Your Father’s Stuff

Many of us have fathers who are no longer with us.  This can present an unexpected surprise.  His memory ends up best being captured in something he gave us or that we took from his house, in many cases, without realizing that the item in question would become so important in our memory of this important man.

I always expected the main remembrance would be evoked by photographs or old letters, maybe some of his books or even an old hat.  I was quite surprised to find that he comes alive for me in a blue ceramic statue of a hippo that he had bought at an art museum.  It is bolted to a black block of wood and measures maybe eight inches long and four inches high.  It’s not high art; you wouldn’t notice it right away.  But that dang hippo reminds me so much of my father.  It’s beat up, cute, chunky, irreverent, and solid.

What do you have of your father’s where you find his spirit still residing?

72 responses to “Your Father’s Stuff

  1. I wrote this just last year…

    My Old Aardvark

    Today I walked out to the garage and saw my old aardvark. His tail is lost; his tongue and its attached ant are gone, leaving a hole at the end of his nose. His ears are drooping and flaking away. Three legs are broken and he stands like a dog sitting, offering a paw. His eyes are the same, but with a dusty, aged look.

    I created my aardvark years ago in the eighth grade. We were assigned a paper mache project and I chose to do an aardvark since I liked the word and the aardvark in the B.C. comic strip.

    The aardvark’s body was a bleach bottle and his nose was a long inflated balloon. His legs were toilet paper rolls, his tail a piece of rope and a stiff wire served as his tongue. His ears stood up with little folds at the tips. Layers of paper and paste connected and molded these mismatched pieces until my aardvark took shape. I painted him reddish brown and his eyes were slightly crossed, bloodshot, big white ovals with blue irises and black pupils.

    Dad liked my aardvark enough to adopt him and keep him in his room. It was his personal game room, office, junk room and bar. My dad had my aardvark in his room for over thirty years. I realize now how much more of my dad my aardvark saw, that I never did.

    I was close to my dad. We both loved military history. He had a bookcase of model fighters and other bookcases filled with military history books. He had stacks of war games and magazines. Together we re-fought the battles of Gettysburg, Stalingrad, Midway, and Waterloo.

    I went away to college, returned and lived with my brother. His house was close to Dad’s and I visited often. The aardvark was still in my dad’s room, keeping watch over him. I would talk to Dad about the new games and magazines he had collected and about other things, but the history/game connection was our strongest bond.

    Over the years life moved me further from Dad. His hearing went away and health problems contributed to his diminishing mental acuity. When I did visit, we talked less and less. But I always got a chuckle out of my aardvark, still in dad’s room, still observing.

    When my dad passed away, his room was left pretty much alone. I still visited and browsed through the games, magazines and memories. My aardvark watched me now.

    Mom passed a few years later and we had to sell the house. I got my favorite games, books, magazines, and items that triggered good memories. And the aardvark; I looked at him, laughed, and brought him home with me.

    Today, I walked out to the garage and saw my old aardvark. My first memories were of junior high and a paper mache project. Everything is broken except for his eyes. I looked at his eyes and wished I’d seen everything they had seen.

  2. Good piece, and well worth recording this. Great ending too!

  3. My father’s stuff. January 2014
    (excuse the mistakes, forgive the sinner)

    I lost my father when I was 11 years old. He was 46. My mother never married again.
    Most of what I remember of my father is his moments of desperation
    trying to breath in the middle of an asthma attack which came often enough to disrupt any kind of family routine and that kept me away from being closed to him.
    While in Cuba, I kept some tools he used, a gold pocket-watch with a blue ribbon and a suit I liked and which I wore a few times.
    Years later, together with my wife and our one year old son, we left Cuba right after Fidel Castro took power and came to this country, leaving behind (by force, not by choice) all memories, photos, mementoes and anything other than the clothing you were wearing.
    For many years, I lived with no tangible past, with nothing that I could hold in my hands and connect me with my previous life.
    Then one day I received an envelope sent by a relative containing some family photos one of which was of my father.
    That photograph is now framed and hanging in my office room.
    That’s all of my father’s stuff I have.
    With time, I was able to bring my mother to the USA where she spent the rest of her life with us until she passed at 83.
    Today, I have my soul and my heart filled with joy for having enjoyed my mother for years; for the pleasure of having been married to an exceptional woman for 54 years and counting and for the immense happiness of seen our two sons created beautiful families that have given us 6 grandchildren.
    However, there is a void inside me that has never been fulfilled, and that is that I still miss my father.
    In my prayers at night, I ask God to send me a dream of my father. However, for some reason He has never done it.
    When I die, I will ask whomever comes to take me away that, first of all, I want to see my father for I want to embrace him hard, kiss him with all my love and tell him that I missed his stuff.

