I only knew Gunny as a drunk who slept his evenings away in his corner chair, and drank his days away with the enabling of his wife and secretary.
Frankly, I’ve been putting off scanning his “baby book” for years. It sat right next to the old scanner waiting for my attention….one of those boring projects that seemingly waits forever. Forever came a few days ago when, instead of working on the blue quilt, I turned my attention to the pile behind my computer.
It only took a little while to sort the piles of paper, to direct other items into new directions, and pull the old scanner out for easy access. It isn’t just a baby book, I discovered, it was the story of one child’s life, one man’s life - birth to death.
Gunny is my father, and I remember so little.
By going through this “baby book,” I found pictures from his birth almost through his death. There he is on his father’s knee in skirts. Yes, baby’s wore skirts in those days. There he is next to his mother on the steps of someone’s home. Tiny photos, sometimes nine to a page, make scanning them endless and reinforce how much this boy, this young man, this graduate of Berkley, of the University of Arizona with his LLD, this reluctant WWII soldier, this drunk was much loved.
I do remember a red MG sports car pulling into the driveway one sunny day. I asked later, and mother said it was just an old friend coming to visit. No friends ever came to visit tho I knew Gunny had some friends. Years later, mother told me that it was Killian who came to talk to Gunny about AA.
As I scanned the pages of the baby book, I wanted to yell to him, “Stop smoking now. Put down your pipe or you will die an awful death.” And later at the young man just marrying my mother, I wanted to tell him, “Go with Killian when he comes to make a 12th step call on you. Go to AA.”
I remember so little.