Remembering Dad

Dad and PattyFather’s Day ~ 2014

Before I was born my father had wanted to name me Patrick,  assuming I would be boy.  Since my brother and sister were already named for his father and closest sister, he wanted to give his next child a name he always liked.

After I was born there was a uproar about my name though. My father decided Patricia would be just as good a name as Patrick. Besides he had always liked the nick name Patsy. But my grandmother had wanted to name me Elizabeth Grace after her little girl who died in infancy.

We all know who won the argument and I was called Patricia. The story goes that my grandmother had come up to help my mother before and after I was born. After it was decided on what my name would be she got so mad at my mother and not only refusing to talk to her, she would not even hold me. Actually I have a picture somewhere of her holding me with a scowl on her face.

My mother told me that she was alright with the name Elizabeth, it was the middle name that had her in a tizzy. Grace…such a pretty name right?

My mother just in this country for a little over 1 year, was still learning the English language, thought my grandmother wanted to name me Elizabeth “Crazy”. She thought Grace was the word for crazy! Of coarse my father loved to tell the story and would add, “little did we know the name would have fit Patty perfectly”! Once my mother understood she told me she always regretted the misunderstanding of not realizing why the name meant so much to my grandmother.

My poor mother, although she was blamed for me not being Elizabeth Grace, it was in fact my dad who put his foot down and wanted his Patricia. I quickly became Patty, although I was never told why I was never called Patsy.  On occasion he would call me Patsy, and I might add he was the only one who was allowed to do so. He did not call me that often, but when he did it was always with a joke, a smile and a twinkle in his eyes.

He died suddenly when I was 14, four days after his birthday. I never had the chance to speak with him adult to adult, or ask him about his life as a young boy leaving home to help support his mother and sisters. When I started to learn about World War II in school he would fill in the gaps from the history books, teaching me “what the history books would not”. Those were some of the best talks I had with him.

Dad saw things during his tour in Europe in 1944-1945 that we will never be able to comprehend. Those things had haunted him all of his life. He never again found the peace in his life that was lost on the battlefields of Belgium and the Rhineland.

Growing up we had good times and bad times. Through it all we knew we were loved. I had the privilege of having him for my father, although I only knew him for such a short time.

He was far from perfect; he was a man who lived through many difficulties, being a young boy during the Depression, he had left home to support his family. He also witnessed the horrors of the brutality of what one man was capable of doing. Some of the problems and trials were of his own choosing, yet he was a gentle man, a caring man, and a man of courage. Dad was just a troubled soul – trying to find his place in this world.

Dad held many jobs one of his first jobs as a young boy was with the CCC.  After that he also worked a short time with the Ringling Brothers and Bailey Circus, if memory serves me right he told me his job was to help set up the tents.  He was a diesel mechanic and a draftsman. But his most memorable career would be his service to his country for 25 years, with the United States Army.

And that is how I like to think of him. As a soldier and a father who loved and cared for his family the best way he knew how.

Happy Father’s Day Dad ~ “Sarge”!

dad 1


47 thoughts on “Remembering Dad

  1. From one Army brat to another . . .your post is a blessing, Patty. A wonderful testimony to your dad, who sacrificed much for the love of his country. We used to say, “RA all the way!” to those long-timers. Blessings, young lady, and peace to your family.


    1. Yes indeed – our memories are a gift from God. My dad was an alcoholic, but I guess we can call him a functional alcoholic, it took me years to admit it. He always took care of us, and as I reflect on his life from what my mother and aunt told me, I know he was a lost soul. War does that and I wish people realize how war does destroy not only the outside but too often the inside. Lets pray one day soon the powers that be see that and start to live the way God intended us to live, in peace.


      1. I never got the chance to talk to my father about his war years. I wonder how much combat he saw.I wonder if he experienced problems in the military due to the color of his skin. A few years ago I sent a request to the VA for all of his service records and I received many of them. Some of the documents were damaged when one of the VA’s storage facilities was wrecked in a flood or something like that. It’s a free service, so you might want to check into it if you don’t have and want to your father’s documents.


      2. We have my dads papers too, they are like swiss cheese because of the fire at the VA storage center. But that helped up understand a few things that we did not know. It is a great source of information for anyone searching for family. We even have some information on my grandfather from WWI.


      3. It is sad to know how men were treated because of their skin color. My father had an expression about how we are all the same color – when shot in battle we all bleed red. I think because of my father’s military experience he was always ahead of his time when it came to prejudice. I thank him for teaching us to see beyond color. Praise God we have come a long way! But that said, the road is still long isn’t it? I would hope your father would have not had much problems after all they were all doing their duty.


      4. I’m thankful for how your father taught you, too, Patty. Unfortunately, there were plenty of racial problems in the military when my dad served. Putting on a uniform doesn’t change your heart. And wearing one doesn’t always guarantee respect from others. But I believe in the promises of the Bible. My Dad is free from all sadness and darkness now, and one day it’ll be like that for the world.


      5. So true Darla, when Tom was in we still saw it. How sad indeed, and I am sorry that men like your father had to endure that. this Army family is very thankful for men like your father. Isn’t it going to be wonderful that when we are in the presence of our Lord, color won’t be an issue.


  2. This was beautiful. Made me so happy that you have those wonderful memories. I guess you could say I “lost” my dad when I was 10 (he went into a TB sanatorium for a year), but I truthfully don’t feel I ever “had” him as a dad. Made me glad I went to see him as an adult, to tell him I forgave him. He died shortly after that, so I feel it was a God-ordained trip.


    1. Thank you – I still miss my dad and mom so much, especially this past year. My one regret was not being able to talk to my dad as an adult and to let him know I understood his pain and that I loved him for who the gentle man I knew he was.


  3. Hi Patty,
    What an interesting story–and your dad sounds like a very interesting man. I think we must be of an age, because my father served in the war too. They do come back changed–how could they not, after what they have experienced. I’m sorry you lost him so young. Thank you for sharing your story.


    1. Thank you – my one regret is not knowing him as an adult daughter. Our dads were in deed part of the greatest generation and isn’t it wonderful that we were raised by them?!


      1. It was a unique time in history. My dad died when I was eight, and I have the same regret, Patty. I so wish I could have had a chance to know him, and to ask him about his experience and perspectives. It’s just one reason why I was so moved by this piece.


      2. I am sorry to hear that you also did not have a chance to know your dad. But just think one day we will have that chance…God bless you Naomi!


  4. Thank you Patty for sharing your Love for your Dad, I don’t have many memories of my Dad, he died when I was eight, perhaps leaving another link may help you understand better how I feel, there is so much I wish I could have been able to share with him and say, just like you feel Patty with your Dad, especially that I understand why he did what he did and that I Love him and I’m seeking wholeheartedly to be what he asked me to be as he was dieing, because like he did, I Love Jesus too.

    Childhood –

    Blessings – Anne.


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