Jump to content
Mike da Carpenter

Another Michigan treasure...

Recommended Posts

Greg Hartman
On 7/12/2020 at 7:47 PM, Mike da Carpenter said:


All that to say this...Don’t wait to do something.  



Yep, I could not agree more.  Subject to one's duties as husband and father if married - If you want to do something, go do it.  You only go around once and life can come to a screeching halt for reasons that have nothing to do with you at any time and without warning.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with you, do things while you are able and don't put them off until you can't...


That said, in defense of our fathers (at least mine, who was a member of the Greatest Generation), many of them had good reason to put things on the back burner. My dad was 10 when the Great Depression struck, during which his father walked out on the family (wife and 5 children). My dad helped support the family by delivering mail, ice in the summer, and got a job as a mechanic at Curtis Wright Aircraft in Buffalo, NY after graduation from high school in 1937. He enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1943 and completed 7 campaigns in 22 months of service with the 47th Troop Carrier Squadron (North Africa, Sicily, Rome/Arno, Naples/Foggia, D-Day, Holland, and the final campaign, Rhineland). They flew C-47s and later C-46s, delivering both the 82nd and 101st Airborne and munitions wherever Patton needed them for nearly two years. Additionally, and not included in their formal resume, they delivered supplies during he Battle of the Bulge in Dec '44 (the longest battle of he war) when the weather cleared after the worst winter on the continent in over 100 years. At the completion of the war, they flew the sick, injured and dying out of the myriad POW and concentration camps that dotted the European countryside.


When the GIs returned home from the war, they did their best to rebuild the economy and get on with their lives. PTSD was apparent but for the most part not acknowledged as it is today. A college education was out of the reach of most Americans. My father took classes from MIT through correspondence courses to become an certificated engineer, and sought work at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard, where he worked until 1980. Both my mother ( a Navy waive in the Medical Corps at El Toro Marine base) and my father after returning to NY after the  war pulled the stakes and  moved cross country to CA, leaving the familiar behind to re-establish their lives in a post war boom. Because of the GI Bill they knew that home ownership and a college education for their children was no longer just a dream but was now truly within the realm of possibility, the first time ever for the average American.  Like most who financially suffered through nearly half of their thirty plus years, they sucked it up and made sacrifices for their families, and decided to make hay while the sun was shining.


Many of my aunts and uncles had put their lives on hold to serve the country and had to reboot after the war, marrying in their late 30s. Kids came along and had to be supported, and consequently, a lot of the finer things in life were again put on the back burner to pay for mortgages, tuition and the like. While some worked for the government or private industry that had retirement plans, the less skilled often worked until they dropped because they couldn't afford to not work.


Then there were the guys like my dad who worked all over the planet (Subic Bay, Yokosaka, Guam, Pearl Harbor) before, during, and after  the Korean and Vietnam Wars, much of it prior to the jet age, and even afterwards, it still was a long, long trip to hopscotch the Pacific. My dad usually did two month long trips a year, and oftentimes a third. One week a month the Naval Shipyard at San Diego would require his services as a specialist. After being away from his wife and family for at least 18 weeks a year, the last thing the man wanted to do was travel.


Very few of our family members travelled abroad, even when it was well within their means after retirement. We were often told, "I'd much rather stay here and see the US."  I believe that for many of their generation, home was a very, very special place. My father was asked to go to Europe on several occasions to represent his Squadron as they were recognized by the governments of France and Holland when he was an officer of the  47th Troop Squadron Reunion Committee, which he served on for a decade. His pat answer was always, "I've seen enough of Europe to last me a lifetime..." 


Consequently, he declined, letting others go in his stead, and never once felt none the worse for it. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now