Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

He’s Not Destined to be a Historian

That would be Son#1. He wrote an essay and from what I gather, it was supposed to be on someone he regards as a hero. After an explanation of the reality of the person he chose, you’ll find his essay, typed as he wrote it… exactly, except in red you’ll have my commentary on… the truth.

He chose my father in law, Poppy. Poppy is the same age as my grandmothers, there is a generational shift between the two families. Serving in WWII as a gunner on a DE, after he got out, he put himself through college and then went on to become a doctor. The man worked hard, but his wife worked harder as she worked full time, had the kids, and put up with him. And I say that with the utmost kindness. In his prime, my father in law made Tony Soprano look tame… without the connections. Loud, blustery and short tempered, I don’t believe nice would have ever been an adjective that came into play. As best I see it, his life became where he did what he did and everyone around him danced the dance to placate him.

As an old man, he has mellowed considerably, loving his grandchildren… doting, and loving his family… but the damage was done and he has become the proverbial hot potato as between the four kids it is now, ‘No, I don’t want him, you take him’, ‘Not me, I did my turn, you take him’. And so it goes.

Because of his ‘personality’ my Mother in law spent her life kowtowing to him and their relationship fell into a rut where he demanded and she complied. Then… she died. That left him overweight as he’s never taken care of himself, partially physically crippled and horribly emotionally crippled. And that… that is the man my son knows… an old man who loves his grandchildren to the point of fault, who has mellowed, but who does not WANT to take care of himself and expects that everyone will do for him… but he also knows the stories of WWII.

And now for his two paragraph essay, all misspellings are his, this is as written other than my commentary in red:

My gradfathers (at least 4 of them) went to war. My grandfather on my fathers side faught in world war 2. He was a sea captain that sailed an aircraft carrier.

(This is true, Poppy WWII, The Great Omnipotent One Viet Nam, my Grandaddy WWII, and my Poppy Army Air Corps. I don’t know of my husband’s grandfathers… I believe they were still in Italy. But that bit about his being a sea captain? Heh. Conglomeration. MY father, TGOO, is a retired Navy Captain who was a navigator on an aircraft carrier.)

During the war a jet droped a bomb on his ship and blew it up. Many bits of metal went into his hip and arms and even his legs. He was in water with sharks. Some of the men died and were eaten by sharks. He was in the ocean for a week. He became unconconcious and foated to shore people found him and took him into the hospital. Now he is a bit round eats too much is lazy and is afraid of water.

(Close, but no cigar. A kamikaze hit their ship, bouncing off the deck, and landing in the water… where but for the Grace of God, it did NOT explode. The ship never sunk. It took on water, and nearly sunk, but they were able to drag it in and save the vast majority of the crew MOST OF WHOM were in the water waiting for rescue. Men did die, I feel certain, but I don’t know how many and it was few compared to what my son is stating. This metal? No clue where that came from. Poppy is a cripple from arthritis in his hips. He has metal in it… but it’s titanium and is called… get this… ready?... hip replacement. Nothing to do with the war. He did get wounded, so he did incur shrapnel and debris damage, but not like described here.

They were off the coast of Okinawa at the time, and he does mention frequently they were afraid of sharks, but this part where they were eaten, the part that sounds like that scene right out of Jaws with Quint telling that horrible story to Brody and Hooper? That is taken from another true story. Poppy's ship had gone to rescue another ship in a similar location and men had been eaten by sharks. Poppy and his shipmates were very afraid of the same fate, and rightfully so.

And Poppy was not stranded for a week. I think it was 24 hours.

Poppy received a very well deserved Purple Heart for this incident. It's probably why the whole thing with Kerry pissed me off so much.

This unconscious bit? No clue. I promise he did not float ashore, being rescued. I’m at a complete loss as to where that came from… Perhaps a very active imagination? Funny, funny, funny, nevertheless. My husband and I are laughing at that.)

At the end of his essay, bracketing the last sentence about his being round etc, his teacher put ‘And your hero!’ Heh. I need to find her so I can tell her the real, but still very impressive, story. Can you imagine what she told her husband that night at dinner? "Wow, you should hear about this one boy's hero!!"


Blogger Jody said...

I love that! So important for children to love and respect their elders, something we don't have enough of. Fabulous!

9:52 AM  
Blogger Jen H said...

OMG, I love that story. I think Poppy sounds A LOT like my own grandfather minus the war experience. I think it's great that your son honors his grandfather as his hero. Especially because he does seem to see some of his faults. And even if some of the reasons he thinks the man is a hero are embellishments.

7:36 PM  
Blogger That 1 Guy said...

"Now he is a bit round eats too much is lazy and is afraid of water."Ah, from the mouths of babes ... :) That has got to be my favorite part of this tale, and I like the whole thing!

2:19 AM  

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