As the distance becomes greater between our times when we talked, when I heard your stories, heard you sing and play your harmonica, your image often becomes more shadowy.
Not the sense of your voice, or the impish twinkle in your eye. But the line of your nose, your feet in flip flops, and the way you shared your strong, loving touch with grandchildren and dogs. I have to sit still, very still, to remember.
Thanks to Cousin Delia I have these pictures of you when you were stationed in the U.S. and in Japan.
I see these and they remind me a bit more of who you were.
WWII – 5’3″ and ready for war.
Street kid, el bebito, high school drop out, ready for war.
Thinking you were worldly, because you’d gone to Macy Street and seen the ghost. Only to learn that there are ghosts that we create that never leave us. A night alone on patrol will do that to you, won’t it?
When I write, the stories come up faster than I can type. The details almost push themselves one in front of the other, not to be missed or to lose their place in line. A lot like you, Dad.
The stops and starts of your youth, your alcoholism, your sobriety, your work ethic, your kindness flood my mind and my heart. I can remember you again with a fullness that makes me sigh and laugh.
George sings and I can only smile. My dad took me to the Beatles concert, because he was worried I should go alone and because he wanted to be at the concert. I think back on the man, almost 60, who shushed me, because “George” is singing on the Ed Sullivan Show.
When I write, I am close to you again. The writing brings me to a place that is more about you
than what I feel about you.
Private, First Class, Pete R. Martinez – Date of entry Apr 1943, date of sep March – 1946.