    • Good “stuff”, Lando

    • So sorry that you missed out on your father’s presence. It sounds like you built a wonderful family and many memories for your children and grandchildren.

    • Cheryl aka Shaddy

      I admire you even more now than I have in the past. To possess the gentle and caring spirit you have, Lando, in spite of the rough start you had in your early years, is something you can be very proud of. I venture to say that your father was much like you.

    • It’s so cool that you received that photo so many years later, what a treasure it has to be to you. I can imagine the emotion it must have evoked when you first saw it.

  4. This touches my heart. It is so hard to lose a parent at a young age. May your wish someday be granted.

    • Ann, thank you for your words. 2 questions:
      1-Why, after you mentioned it 5/6 ago, I still remember the ceramic statue of your hippo.?
      2 I’m trying to send a note to Linda Mac, on his piece, but the system rejects it saying that my reply can’t be posted. Do you know the reason for it?

  5. “I inherit dad’s red jacket.” These words were from our only sister after dad had died. Her eight brothers had no problem with the inheritance, because she was the only girl and that’s all dad owned when he died. Oh, of course he had a few items of other clothes, but his signature red jacket was how we remember him.

    Dad didn’t want stuff. He was satisfied with the “jacket on his back”. He was a man with very little desire for riches, if fact, he lived a thrifty life.

    Calling him a tightwad might be harsh, but he cartainly was not a spendthrift. Dad would use teabags and dental floss more than once. He could be seen, at church, pulling out a damp tea bag out of his bib overalls, to dip into a cup of hot water. He saved grease from bacon and lard in order to make soap. His children wore hand-me-down clothes. Dad would often joke about virtues of being poor and not owning stuff.

    However, the last laugh was at his funeral. As we walked by his open casket my wife whispered that he look very small in the huge casket. Little did we know that dad did not even own his casket.

    During the lunch, after the ceremony, my brother announced that he did not have to pay for the casket, because someone else had ordered it and decided they didn’t want it. We had a good laugh about dad saving money again.

    But the story was not over. Two months after dad had died my bother received a check for $1000.00 with a letter saying that since the funeral home did not have the right casket there was a refund due.

    For his nine children dad’s stuff was his love and care he showed during his long life. Sister still has the envied red jacket.

  6. I’m unable to pick just one thing—mementos of my dad are sprinkled all over our house. Photos of him and mom placed on walls and bookshelves tell the story of their love, his military service and our family. An elaborately engraved silver tea server that was his mother’s sits on my sideboard, currently waiting for me to shine it back to its original luster. His old blue bathrobe hangs in my closet and every once in a while I put it on, feeling his hug each time. Three balsa-wood pictures, made before his hands got too shaky, adorn the wall in the family room; the one of the General Store is my favorite with its perfect detail. I still use the coffee mug I gave him for Father’s Day before he passed away. On it is a picture of him and me sitting on a blanket in a park, me reading a book and him a newspaper. We have the same pose—I think I was four. Above the photo on the mug it says My Mentor, My Hero, My Dad.

    One of the greatest things Dad did was to write a book for my brother and me about his life. It’s 132 pages long, spiral bound and holds pictures and memories of his life as far back as he could remember. The cover page says: “These writings contain some of my personal thoughts, memories, letters, papers on a variety of subjects, ditties, and musings. Many people have had a hand in my enjoying a wonderful life, but none more than your mother, both of you, and Robin and Diane. This will give you a glimpse of our family history and an insight into other people whose friendship I cherish. Love , Dad.” This book is wonderfully special. I think I got my sense of humor and my love of writing from him, and for that I am eternally grateful.

    • What a treasure he created for you. I think we can all be inspired by this example. Thanks for sharing his idea!

    • Cheryl aka Shaddy

      It’s really interesting to know that your father was a writer too. How sweet of him to share his life with you and your brother by writing a book.

      We are both fortunate to have so many things surrounding us that keep our fathers close.

