After seeing the movie The Imitation Game, I was inspired to write the following.
He left his German home, a small village named Dreis, at seventeen, not knowing any English when he landed in America. It was during the rise of Hitler as Germany’s leader.
He was one of seven children of a poor Catholic farming family. The only one to oppose Hitler; his three brothers died as soldiers in WWII.
My dad only knew an aunt and uncle when he arrived in America hoping for an education in medicine, but their relationship did not bode well. Soon, he was off on his own, learning English by taking menial jobs such as an elevator operator, saying “Going up, going down, please.” Eventually he entered school at Cooper Union in New York City, became a United States Citizen, and then as an intelligence officer, was off to war to fight Hitler’s tyranny, against his birth family’s country.
I am continually in awe of my daddy’s courage, his sacrifice, his love for truth and liberty, which always sparks my childhood memory of our American family. Dad and mom took us three children to the annual Cornell’s Schelkoph field fire works, preceded by several marching bands playing in various formations, then marching down the path in front of the huge stadium where everyone stood up as the flag passed by.
My dad being a mild-mannered man surprised me by tapping the man’s shoulder who stood in front of us, saying:
“Please remove your hat, in respect of the flag.”
For the freedom I, and most of us take for granted. Which connects me to another memory of my mother, who served in WWII as a registered nurse. (My parents met on the ship returning home from the war, my dad being mom’s patient.)
As an adult, while looking at her photographs taken while serving in the war, I asked her, “Why did you choose to be in the war with bombs going off around you?”
With tears glazing her eyes, mom replies, “Someone had to take care of those men.”
Just this holiday week, I cried while watching The Imitation Game, sobbed really, while hearing the woman, once fiancée to Alan Turing, (the man who broke the Enigma code of the Nazis, which led the Allies to win the war against Germany), say:
“You cannot leave, you are the man who saved millions of lives, who persevered against tremendous odds, (he was homosexual which was then against the law) who gave so much more than anyone can imagine,” or something close to that.
My dad was that kind of man, who adopted me when my mother wanted to put me up for adoption, me being a child of rape. Who loved me abundantly as he did his two biological children who were born after me. I am meant to be here, so I am not leaving my very greatfull-for-freedom-ringing-homeland until I “Di,” (die) the endearment my daddy called me.