Archive for November 12th, 2007

Veterans Day

grandpa.jpgI am thinking of my Dad today. It is the day Veterans Day is observed, and my Dad served in the United States Navy for a bit more than twenty years.

I actually got out our photo albums to find the ones that hold the photos of my Dad in his Navy uniform (the photo shown was taken in 1956).

My Dad was a tall, very handsome mid-westener who ran away from his life on his mother and step-father’s farm when he was sixteen years old. Of course sixteen was too young to join the service, and he returned home to Benton Harbor, Michigan until he was the ripe old age of seventeen. But my Dad had a passion. Actually, two passions. One to serve his country and the other to see the world. I guess he was like a lot of young men in the 40’s. But he was my Dad.

My Dad didn’t talk much about his youth, but when he did I listened with all of my heart. I am his only daughter, squished very closely in-between two brothers. (Yes, you can tell when my Dad was on-leave by when his children were born!) But anyway… my Dad talked about life of the farm. How hard it was. How he felt so badly for his Mom and the never-ending work. He told me how she wished he would join one of the armed services. Make something of his life. He was very gifted, but had no way of growing. Soaring. His Mom, my Grandma Martin, had come from Yugoslavia as a young girl. She had known persecution in this new world, but she loved her new country. She married and had two sons, Richard and William, and then suffered the loss of her husband (my Dad’s father) during World War I. She had re-married and had two daughters.

Yes, life was hard. And she wanted her youngest son, William, to have opportunities. Well, both she, and he, got their wish.

When my Dad finally enlisted in the Navy, he was in for the shock of his life. He had grown up with his name… William Klatt. But when his birth certificate was found, his name was listed as William Klaczynski. Seems that the family name was changed (like in many families) to “Americanize” the immigrants, but my Dad was born at that same time and his name was never legally changed.

So began his life as William Klaczynksi, a name he cherished.

My Dad was stationed at many bases throughout the country. He served in Korea. He was a medic on the USS Richard S. Edwards, DD950. And we followed him whenever we could.

I remember missing him so very much when he had “sea-duty”… for several months at a time. I remember him coming home from these duties like it was yesterday. My Mom got us kids all dressed up and we would go to the Navy Base and wait for the little boats to bring in our Dads and husbands and sons and brothers. Everyone cried with joy. And then we would have Daddy back. To fix our bikes. Cook hamburgers on the grill he made himself. Put butterfly bandages on our cuts and bruises. Mow the grass. Wear his favorite red plaid flannel shirt. Play with our dog. Help us with our science projects. Sing country songs completely out of tune. Tell me how much he wanted a granddaughter to spoil, and spoil some more. Plant marigolds. Ready his beloved boat for summer excursions. Make egg and pepper sandwiches for breakfast. Put on his Navy uniform and hat (especially the hat) with such celebration.

And the visits to the farm to see his Mom.

My Dad had the biggest hugs. But I will never forget the hugs to his Mom. Grandma Martin was a tiny woman with the strongest arms ever, and even she could not match my Dad’s hugs.

And my Dad was demanding. He insisted that we do well in school. Participate in sports. Have excellent manners. Probably do everything he did not have a chance to do. He provided a warm home. But most important, love. Love that cannot be measured.

Well, today is Veterans Day. And I miss my Dad. He died in 1975, too young. Too soon. He never saw any of his grandchildren. But we all know he is watching from heaven. Every moment of each day.

I am so proud of my Dad’s service to our country, and I hope the flags are flying today in heaven. Soar, Dad… just like your Mom wanted you to.

I love you, Dad. And I am so proud of you. I honor you today, and all of the Veterans who have devoted their lives unselfishly to our country.

Hopefully, today, all of you heroes will see a sea of red, white and blue.

– Sharon


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I was going to do a follow-up post of Celebrity Moms I wouldn’t want as a mother.

But as I got started, I began to feel badly about the whole thing.

(What’s this? A conscience!?)

There are some Mothers out there with a lot of problems and a lot of demons right now, and I’m sure the last thing they need is anybody writing about how just-plain-awful it would be to be her child. And kids love their Mamas, plain and simple.

So, I will write my Top 10 List of Celebrity Dads I wouldn’t mind having. Here goes, in no particular order:

1) Brad Pitt
Ahhh, yes. My dear Brad. I know he’s hotter than hot. And sexier than sexy. And socially conscious. But beyond ALL that, he seems to be a great father. I remember seeing him on Oprah when he was married to Jennifer Anistion, and he said he wanted 7 kids. This was all pre-Angelina and their brood. You just gotta love a man who yearns to be a Dad.

2) Hugh Jackman
I always see photos of Hugh playing with his kids. It’s adorable. Just adorable. On the beach. Out and about in Los Angeles. Or NYC. Did I say “adorable”?

3) John Stewart
OK… I just think this house would be flowing with HUMOR (and intelligent insight!) all day. All night. All the time.

4) Conan O’Brien
The mere fact is that I love this man. Really. I had a tremendous crush on Conan when I was in high school and college (can I say this?… I truly am not a stalker. Or a priest). Conan always mentions his kids. And he’s from a family of, like, 8. He to me would just be plain fun to be around. Yes, I even love his hair.

5) Matt Lauer
He is always seen with his kids in NYC. I just feel like Matt’s a down-to-earth Dad. It doesn’t get any better than seeing a Dad being a Dad. And he has a Rhode Island connection. He was a celebrity-of-sorts on a local show in the 70’s called PM Magazine. I like a Dad with drive!

6) Matt Damon
Gotta love a man who marries a woman not involved with Hollywood. Talks about his step-daughter as if she’s his own. And he is always with his whole family (including his mother). Well, I guess that would be ok.

7) Will Smith
When I have seen interviews with Will Smith he gushes about his children and his wife like they are GOLD. There’s something special about that. Plus, they all seem to be having FUN. And isn’t that what life is all about?

8 ) Seal
Besides being married to one of the world’s most gorgeous women… I love how he is always, always seen with his 2 cute little boys and his step-daughter. They just seem like such a perfect family. The latest photos I saw of them all at a Pumpkin Patch was edibly adorable.

9) David Letterman
The man loves his little guy. And boy, his little man is CUTE! I just think he’s hit his stride as a fantastic Daddy.

10) Benjamin Bratt
Benjamin (love his name!) is one of those men who just seems like he came alive when his kids were born. There’s something amazingly beautiful about that discovery into the world of Daddyhood.

So there’s my List of 10. I could go on and on… but I have to say, I’m pretty attached to these men.

Now again… if only Brad Pitt would adopt a 29-year-old woman. Married. With 3 boys. Didn’t I read that he was having a bed built for everyone?

– Audrey

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