been oppressed and not afforded the opportunities to educate or better ourselves. My cousins in China today? Two of them are doing ok- a nurse and a government worker. The rest? Tobacco farm laborers and truck drivers.

The successful life that I have I owe to God, and I owe to my dad. Dad struggled so that I would have a chance to live the American dream, and I have never forgotten it.
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:27 AM   #77
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Wow, what an amazing story, novaman. You can be very proud of your Dad.
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:07 AM   #78
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Great story, novaman.
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:17 AM   #79
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My dad will be 84 next week. Here is his story.
Great "Dad" story. I went through a lesser version of this, eating out of garbage can while putting myself through college in early 80s. These things still happen in 2014. It's happening with new immigrants (legal or otherwise). Many of them have heartfelt story to tell.
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Tribute to my Dad
Old 08-07-2014, 10:37 AM   #80
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Tribute to my Dad

My Dad was born on February 29, 1924, a leap year baby. He always enjoyed his birth day, I remember his enjoyment when pointing out on his "21st birthday" that he was the same age as his 21 year old grand daughter. He also enjoyed it when his small town newspaper would put his picture in the paper with a small write up every 4 years.

Dad was the oldest of 11 children born to poor but hardworking parents. I am sure growing up during the Great Depression was very hard on his family. I remember Dad telling the story about how he had to walk along the railroad tracks to pick up any pieces of coal he could find to help heat the house in the winter. Dad had to work before and after school helping Granddad who worked in a foundry. He helped tend a very large vegetable garden in summers to feed the family and during season he and granddad would go fishing or hunting nearly every day to put food on the table. Dad related the story to me that Granddad was not the easiest to be around and a bit of a task master. Dad said that when out hunting if you were going to take a shot you better hit what you were aiming at because Granddad was likely to kick you in the butt if you wasted a shot. Needless to say Dad was a very good shot. Try as I might I could never shoot quite as well as Dad.

Even with all the work Dad had to do being the oldest child, he still did well in school. His teachers had him skip two grades so he graduated from high school at age 16. He looks like a kid in his high school senior picture. He was especially good in math. I still remember how at the grocery store Dad could add in his head the cost of the items as the cashier was entering then into the cash register and announce the total including tax before the cashier.

Dad never had the opportunity to get a college education there was no money for that and once out of high school and working a job he was helping to support the family. Very soon after graduation was the start of WWII and Dad was drafted into the Army.

Dad never talked much about the horrors of war which I know he had to endure. He told me one time that when he was wounded by a sniper, his sergeant who was also his best buddy tried to crawl out to bring him to safety. Sadly, he was shot and killed for his efforts and I am pretty sure this haunted my Dad the rest of his life. But Dad did his bit and then some. He was awarded with the Purple Heart and two Bronze Star medals. Dad always wanted to visit the WWII memorial in Washington D.C. but was not in very good health. I was very happy that I was able to accompany him as a volunteer to see the memorial a few years ago on a WWII Honors Tour. He was very moved by all the thanks and recognition he received from other visitors while he was there.

Shortly after the end of the war Granddad passed away so Dad returned to the responsibility of supporting his younger brothers and sisters. His younger siblings, several of them not yet in school still consider their older brother as their surrogate Dad. I think that all the responsibility forced upon him helped form his very independent nature.

Dad and Mom married on New Year's Eve 1947 and almost made it to their 62 anniversary. He raised two kids and provided us with everything we needed to become responsible adults. Dad was generous to charities and had a great love for his very large family. Dad worked 48 years for the same employer (including years in the service which counted for seniority in those days), and retired at age 65. Dad had about 20 good years of retirement until Mom passed. I truly think that Dad lived life just the way he wanted, I never recall him saying he regretted anything he ever did in his life. Dad suffered from cancer in his later years and it finally took him this past February. I thank God I was at Dad's side when he passed.

I miss my Dad every day and just writing this tribute brings tears to my eyes. I would give anything to see him again as he once was before the cancer got to him and tell him how much I love him.
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