My father was born in 1920. His dad left one year later.

He was raised by his mother and his aunt. He was ten when the great depression hit his world.  Dad eventually left school to find work.  He joined the CCC,  and later enlisted in the U.S. Army – a truck driver in the 262 Infantry.

His battle and campaign credentials include:  Normandy, Ardennes (the Bulge), Northern France, and the Rhineland. He brought home some intense memorabilia. We seven kids destroyed it, as the war could not.

Dad did not talk about the war, except for the cases of wine diverted from the headquarters’s staff, or the time he chauffeured Omar Bradley.  He said the captured Germans seemed just like them.  Only they were on the losing side.

He died at sixty.

Each Memorial Day my parents had a picnic .  It was an open house and lasted late into the night.

The following poem is  about my father and makes reference to such an occasion:

Dad Wore Hats

Not when he should have.

On a cold bright day
he would call out
where is your hat?
while the wind played
in his hair.

Nor the way he should have.

It was always
crunched atop his head
by a nephew or daughter
running around our backyard
at a picnic.

Nor what he should have.

Into the dewy night
the adults would sing,
heads touching in harmony –
dad smoking a Chesterfield
wearing a bonnet.