My dad was posted to Egypt a month after his wedding. The man faced a lot of adjustment when he returned a year later. I was three months old.
A few weeks ago, I found some postcards and letters he wrote to his parents from Egypt. Coincidentally, my aunt came across another one Dad wrote to his brother around the same time. She sent me a copy this week.
Reading them, I`m struck not only by how young he was, 21, but also how much his tone changed. He`s always been a serious man, with moments of great silliness. The letters were much lighter than I expected given his situation. I bought a hassock the other day. Ìf I can`t figure out a way to get rid of the smell, I`m chucking it over the fence.
It was amusing to read about his thoughts on my embryonic self. Mom was convinced I was a boy. He didn`t care as long as I was healthy. His great-grandfather was unwell(in his late 90`s)and Dad hoped he`d that we`d get to meet. We did.
Reading how much he loved the country, the people, I`m reminded of the stories I grew up hearing - sandstorms, camels, and coffee that tasted like seaweed. There was one brief allusion to the Middle East in the 60`s - Everyone changes over here...I think sometimes that we all leave here a little bit crazy.
But he was anxious to come home and be a family with Mom and I.
I`m really happy about the baby. I received a signal Thursday morning at 7:30 am and a telegram at 11 o`clock. We had quite a celebration in the club. It started at 7:30 in the morning and lasted until midnight.There were an awful lot of people who didn`t go to work...I want to know all about our daughter. I`ll be home in fifty-one days. Hurrah!
Dad was stationed at home when my brother was born. As a big sister, I remember all of the excitement. Dad never cared about our gender, health was his concern.
We tested him plenty over the years in that area and many others. We butted heads about politics and house rules, yet he supported us in all of our choices, even when those same choices baffled him.
It`s easy to forget our parents were young, had dreams and expectations of life. Reading my dad`s letters written when he was a young man has provided me with a great deal of insight into his character, a glimpse of the man, as opposed to the dad.
I`m going to transcribe the letters so that my niece and nephew can add a piece to the puzzle that is their grandfather. I wish I`d thought of it sooner to give to Dad for Father`s Day.
The letters confirmed what I already knew. He is quite the interesting man, my dad. I do love him.