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The Passing of a Generation

The Passing of a Generation

 

When my grandparents passed, I remember my Dad saying that one of the hardest parts was knowing it was now just him and his generation. Nobody on top. He was it. I remember getting it, but thinking it was such a premature thought, there being such a long road still ahead. When my Dad died, that thought reappeared. Nothing above.

Except that there were. Several aunts and uncles, one of whom, Ralph, met my Dad, his future brother-in-law, for the first time in Germany. Ralph was a Major in charge of supplies—booze most importantly. Dad, a second lieutenant, was the recipient of many of those supplies, making him a most popular commanding officer. At the end of the war they reunited at Berchtesgaden, after the Allies bombed the place. 

When they came home, they became as close as brothers. They were very different in many ways, but they were both very much a part of that optimistic generation that knew no bounds. They had conquered the enemy. They could do anything. They were educated and smart. They loved pranks and they loved people, though in very different ways. They were both entrepreneurs--Dad started his own New York City law firm and Ralph ran the family toy business. Dad was an early widower and Ralph was married for seven decades, caring at a young age for not only for his own kids but his niece and nephews too. They both adored their grandchildren, who were the sun, and the moon and the stars.

My uncle passed recently, quietly and peacefully at the ripe old age of 99. My cousin Emily said her Dad believed in and lived the four F's--Family, Friends, Food and Fun--and a G for gratitude. As we gathered for the holidays and told stories about them all, we all wished not only that we could hear them just one more time roar with laughter at their own wartime high jinks, but also that we had spent more time capturing those stories when we could.

We all miss them. We are grateful they were in our lives. We loved them and they knew it. And we always will.  

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