    • I love how you say you feel him hug you when you wear his robe. That is a awesome description.

  7. it never goes away

    Really? Are all of you being honest or are you in denial? If its the former, I envy you. If it’s the latter, well stop. As writers we need to tell the raw, ugly truth. What are my memories? Oh. Huge fists plowing into me, a leather belt, humiliation, degradation, pure hatred for him and obviously, his for me. But what I want you to know I was just a little girl.

    • Cheryl aka Shaddy

      I’m sorry you suffered so terribly as a little girl. My life with my father wasn’t all pretty and tied up with a bow either, but I’m fortunate to have some good memories that balanced the scales. I choose to recall the good ones.

      I felt my father’s fists also and I remember that humiliation and pain. I think the pressure of providing for five children overwhelmed him. As we grew up and moved out, he treated us much differently.

      I admire you for being the first writer to tell it like it was, not glossing over the bad parts as I did. I fear you don’t have any good memories to focus on.

      I pray you’re making your own way with positive memories to recall.

    • It’s a fact of life that there are both men and women who should never be parents. I am sorry you were stuck with one, especially when you were too young to defend yourself. I don’t really know what to say except don’t let that define you, don’t let the his bitterness become yours. And yes, I don’t know what you went through, are going through, and no I’m not a psychologist, but please don’t let him to continue to abuse you by letting all that junk define you now. Sorry if I meddled in where I wasn’t wanted.

      • I’m glad Cheryl and Walk have posted a reply. I’ve thought about what you wrote all day and couldn’t come up with a response that was worthwhile, except that I’m sorry for what you endured. They have summed it up beautifully.

  8. Cheryl aka Shaddy

    My father was good at making things out of wood. If I had everything he made for me over the years, I fear there wouldn’t be room for me in this house. Whenever he saw an item made from wood that he particularly liked, he’d whip up his own rendition from the scraps he kept in his garage.

    As I seek to recall my favorite or most meaningful reminder of my father, I’m first thinking of all the Christmas items he has made. I marvel over the detail he put into a table top wooden Christmas tree that he created with tiny, gold-painted candle holders fitted with tiny candles on each of the branches. When I think of the time he put into this holiday ornament, I cherish his departure from a rather gruff and removed personality to one of careful precision and attention to the tiniest of details.

    My mother dominated our family. My father’s spirit was often beat down but his woodworking allowed him to express himself beautifully without interruption and without saying a word.

  9. Cheryl aka Shaddy

    Parrot Writes: I do still have the tree Dad made along with several other Christmas decorations. I hate to put them away when January arrives. He loved working in his garden too; I didn’t mention that. He loved the simple things in life; it seems nothing in life is simple anymore. Ew, how negative is that!!! After writing that, I reckon I need to try seeing things as Dad did. Dad’s spirit is definitely alive and well.

    • Cheryl aka Shaddy

      Now I can’t seem to stop writing about my father. He loved nothing more than putting in a day of hard work. Give him a shovel and he’d work endlessly on whatever needed to be done. No complaints, no nonsense. Okay, I think I’m done for now. Thanks, friends, for reading this.

    • Dad’s spirit is definitely alive and well. What more do we need? That’s something people lose sight of when a loved one moves on. It’s the spirit that moves us not the body.

    • I’d love to see that tree, could you, or have you posted a picture of it on your blog?

  10. I’m not sure this belongs with the other memories posted. You all talk about some specific item, but I can’t do that. I think about my parents a lot now, what they had to do and how they faced things. When I compare their deeds with mine. I feel insignificant.
    Anyway- what do I have of my father’s stuff? You know, here I am ready to crowd eighty-three and this is not an easy question. And if you’re thinking it’s a memory problem. No, not so. The problem is teasing out the meaning of stuff. There’s not much in the way of material things certainly nothing you can rub like a magic lamp and wishes are granted. I did keep the 49 Ford pick up and the .410 bolt action shot gun for a time but they’re gone now.

    As I scribble away an answer is forming. As I say I don’t have anything hard to touch. What clings to me most was his passionate way of life and his clear display of those passions. The boiling raging anger when six hundred feet of sidewalk got plowed back in by a city snowplow; his great good humor and his enjoyment of visiting neighbors on Sunday morning.
    I remember his love for growing things. I remember the tulip beds vividly. The owner of the estate loved flowers and she had gardens everywhere. Pop would plant close to a couple of hundred bulbs in fall and after they bloomed he’d take them out, and dry them in onion bags to be ready for next fall. He paid attention to their colors and he used their colors instinctively.

