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  • Dad had not only written down most of his family stories and sent them around to all of us. He had apparently also recorded his stories on tape, like "books on tape/cd". I didn't realize this until 4 years after he passed, when we were moving Mom out of their house in Cherry Hill, NJ, to her new place down in Pawleys Island, SC.

    They were just sitting there in his top dresser drawer. 5 cassettes filled with his stories. He had apparently sat on the front porch, and read all of the stories he'd written, into the tape recorder.

    Mary didn't think she could handle listening to them without falling apart - she'd been used to talking to him daily - and insisted that I take them. A couple weeks later, on a 4 hour drive to a labor-management meeting in New Jersey from Virginia, I listened to them all, up and back.

    He brought each and every story to life, in that wonderful story-teller style he had. What a tremendous gift! It was like having him right there on the trip with me, in the passenger seat beside me, doing what he did best - telling his stories.

    When Mom visited us in Virginia later that year, we drove over to Arlington Cemetery to visit Dad. On the way back, I popped one of the tapes into my car stereo and we listened to it as we drove. As we pulled into the driveway, parked and were getting out of my car, Mom just shook her head with a dismissive laugh, and proclaimed "What an ego that man had! Imagine thinking that ANYone would be interested in all that crap!"

    I was shocked by this statement - shocked, then amused. Wow! They were so completely different from each other, in so many ways - yet, they remained loyal to each other for 51 years.

    She never could read his stories for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time, without getting so angry she'd have to put the book down and walk away from it. 'He just got so many of the facts wrong', she'd say. Mom's a stickler for details - Dad was a master of embellishment.

    They complemented each other so well.
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