I haven’t posted in a few days…I was actually out of town.
My Aunt Ann passed away on the 3rd and I went home for her funeral. I’ve actually lived in my current location for much longer than I lived in Indiana where I grew up, but I still consider myself a Hoosier at heart and consider central Indiana home.
Anyway, I went home for my Aunt Ann’s funeral. She was 83, a good god-fearing woman, a schoolteacher, wife of 61 years and mother of four. She had a rough last year so it’s good that she’s at peace and with God. Uncle Bill, her husband and my Dad’s brother, is also not doing well and I fear he won’t be long behind her. My Dad had 9 siblings, of which only 4 remain.
At any rate, while at the funeral, I found out a couple of things about my Dad that I thought I’d mention for posterity.
First, during the funeral, my Mom spoke. She related how, as a young college student at Marion College (now called Virginia Wesleyan University), her roommate and best friend Ann had invited her to go home to Sheridan with her over a weekend. Once they got there, Ann had a date with her boyfriend Bill, Ann didn’t want to leave Mom out, so she told her that Bill had a brother and asked my Mom if she’d be willing to go with Bill’s brother as her date.
Mom said she’d never been on a blind date before so she was a bit reluctant but, for her friend, she agreed. That’s where she met Ray, my father. If it hadn’t been for Aunt Ann, I’d have never existed. I owe her my life and I never even knew it.
To be fair, I’m sure at some point or another I’d heard that story before, but I hadn’t remembered it. I’m glad for the reminder.
The other thing I found out just by accident. I remember my Dad having a private pilot’s license when I was young. A few times, Dad would rent a little Cessna or Piper from the local grass strip airport and we’d fly around and look at the county with a bird’s eye view. I always thought that was the coolest thing. It eventually got too expensive and he let his license lapse, but those are some good memories.
What I didn’t know, and what I found out, is that my Dad had actually gotten his pilot’s license while he was in high school. He and a friend, right after high school, went in together and bought a small plane that they hangered and flew out of the tiny Sheridan airport. Mom said that after they met, he would occasionally fly to Marion from Sheridan to meet with her and go on dates.
When he was drafted into the army in 1956, he sold his interest in the plane and he and Mom got married. He still flew enough to keep his license active up until the early 1970’s, but I never knew he’d started so young or owned (half) a plane.
I know they’re not earth shattering discoveries or anything like that, but they’re just little tidbits that bring my Father’s life just a little bit more in focus. He wasn’t one to talk much about himself so although I know the broad strokes of his life, it’s the little details that are missing so when I get some of those from someone else, it fills in a little blank spot and brings him just a bit more to life for me. These are the kinds of little details that, when Mom and I are talking about him, don’t normally come out unless something specific in the conversation sparks the memory.
I need to have more conversations like that with her. If I find out any more little tidbits, I’ll write them here as well so hopefully, these stories won’t all be lost to time.