    My father was the caretaker on a seven and a half acre hill estate two blocks from the center of town.. Growing up there in the thirties and early forties was a lot of fun, my brother and I could build tree huts and camp out in her woods. Only five acres were civilized, the back land was wild. But there was always work for us. Pop, my brother, and I worked all year round. In the summer it was maybe three acres of lawn maintenance, cutting, edging and watering. In the fall leaf raking, and in winter it was snow shoveling. That was hard. The circular drive that climbed the hill to reach the house was one thousand two hundred sixty five feet long. I know that because years later the old lady offered us the place and we took it. I didn’t want it, but my first wife and my mother “talked” me into it. I had to resurface that drive so I know exactly how long it was. When I was a kid, Pop, my brother and I shoveled that drive. If the snow was deep it could take two days. After that we shoveled six hundred feet of sidewalk that was her front.

    My father loved doing things. After Thanksgiving he’d take me with him in that truck and we’d go out and cut evergreens for Christmas decorations. The owner had a two bay garage – only one was used – for her Oldsmobile, black of course. Pop would bring in his greens into the other bay, fire up the coal stove in there and make wreathes, door sprays, and grave blankets. He had a good time making those things and I hung out there with him enjoying the smell of the greens, the warmth of the fire and the occasional gulp of red wine from the jug he had there. All the neighbors received either a wreath or door spray: the Dahlgards, the Albees, the Wagners, the Sullivans, the Wagers, Mrs. Fairfield, Mrs. Anderson, and Doc Anderton. The ladies were widows and he tried to take special care of them.

    After WW II ended he managed to buy a Farmall Cub tractor with all the attachments moldboard plow, two harrows and a snow plow. When snow came he and I would go out plowing. It got cold in the wind, no cab mounts then. We’d plow both sides of the street after we did the drive and our walk. I asked him why we did that and I think he said for the fun of it. To him nothing gave him more fun than doing someone a favor, and I guess that’s the stuff that Pop left me, finding the pleasure in helping.
    Now what I find interesting is that both my daughters do those things and they never got to know Grandpa.

    • I love the part about making wreathes by the coal fire, that had to be a special time. I imagine the scent of fresh cut green brings those memories back to life.

    • Great stories about your father, Paul. Make sure you share this with your daughters, even if they didn’t know him. Family history matters so much.

    • Paul, I enjoyed reading the way you described part of your younger years with your father and the fun you had in each other’s company.
      Good piece.

  11. Cheryl aka Shaddy

    These are beautiful memories, Paul. Finding pleasure in helping others is the best attribute we can possess. Your father was a wonderful example of that.

    • I enjoyed reading the memories of your childhood and where you lived. Sounds like a wonderful place to grow up (and now live) with a wonderful father who shared so much with you.

  12. When he passed, one of the things I couldn’t bear getting rid of was some of my father’s diaries. I would sit and read what the weather was like, what he had done that day, who he saw on his run to the post office to check on mail, and always something about “Bessie”, my mother.

    While going through all the different years, I picked up book that was thin, different from the rest. I opened it and saw that he had started writing in it after he had his first heart attack. He chronicled the time he spent in the Army Air Corps, from when he left his home in Wann, Oklahoma, to his basic training at Fort Sill, to his training in the glider corps at what is now Whiteman Air Base in Missouri, and where he met my mother. From there he spent a couple of years in different bases in England and France. He mentioned names of his buddies, some of their escapades, which town had the better looking women (I’m sure mom never read this) and how he wished for a drink of fresh milk.

    From this experience, he instilled in me a love for this country, for those who protect it, both at home and afar, I guess it’s what used to be called Patriotism. He flew the flag every day without fail, if he was sick or away, he had someone fly it for him. I remember watching him time after time, raising and lowering it.

    Although I have many tools he used, objects he made, even mementos of his father, they don’t trigger the memories of him that seeing a flag fly, a solider coming home, or even when passing a VFW does. I know that no matter where I go, he’ll be there, along with countless others who have served this land. I heard a saying once, that the wind doesn’t cause the flag to wave, but the breath of those who fought to protect it. When I pass by one, I know it’s him waving at me.

