On March 31st, 1942 Grandpa entered into active military service. Grandpa sent Grandma love postcards and pictures from the war. Some postcards were jokes to make her smile, others he just poured his heart out. None of the pictures were serious. Most pictures were him posing. All had two common themes, his undying love and how unworthy he felt of her, even referring to himself as a sad sack.
It is sad. Grandma never felt worthy of him either. Grandpa was breathtakingly handsome and Grandma looked just like her biological mother, a knockout. Other people were always trying to get their affections.
No man but Grandpa was noticed by her, but Grandpa did more than notice other women. He behaved as men of his time did. It had not only been acceptable but expected. The world was changing though and such things were not accepted by the next generation. This changing worldview may be why the poor handsome farm boy felt unworthy of his brides’ unconditional love.
Grandma always had problems with her self-image. Her biological mother abandoned her to be raised by her father and his wife. Her sister, the daughter of her father and adopted mother, was competitive for her parents’ affections and often received more attention due to a learning disorder she had. As time passed her self-esteem grew but still, she never felt fully worthy of the others full love and affection. She knew her husband had mistresses. That did not affect her self-esteem at all. To her, that was commonplace and she never felt threatened emotionally.
The time Grandma and Grandpa spent apart during the war must have been as hard on them as it was for any and every other couple. Hearing grandma tell of that time, even after almost fifty years, I could hear the longing and pain she had for him during the war that seemed it would never end. After three years, six months and three days in service, on October 2nd, 1945, Grandpa was discharged from service.
When the war ended and Grandpa came home they obviously took some well earned time to show each other how much they loved and missed one another. On June 28th, 1946 my father, Ronald was born.
My Dad is an only child. Grandma Maxine had many pregnancies after she had my dad. No other wore born. It was very hard on them. It was not until after years of trying and many heartbreaks that they stopped trying. This is also when my grandma decided she would have a grand-daughter.
Life was hard post-war. Grandpa was not the same carefree man who had left. He became cruel and hard. He suffered PTSD. That combined with the emotional turbulence of a premature and sickly child and multiple miscarriages took a toll on them both. Time passed and healed wounds.
The life they had thereafter was hard but wonderful. Dad helped work the family farm, Grandpa would grab a pinch of Grandma’s butt when he could, and Grandma stayed at home to keep it all running. When farming was no longer enough Grandpa started working for the State on roads. She missed him something fierce every day.
Stay tuned for more.