Timing is everything

My father wasn’t a veteran.  He had great admiration for them, however, and it always bothered him that he’d been unable to serve during World War II.  His father?  Fought for the Italian army in World War I* – and isn’t it cool?  Posing with a cigarette…

What? Me? Drop a rifle?

What? Me? Drop a rifle?

At the beginning of the war, Dad was a freshman in the engineering program at Northeastern University.  His friends discussed the option of enlistment, and in general, the pack of first generation immigrants were ready to serve.  Dad decided to finish out the school year – although he spent lots of time playing, and his grades suffered as a result.

With terrible eyesight, he used his network of friends to get a copy of the eye-chart so he could memorize it in order to pass the physical.  As luck would have it, Dad flunked several classes Spring term – and also flunked the eye test.  They’d changed the chart.  So it was back to school…

Here’s to all who have served, and their families.  There is something powerful in the willingness to sign up to risk death for causes that may not be your own. 

_______

* One of Dad’s favorite jokes?  Q: How does the Italian Army do training maneuvers? A: [marched past with both hands on his head].  Second favorite joke? Q: How did the Italian Admiral review his navy?  A:  Glass-bottomed boat.

11 thoughts on “Timing is everything

  1. Neat picture daisyfae. And I echo your sentiments for those who have served and their families.

    Your Dad’s favourite jokes reminded me of one I heard from my own dad years ago.

    “While visiting a lawyer friend in his sumptuous office, Dad noticed a beautiful leather bound book sitting on the desk. Picking it up, he noted the book’s title on the cover: ‘The Complete, Unabridged List of Italian War Heroes”. Flipping through the pages, he found they were all blank.”

  2. “they also serve who stand and wait”… he was willing. that is more of a commitment to his country than many were–ARE–willing to give. be proud (as i know you already are)…

    it’s too bad the italians spent all their victories (every country gets a set number, ya know) in building up the Roman Empire… but what great ribaldry and decadence we learned from that decline, yes?

  3. rob – the Italians serve us well in the humor department. let’s not forget that they’ve had about 200 governments since the end of World War II?

    gnu – hadn’t considered that war victories were a quantum thing… but if that’s the case, the US is in for a stretch of some glorious losses. oh… wait…

    manuel – just sorry i never met either of Dad’s parents! they would have been cool! didn’t speak much english… suspect there would have been a lot of “cheek pinching” going on!

    annie – one of the reasons i like the Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC is that it doesn’t glorify war. The statues? The men look cold, scared, tired and committed to the task at hand… all about “duty”.

    alex – nice, portable joke, which can be used to mock any moderately inept military!

    dolce – of course you missed it! you’ve been faffing about on holiday! pay attention, girl!

    nm – i found some other photos yesterday! the wedding pic is just adorable! really sad that i never knew either of them – Dad buried both his parents, within a couple years of each other, before he was 30 years old. Didn’t meet Mom until a few years later…

  4. squirrelqueen – yep! i think the war experience had lasting, bad effects on Dad’s father, but there is honor in service…

    uncle keith – “scamp”? did you call me a “scamp”? i am HONORED to bear that title! there are many things in life i aspire to – and being a “scamp” is right there… “vixen”, “trollop” and “minx” are on the same list…

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