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Happy Father’s Day Dad


Posted: June 15, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 15, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Maybe your dream came true. You and I traveled through an atlas that we both read together after War World II. You pointed out to me The United States of America and I was listening to you carefully. I had no idea where this country was. You explained to me that the Americans liberated France from Hitler. You had a lot of respect for those people. I was young and I did not understand yet the impact of our freedom from an ill man.

You have suffered during War World I and it was something you did not want to speak about. You were 29 years old. I have learned what happened to you through my oldest sisters and brothers.

When God took you from me, I was not 8 years old yet. I thought you were traveling in the sky and you would come back to me letting me know everything you had seen. When I understood that I would not see you again on earth, I cried for two years. I missed you.

You were my pillar. I felt protected next to you. I was the only one to be able to play with your French béret and we spent hours, me seated on your lap and taking your béret off your head and putting it back on.

I was an excellent student and the first in my classes. One time I was the third. Why? I don’t recall. I was so ashamed of myself that I hid my grades under Mom’s pillow. I thought you were going to be angry at me. You never elevated your voice talking to me, and I was obedient. Did that come because we were very Catholics? When Mom found my grades and showed them to you, I cried. You did not say a word. Silence was worse than a conversation. It did not happen again. I was first always first in my class since.

When you died I lost my appetite. I loved you so much. You taught me to not steal. One day, we went to the baker and when you were having a conversation with the owner of the shop I took a pack of gum. I opened it and ate some of them. I was maybe 5 years old. When we left the shop, you saw my mouth opening and closing. You asked me what was in it. I even did not know…. Where did you take them? At the shop. Come with me, we are going to return the pack of gum. You never take something from a shop that you did not pay for. My Dad gave me a lecture that day, but did not accuse me of being a bad child. He explained to me the reasons why I should not do what I did. My Dad was honest and a philosopher. I loved him more that day.

He thought I was going to be a teacher. I wanted to be. After his death, I was still an excellent student. I even excel over the children of teachers in my village to achieve first in class.

When I was 13 or 14 years old, something bad happened to me. I could not concentrate for one year. I wished my Dad would have been there. Next to me he would have helped me out for anger I had against men. If he would have been alive, such things would not have happened. He would have sent to jail the person who hurt me. I could not understand, and I stopped learning.

One of my brothers and his wife rescued me. I went to live with them and I was registered to a school with only girls. I was far from my village, not scared anymore, and I studied very well. I was the first in my class again. I could have continued that way. My brother and his wife were not rich and could not continue to pay for my studies. There, after my first diploma, the Principal of the school tried to find a way for me to continue to go to school but without money there was no solution.

I worked, was happy and wanted always to learn well in my jobs.

Dad, today are you proud of me? I made it to the United States of America. I learned to work for the company that my husband and I begun. I taught myself my new language. I have met several Veterans that have freed France, and I am happy. Your love for The USA I have today, and you are still in my heart. I love you Dad. I will never forget you. I miss you still.

Happy Father’s Day Dad.

Anne Marie Whalley is a member of the Golden Pen Writers' Guild.



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