  13. “…it’s him waving at me.” What a great line. Those WWII guys are dying out, and that’s a shame. I hope you’ve had a chance to see the WWII Memorial in Washington DC. It’s very moving. There are usually a few vets there, some in wheel chairs or using canes, and it means a lot to go up and thank them for their service. They saved the free world.

  14. ” the wind doesn’t cause the flag to wave, but the breath of those who fought to protect it” Makes me tear up. I talk with my old adjutant frequently. who sometimes used my butt for a soccer ball, but he planted all those educational time bombs that went off later as I tried to teach. I owe him and a few others an immense debt.

    Thank you

  15. Ann, “your father’s stuff” has the makings of a complete book! Revelations of every sort, including one questioning our honesty with ourselves, make for interesting and sometimes extremely emotional reading.

    I knew that little blue rhino was important from the get go, just as one of my peers did.

    I spent my entire childhood never being touched, hugged or kissed. Neither one of my parents ever said “I love you.” I was well fed, and had a stable home with parents who provided for my brother and I. I now know that I spent many years trying to find ways to gain their love and approval, without ever realizing I was looking for it.

    My father was a kind, friendly man, hard working and respected by everyone. Only later, many years after both my parents were gone, did I find out that my mother was the one behind the lack of affection in our home. I learned she had been molested by a relative as a child, and had apparently convinced my dad to keep his children at arms length.

    When I was a small child, I remember often standing behind my dad, combing his hair. I now realize I did that because of a need to touch him.

    I’m an old lady now, but to the day I die I will wish I had somehow managed to find the courage to tell my dad that I loved him.

    • Cheryl aka Shaddy

      I can “so” identify with you. I’m sorry for your childhood experiences. They are very sad. It’s nice that you eventually learned a possible reason for your parents’ aloofness. My parents never said “I love you” and never touched, hugged or kissed any of my four brothers or me. Like you, we were well cared for physically. I’m thankful for that. I do wonder what my siblings and I would be like if we’d felt loved in a more obvious way.

      Sorry friends for airing my laundry, but sometimes it just needs to be done. I seldom cry but I am right now as I write. Thank you for being here.

  16. Tell him now-he can hear you!

  17. Cheryl, Thank you so much for showing me there are others like us. Sometimes we need to unload, and Ann is wonderful about providing the platform.
    Are we permitted to exchange email addresses here? I’d like to talk more, in private.

  18. Photos from Africa at my blog: it is everything and so much more than I had expected or hoped for.

    • Gullie: What can anybody say about your trip to Africa?. Terrific photos, extraordinary adventure, incredible moments of your swinging on a rope above a mad river. Good for you. Enjoy to the max but keep it safe.

    • Cheryl aka Shaddy

      What a ride you’re taking all of us on!!!

  19. to Meegie and Cheryl: I feel sorry for you, ladies. I think that having a father but not been able to be closed to him as you have described in your stories is more painful that loosing him at an early age as I did.

  20. Ann, your memory of the little blue rhino triggered this memory from me, which I posted in your “home” section. However, I now realize I didn’t explain why my little elephant was named calico. I hope you don’t mind if I repost it here. I think you can delete the first one.

