Memories a Mouse-Click Away

Yesterday was December 6, a common enough Friday with a personal attachment: the 14th anniversary of my father’s death. The gloomy winter weather made for a perfect day to stay in, bake yummies and reflect on a good man.

Today is December 7 – the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor – and another reminder of Daddy, but as a young man gone to war.

He enlisted rather than be drafted and within months was at sea.

Daddy on bike w_ enlistment announcement cropped

His travels around the world fueled a future love of geography and history, but of his actual military service, he was very quiet. Through old newspaper clippings, we learned the details of Daddy’s surviving the sinking of a destroyer on D Day and a second destroyer’s sinking off Okinawa.

Daddy_first charlestonian D Day cropped

I asked him once what it was like at war, and he answered I was scared…just like everyone else. Scared, until his shipmates’ lives were at stake.

A letter typed on the thinnest of onionskin and delivered at the war’s end, alluded to his bravery.

Daddy_navy pic and orig letter about commendation cropped

A formal letter of commendation spelled it out. And the mystery of the Daddy_medals commendation letter cropped

green and white striped “ribbon” answered – a lapel pin for “acts of heroism…”

Thank goodness for these bits of fragile news clippings and letters, because they are the tangible links to the character of a great guy, who never sought the limelight.

Daddy’s two anniversaries have me whoozy with nostalgia, and for whatever the reason, as I sit here writing this, I googled him, and whattaya know…he’s out there!

What’s so fabulous is Daddy is speaking about his days at Beaufort High School as a football player, when he and his friends were lauded as the town’s heroes, and still years from a war.

The piece was written in 2011 and Daddy’s interview from much earlier, before he was ill and then gone.

In a paperback about Beaufort, I found this photo and relevant caption:

Daddy_Beaufort HS football team cropped

A hero on the field and a hero in the field…that’s Bertram “Bookum” Levy.

I’ve been such a pain to my own sons about my need for their real, actual, handwritten notes, so down the road, I might have something real to hold and read, which emails are not. And then, through the simplest internet search, I am gifted my father’s long-silent voice.

What I’m just now accepting is that all forms of communication have value and while I may never see a grandchild write his/her name in cursive, I will treasure whatever their means of expression. And should they ever be curious about who we were “back in the day,” a google search will do it.

xx EllynAnne