Saturday, June 18, 2016

My #Dad's Service Diaries--A Gift by Karen Rose Smith

My dad was born in 1916 and was never very vocal or emotive. At least not when I knew him. After my mom passed on, I inherited his service diaries. I didn't read them for many years. I took a cursory look at first and did not realize the wealth of information about him that was in them. So much that I never knew.

I have a photograph album too from his years in the service during WWII. But without descriptions, the pictures didn't tell me much though they did have dates. Once I read the diaries, I could put the photos with his words.

My dad wrote in the diaries every day he was in the service. He was never much of a writer though he did write me letters when I was in college. But in his diaries I saw the names and addresses of the men he served with, I felt the adventurous spirit that was once my dad's, the beauty he felt being on a transport ship sailing toward Naples, the joy when he arrived there, the camaraderie he felt with his buddies. His parents were Italian emigrants and being in the country where they were born had to mean so much.

I learned he was at a base in Oregon, stopped in Utah, traveled through Chicago and ended up at camp Patrick Henry in Virginia.  From there he boarded the General Richardson and sailed with almost 5000 soldiers to Naples.  While in Italy he visited Caserta, Bastia, Florence and Rome. His platoon was even received by Pope Pius XII. We were a traditional Catholic family and I never knew that.

Near the time he was due to be sent home, he received news that his youngest brother had been killed in the Philipines. He mentions it in his diary, though not his feelings about it. But I noticed in his entries after that, he wrote letters home more often.

I wish I had read these when he was still alive.  I have so many questions.  I wish I had read them much sooner.  These diaries are 74 years old and besides my dad's handwriting and thoughts, contain a certificate of proficiency in a course of Armament, a Reservation for Purchase of Defense Savings Bonds, and an enlisted man's pass for Portland and its vicinity. They are a treasure trove of information I never knew about him.

Thank you, Daddy. Because of your diaries I can still feel your presence and remember so much more.


Karen and Paddy
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 95th novel will be released in 2016.

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 

1 comment:

Muffy Wilson said...

Karen, I was so pleased to read your blog post about your father, especially on a day that means so much to me and always has. My own father was born in 1923 and dies 9 years ago at 84. We were so lucky to have him all those years. He was the first man I ever fell in love with and my only Super-Hero. Now that I am caught up on all my writing commitments, I will be starting my father's book. He wrote a book about his life. When I first read it, I was horrified. It has been proly 25 years since I read it and I am hoping he has improved. It was hard to read about my dad's sexual exploits as a young man. I think I can deal with it better now. Perhaps you should consider publishing your dad's journals with photos for the rest of the family. It may mean as much to them as you and it is another way to discover more about your father through people that loved him too. Good Luck, and thanks for sharing your father with us.
Blessing from SWFL,