    This elephant figurine was a gift for my fortieth birthday from my late husband Ken, the first gift he ever gave me. He’s hand painted calico, about two inches tall, cream colored with gold braid, trimmed in green leaves and topped with red tapestries.
    Ken surprised me with a family party, even though we weren’t a family yet. We were fortunate that his children and mine were so accepting of one another.
    It seems odd to me now, after all the years he’s been with me, that I never gave my elephant a name. I suppose it’s never too late, so I’m going to name him now. He will be called Calico. Imagine having to wait until you’re thirty nine years old to get a name!
    When Ken gave me this gift, he said “an elephant never forgets,” and if that’s true, this little guy has a head full of memories. He moved from “my house” to “our house” after Ken and I were married.
    We each owned a home, both comfortable, and big enough for visiting family when the need arose, but we found we were neither one completely comfortable in the “other house.” We sold both of them and bought a brand new place of our own, one that had never been lived in by anyone. It was ours in every sense of the word. What fun we had, like playing house.
    This was in the mid 1970s, just the beginning of the home computer phenomenon, and Ken was an early geek, developing his own systems and writing his own programming languages. He needed a place for all of the necessary gear, so that was the first thing decided. He’d take a guest room and make it his workroom.
    The rest of the house pretty much fell into place as we moved our furniture in and found the best places for our treasures. The master bath became a tropical forest of beautiful plants, more gifts from my beloved. Calico had his own tiny jungle, and happily put down roots there.
    Those were incredibly happy years, spent discovering California in our motor home, and spending long vacations at beach campgrounds, where we would arrange to meet friends, coordinating our reservations. Calico was there, in his special place near the front so he could see where we were going.
    About eleven years after we were married we decided it would be easier to just move to the beach, rather than loading up the motor home each summer. We bought a lovely home about five miles from the beach, again brand new and never lived in. We had the fun of making it our own all over again, and Calico moved to a place of importance, on the corner of the organ in the family room.
    Eight years later Ken was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Our lives were turned upside down, and took on a pattern of doctor visits, radiation, chemotherapy and hospitalizations. When Ken was in the hospital, I was there with him. We never spent a night apart in all nineteen wonderful years we had together. Calico was always there, in my bag.
    My pretty little elephant still accompanies me wherever I go away from home. He’s been my constant and faithful companion for so long that I’m afraid I had begun to take him for granted, sitting here on my desk.
    After writing this, and looking back on all we’ve been through together, I realize I must give this tiny treasure more respect. He’s moving front and center in the family room right now.

    • Cheryl aka Shaddy

      What beautiful memories you’ve shared here! I’m thrilled to know you have a “tiny treasure” to remind you of the giant cache of memories you have of your life with Ken.

  21. As well he should. So many memories attached to this tiny treasure.

  22. One of the inherent flaws of nature is that an egg must be fertilized to animate life. I vaguely remember my fertilizer, but I remember some of the things he left. In the early 1930’s he left his first family. It was during the depression and they were starving and homeless. He ignored their plight and pursued a life of mirth and gaiety. In the 1940’s he married again. And again he left the family destitute; the children were sent away to proprietary care for a while. With his second family steeped in poverty and torn apart, he pursued a life of mirth and gaiety. The only good thing he left, is when he left this earth.

    • Cheryl aka Shaddy

      Your father left hard times to those he should have given much better things. Life isn’t fair. I am sad for the victims of irresponsibility. I pray you have found peace and happiness in your own way.

      • Waldo, my heart breaks for you. May you find enough joy on your journey to make those painful memories fade into oblivion. My childhood was not a good one either, but I am loved now.

        With a warm, loving hug

        Jeri aka Meegiemom

  23. oliviascarlett

    My father died penniless and had nothing to leave behind except for the stories he told. One story, about an old butcher’s knife that belonged to my grandfather, a knife that now resides in my son’s kitchen, stayed with me. I wrote this story about that knife and my grandfather a couple of weeks ago on St. Patrick’s Day. I hope it’s okay to share it here, I am a very new writer:

    The early October sun was slowing rising over the eastern hill when my grandfather entered the barn to “get on with it.” His duty, he knew, could no longer wait while his sentimental, Irish heart wrestled with trite ideas of right and wrong. His family needed to survive. The Great Depression was at his doorstep and the Christmas holiday was soon upon them. A day that would not be properly celebrated without meat. It was up to him then, to gather up his pig, the one he had refused to name for this very reason, this very day; the day of the slaughter.

    As he honed his knife across the supple leather, he forged ahead while tears crept into the corners of his eyes. It would all be over soon and his family would be fed. It was his duty, he told himself, as he made the first blow. The pig let out one last cry and fell backwards onto the bed of straw that grandfather had arranged for him there. And it was over soon. My grandfather collected the bounty and obediently laid it out on the kitchen table for my grandmother to wrap, mostly, and prepare some for today’s Sunday meal. A meal that my grandfather would not join in, not today or any day, he knew, as he walked into town for a meal of whiskey and beer.

    My father retold this story to me many times when his own sentimental, Irish heart would sit and remember his father. Today, as I tip my glass of Guinness on this glorious St. Patrick’s Day with my son, I think of my father and solute the sacrifices my grandfather made so our family could live.

    • Wow, what an incredible story. I can add nothing, being a child of the post depression era, except to acknowledge the awful sacrifices our families made.
      Great writing, Olivia

  24. oliviascarlett

    Thank you! I was drinking at the time. 🙂

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