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  • Tom Boyd

Pride and Pain

In memory of my father, Robert E. Boyd

May 28th, 1918-May 1st, 1998

“In 1930, 2.25 million boys and girls ages 10–18 worked in factories, canneries, mines, and on farms. Children left school to support their families.”

“A 1940 survey revealed that 1.5 million married women had been abandoned by their husbands.”

My father grew up in the rural south during the Great Depression and was the oldest of four children. His father abandoned the family during the depression and Dad supported his Mother and his siblings the best he could. He worked many jobs and found time to complete high school and a little of junior college (both unusual pre WW II). He appears not to have had time for girls or friends. He joined the army in 1940 and he saw seven years of combat in World War II and the Korean War before retiring from the army in 1961.

His experiences made him a frugal taciturn man while being smart and well read. By the mid-1940’s he was a master sergeant and later Mother pushed him to become a warrant officer. My German mother expected all her boys to be successful and try harder.

My father had great difficulty in expressing his emotions. I cannot recall him telling my Mother  (when she was conscious, he did at the hospital when she was unconscious), her oldest son (my brother Bernie Gregor)  or me, his only child, that he loved us.

In 1960 when he came home after a year in Korea on army duty, I ran down the stairs at home and gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. He told me then boys don’t do that. I was 12 and never knew if he meant the hug or the kiss or both. I would not hug him again until I was 45 (1993) when my wife pushed me into doing so.

Father showed his love by his actions. During WW II and after, he sent money to his mother and siblings. He never complained about life nor talked of his experiences. At times he loaned me money and never lectured or gave a sermon with the loans (which I always repaid).

I wish he could have been expressive. I also wish I had hugged him more and told him that I loved him prior to May 1st, 1998. Being taciturn can be hereditary.

taciturn(of a person) reserved or uncommunicative in speech; saying little.

Synonym:  untalkative, uncommuicative, reticent, unforthcoming, quiet, secretive, tight-lipped, buttoned-up, close-mouthed.


They say some couples

Should not have children.

Even one, even one

May be one too many.

If history repeats

Oh, if history repeats,

I fear for my any.

Teb 1970

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