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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Totally irrelevant to anything, but this is the "off topic lounge", so...

Today would have been my dad's 98th birthday; he died seven years ago, six days after his 91st birthday. Crazy to think about the time frame of things in his life. Born before the great depression, had to drop out of school in the 4th grade to go to work when his dad was killed, to help support his mother & brother. (I grew up thinking it was the sixth grade, but after he died, several older brothers corrected me that it was the 4th.) Joined the army when WW2 broke out, I know he was a Ranger but don't know much else about his time in the war as he didn't talk about it a lot. I know he spent a good amount of time in Italy, and when he died & my brother and I were going thru his things we found a few WW2 items - sergeant stripes, a couple insignia that he had earlier told us he'd taken from german paratroopers he killed, and a few other miscellaneous things.

A few years after the war he went to Detroit & worked in a steel mill for 30 years, took a slightly-early retirement in 1978 and then six days later started working for Ford motors. He had a lot of drinking & violence problems between the war years and the time he & my mom finally divorced - just the inevitable outcome of staying in a marriage out of duty rather than common goals. But after that, he quit drinking, cleaned up, and ended up having a much better relationship with my kids than he & I had ever had, and that was welcome to both of us.

But to survive almost three years of active combat, hold a single job for long enough to raise six kids the best he knew how, and then when his obligations were done (ie, kids grown & gone) to go on & finally find some happiness in his life for the first time in decades, rebuild a semi-decent relationship with his ex-wife, develop good relations with his grandkids and great-grandkids, and then die peacefully in his sleep at 91... That's fairly good for a guy who had to drop out of school in the 4th grade to support his family, and grew up without a dad himself.

Whenever I start getting whiny & bitchy about life, I try to think of his life. We - and most of us in modern America - have it awfully good compared to most people in the history of planet earth.

This was on his 91st birthday with my two sons, just six days before he died. He looks tiny, but my sons are just kind of freaks. He was actually a six-footer; probably down to 5'10" or so by this age:
Picture frame Outerwear Organ Vision care Human

This was him in Italy in 1944 (the one on the left; he wasn't Guy Fawkes):
Wood Rectangle Font Wall Symmetry

I keep that WW2 picture of him in the room I spend the most time at home in, and when my wife has a particularly bad chemo day or has one of those frustrating and increasingly common chemo-brain days, he still helps me keep on an even keel. If I could become more like him & jesus both, I'd be a better person.

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2,325 Posts
John thanks for sharing his life journey.
I had one Uncle, a Frankie Dejiohn, who served with the Combat Engineers.
He was in Italy as well and had issues with alcohol too off and on. His main work in italy was clearing a path through the mine fields. In front of the infantry.
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