This past year has brought some new feelings regarding Memorial Day. Besides Randy’s father, who served in WW2, I had really never had any connections to anyone who had served in any of the wars. This year changed my thoughts of gratitude towards people who had served and sacrificed so much for all of us. Let me begin with a few years back.
All of my life, I knew that the father who raised me was my adopted dad, as I was 8 months old, when my mom and dad, (Carl) had married. My mom had always told me that my real father was just not a good man and I never realized how much her feelings for him had influenced my feelings for a man who I never met. After years of her telling me that after they had married, he had impregnated a lady in California and she had told him (his name was Gene Gipson) that she never wanted anything to do with him or never wanted to see him or have him see me. So I never got to see my dad.
In 1976, she finally admitted to me that they were never married and that Gene had come back and tried to convince her to marry him, but her pride would not allow her to give him a chance and she had married Carl because she felt he would make a good dad for me. And a good dad, he was. He was one of the most gentle and patient men that I have ever known. He was a devout Christian who volunteered with the Gideons. From time to time, she would reminisce about Gene and what a selfish, no good man he was and how glad she was that she had never married him. As I grew up, married and had children, there was always the desire to find out information about Gene. I knew that he had died in 1973, but I also knew that I had at least 1 half sister, which I wondered about. Were we at all alike? Did we share any of the same characteristics? Because I was an only child, the desire was greater than if I had brothers and sisters. Because my mom had shared with me some time ago that she had really never forgot Gene and often wondered what life would have been like, should they had married. She was never a happy person and really struggled with her marriage, she didn’t ever speak positively of either Carl or Gene.
Because of the continued curiosity of wanting to find out any information that I could find about my birth father plus wondering about any half siblings, I began to seriously search. This past year I finally found the obit that listed facts about him and also found that besides the half sister, I had 4 half brothers. The article stated that Gene had been a pilot in the Navy. He had married and had 4 boys and was the owner and operator of a golf course in Peru, Indiana. He was a member of the Methodist church.
Truly I am so sorry that I never had the chance to meet my birth father or any of his other children. It made me think of how many others might be out there, with stories of parents, or siblings which they had never met. After reading the obituary, it began to dawn on me that indeed, both of my fathers, had served in the military and even though neither served in a war, I’m sure that there were sacrifices made.
Thanks to each person who has served, given us our freedom and so many opportunities that we would not have had otherwise.
Here’s to both Gene and to my dad, Carl, both of you in your own way, were heros! Just wish you both were alive for me to tell you thank you for your service not only to our country, but to your families. It made me sad that I had allowed my mom’s emotions and feelings to be my own towards him for all these past years.