It is the summer before my senior year when I will obtain my BSN (bachelors and RN in nursing), then being licensed as an LPN (licensed practical nurse.) My parents are living apart, and I am truly happy about it. As I am that they chose to marry, falling in love, “forever yours” as my mother wrote on a card to my dad, as they floated back to America after serving in WWII. If not for my mother’s adventurous spirit and my dad’s loving and courageous soul, my parents would never have met, dad being mom’s patient on the ship Huddleston.

As many relationships do, it fell apart with mom demeaning dad, despite her being a born-again Christian. All of dad’s family remained in his birth village, Dreis, Germany, so I took on the role of defender. Mom and I fought regularly whenever she criticized him or humiliated him in front of company.

Dad was a very present father, making us three kids a huge swing set, building us a club house, giving us baths, playing badminton with me after supper together, reading us bedtime stories – I could go on and on. Mom took good care of us physically, he did emotionally, nurturing us with Sunday hikes into nature where he carved a whistle out of a willow branch. (It presently sits on my blanket box in my living room). Every weekend I hike to waterfalls because of my dad’s love of nature and me.

Every week during college (and early in my marriage) I could count on a handwritten letter from my dad to be in my mailbox. My box of approximately 143 letters is my most precious possession!

The summer of 1968, I was happy to live with dad, to have him drive me to my summer nursing job, at Tompkins County Hospital (now Cayuga Medical Center) and to pick me up! with his welcoming smile and eyes of love.