Memorial Day

The story, as I was told many times, as I remember it now, is this:

My parents met while in high school. My father went to a public school, and my mother to a Catholic girls school. They were from different towns, but my mother knew of my father. My mother had a friend whose brother was pals with my father. The guys fixed cars together, drank together, and smoked together.

My mother and her friend strolled by my father as he leaned over his car, fixing it. My mother's friend whispered, "He's so..." (I forget the word she used, but in today's terms it would be "hot"),

Teenaged pictures of my parents - my mother with teased hair, dark miniskirt and my father with slicked back hair, trim ankle length slacks, pointy shoes.

In his high school yearbook he stated his graduation plans - U.S. Marine Corps.

My mother and father planned to get married. Wedding invitations were printed, and his deployment date bumped earlier. Wedding invitations were reprinted so they could marry before my father deployed to Vietnam. 

"Don't do it," my mother's friends whispered. "I know he'll come back," she told them. "I knew he'd come back," she'd tell me. My father swore to attend church weekly if he returned.

And so, he returned. And, my parents have been married and attending mass weekly since the late sixties.

My father has told me that his return from Vietnam was not easy. His welcome home meal, spaghetti and meatballs, made his stomach turn. Not rations. He was ticketed for blowing a red light after hearing a car backfire. Sounded like enemy fire. The crowd at today's Memorial Day parade waved flags and clapped their hands for the veterans, but they did not fifty years ago.

Welcome home, Dad. Semper fi.