THINGS I WISH I HAD ASKED MY PARENTS ABOUT
Both born in the 1920s; died in the 1980s. They lived through incredible changes in the world. So many things I should've discussed with them. Here are a few:
- •World War IIMy dad served in the Navy in the Pacific (more on that later). I have no idea what my mom did during that time (they didn't meet until after the war). I wish I had asked them about things like whether the patriotism as portrayed in the movies and newsreels of the time was really like that, and how they felt about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And so many other things.
- •The Great DepressionMy mom's family had money, and I know my father's father was employed throughout the depression. So I'm pretty sure they weren't dealing with soup lines and unemployment, but I know it had to have affected them in some way. I wish I had asked about that.
- •Movies and televisionI know what their favorites were because they talked about that. But I wish I had asked more about their experiences. What were their favorite movie houses like? What was it like to see a movie in color for the first time? What was the first television show they ever saw?
- •What my mom did before she met my dadMy mom was an enigma. She didn't meet my dad until she was 25. She just never talk about herself, and I have no idea what she did between college and the time she met my dad. I know she worked in Manhattan, but I don't know what she did. (By the way, Manhattan was my mom's word for "you can't have it"- we'd ask for stuff and she'd say, "oh, you have to go all the way to Manhattan for that." We lived in Chattanooga, so…).
- •My dad's time in the U.S. NavyHe was on active duty for a total of four years back in the 40s, but you would think from talking to him that it was the only job he had ever had. But when I think back on it he didn't really say anything even though we talked about it all the time. Wish I had asked more about the specifics.
- •PoliticsMy dad was a dyed-in-the-wool Republican. I have no idea what my mother's political leanings were. She never talked about it.
- •The Cold WarWere they is freaked out by the "spread of communism" as the media portrays people of the time to be? Were they freaked out by nuclear proliferation? Did my dad consider ever building a fallout shelter?
- •ArtEverything I know about art I learned from my parents. I don't know anything about art.
- •And 100 other thingsWhat kind of things did they worry about? What kind of plans or aspirations did they have? If they had things to do over what would they do differently? So many things I wish I could go back and talk to them about.