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  • My father came from Los Angeles and my mother was born in St. Louis. They met on a blind date set up by a friend of my dad’s when he came “home” with him on a Christmas leave during World War II or “the war” as it is known by their generation.
    Dad says he was in love with her from the first. They danced the night away and when the war was over, he came back to St. Louis to be with the girl of his dreams.

    But it wasn’t all fairytale. Times were tough after all the guys came home. My dad needed to go back to school and make something of himself if he expected my grandmother to allow her daughter to marry him. Many times I’ve heard the story of how she was the one force that was responsible for his success. He went to night school and studied commercial art. My grandmother was very proud of him. He went on to eventually be the president of the St. Louis Art director’s guild and was well respected in his field before he retired, but I digress. I really wanted to tell you about him and the love affair he had with mom for over 65 years.

    They got married and for a time they lived with my grandparents. They weren’t the only ones living there as my aunt Nina and uncle Matt and my uncle Aub and aunt Ginny were there also. As their children were born my aunt Nina and uncle Matt moved to their own place. Then after I was born and we could afford it, we moved to a small house. My first real memories are of that flat topped single story house. It was at the top of a hill, which came in handy when my dad bought his first car. He would roll down the hill and pop the clutch to get it started to go to work. I remember it had running boards on it but not the year.

    Our neighbors were just starting out in life at the same time. My mom used to trade canned goods with Ginny next door, so that each would have something to cook at supper time. I grew up loving corn bread and navy beans. I didn’t know we were poor and that was all we could afford to eat. By the time my brother and then my sister came along we had moved to a brand new neighborhood. You know. The kind with no trees. Dad continued to work at what he loved and we prospered. And the trees grew.

    They did so many things together that people always thought of them as “Tim and Vera”…like a single entity. They danced ballroom dances with a dance club and taught all of us kids to dance too. I learned the tango and samba dancing with my mother. Not the same as with a romantic partner, but she was a good teacher. They joined community theatre and we were all “no neck monsters” in a local Cat on a hot tin roof production. I’ve already written about the summers they took us camping almost every weekend.

    I moved away when I was 18 and the saying is kinda true about you can never go home again. You can go home, but it’s never the same. I used to come home on a weekend liberty only to find someone else sleeping in my bed. I would curl up on a corner of the rug and wait for daylight when everyone got up. Our house was a wonderful way-stop for all kinds of colorful characters. I never knew who was going to join the “cast” each time I made it home. If I would be gone too long, which happened often, I would have a lot of catching up to do and new “family” to discover.

    When my mom died this last year, I worried about my dad being alone. But, I should have known, he’s never alone for long. He and my mom made so many friends in their small community that every one has come forward to keep him busy. He still paints and has become proficient at using the computer to Skype with everyone. He is busy in the community theatre and with all of the local artists.

    I know he has his down moments, but he is a trouper and refuses to slow down more than he has to. I’m envious of his energy and happy for his wonderful life with a loving wife. I need to get down there to see him soon. It’s been too long.
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