Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

All these Memorial Day celebrations have reminded me of my childhood.

I’m thinking of my father, who was in the Navy during WWII. He left my mother when I was 10, for another woman. I was never close to him even before that, as he was generally away.

But I do remember visiting him in the Veterans’ Hospital when I was just a kid. The hospitalized servicemen were in barracks. There must have been 100 men in a “room.” Two long continuous rows of cots against the windows on either side of the rectangular room, with a wide space down the center. Nurses would bustle up and down with carts, and the men (the ones whose wives and kids weren’t visiting at the time) would call out flirtatious remarks to the young pretty nurses. It was summer, and of course nothing in those days was air-conditioned, so there were big oscillating fans everywhere. My father’s illness was considered service-related, but he was not wounded in the war.

Many, many, years later, he died in a Veterans’ hospital, of lung cancer. He’s buried in a military cemetery.

3 comments:

AP3 said...

Interesting. What was his illness? Where exactly is he buried, Memphis?

Tan Lucy Pez said...

He was in the military hospital to have part of his stomach removed because of a severe bleeding ulcer. The doctors thought that military service caused that. (I called it a Veteran's hospital, but I guess it was for men who were still in the service.)
Yes, he's buried in Memphis.

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Very interesting. Your story triggered memories of my paternal grandfather, who also died at at old age in a Veteran's Hospital. He was a vetern of WWI, and did not speak much about those days nor times.

But I have found memories of my grandfather. Thank you for re-igniting them today.