My dad

There will be no further scholarly or intellectual-type posts today, as I can’t brain. But I did want to put up a picture of my dad—one I’d never seen before.

The story is this. A friend of mine was watching a television show that mentioned “Coyne” as an Irish name, which it is. (Mine, however, is pretty clearly a corruption of “Cohen”, as my DNA is pure Eastern-European Jewish.) Since my friend was researching her own ancestry, she got curious about the name and went on the Ancestry.com website (you have to be a member) and looked up “Coyne”. Among the public pictures she found, which can be uploaded by users, was this one:

She emailed this to me because she knew my dad was in the military, and asked if it was indeed my father (his name was Floyd), and I said, “Yes, it was.” But I was a bit taken aback, as a.) I hadn’t ever seen this picture and b.) the inscription, to my mother (I don’t think they were yet married), was very romantic.

The insignia on the hat indicates that he was then in the Army Air Corps (the precursor to the Air Force), which I knew he was—but the Air Corps became the Air Force in 1941. My father, who wasn’t allowed to join the Air Force because he needed glasses (pilots couldn’t have them), then joined the regular Army. This picture, then, must have been taken when my father was 23 or younger (he was born in 1918). He was a good looking guy, wasn’t he?

But the signature made me feel weird, and I’ve been pondering that ever since. Why should it have made me feel that way? My father was young, romantic, and heterosexual, and it’s completely natural that he’d put a romantic inscription on a picture to his girl.  At that age I was exactly the same way! Somehow, though, imagining our parents to have romantic or sexual urges makes many of us queasy—it’s sort of like incest.  Yet at the same time we know our parents are human, and shouldn’t be bothered by this kind of stuff.

I haven’t figured out why the inscription makes me feel weird, but maybe readers can add some analysis—or recount their own experiences.

The only remaining question: how did this thing get on Ancestry.com? Perhaps a relative was tracing our genealogy.

107 Comments

  1. Posted January 29, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    It was a different age. I have love letters my father wrote my mother in the 1930’s and they sound like they were from centuries ago. The language of love of the 1940s was shaped by the dialogue of the 20’s and 30’s and, well, penmanship was still taught back then. Your father’s “hand” seems well within the norm.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 2:42 am | Permalink

      And now they’re no longer even teaching cursive in schools. Pretty soon there’ll be the first of many generations who won’t be able to read it…

  2. Posted January 29, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    There’s an xkcd cartoon about this: https://xkcd.com/830/

    • Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Excellent! 🙂

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 2:43 am | Permalink

      Lol, love the mouse-over text. 😀

  3. Posted January 29, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Jerry, do you think your weird feeling emanates from the fact a photograph of him was added to a website and that it was not uploaded by you or a member your family?

    Yes, he was handsome = )

    • Posted January 29, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      I was wondering if the ‘darling’ was Jerry’s mom or someone else. He’s a very handsome bloke.

  4. GBJames
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Almost certainly a relative doing genealogy. I’ve discovered many interesting photos on Ancestry, although none of my parents.

    Your dad was born the same year as my mom. She was in the Army Air Corps, too!

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 2:45 am | Permalink

      Would that be a good place to start trying to find out more about a relative you really know little about? I’d like to find out more about someone but don’t know which site is the best.

      • GBJames
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        It would, yes. I think they are better than the alternatives, although I have less experience with them (heratage.com, for example). Where-ever you find yourself, you do need to realize that sometimes bogus info gets “out there” and finds itself passed from person to person.

        They also have a DNA tool that can sometimes turn up very interesting lost connections.

      • GBJames
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        It would, yes. I think they are better than the alternatives, although I have less experience with them (heratage.com, for example). Where-ever you find yourself, you do need to realize that sometimes bogus info gets “out there” and finds itself passed from person to person.

        They also have a DNA tool that can sometimes turn up very interesting lost connections.

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 12:34 am | Permalink

          Thanks, GB.

          After I queried you I went on to read several other mentions of Ancestry. com below–we seem to have a consensus. 🙂

  5. Ken Pidcock
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    He was a good looking guy, wasn’t he?

    They all are! I have a similar photograph of my father, born 1916, and he looks like a movie star. I think the people back then who sold portrait photography to soldiers just had a knack for making people look good.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      I’ve got my father’s army portrait photo from the 1950s. He looks pretty handsome in it, and that was not how anyone would describe him. Perhaps it was about having a really good pic to survive you if you died, and often it was the only pic in those days. I think Jerry’s dad appears genuinely handsome though.

      • Christopher
        Posted January 29, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        I’ve got a photograph of my grandfather in his Navy uniform circa 1942 (I’m guessing), and he’s no movie star. He looked every bit the scrawny little teenager he was. 18 years old and looked liked he couldn’t be more than 100lbs soaking wet. A far cry from the tall, strong, dark, and handsome man he became. Of course he had aged quite a bit by 1945.

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 30, 2018 at 2:47 am | Permalink

          There’s something very touching about that. It’s scandalous how young are the people we send to war…

    • Rita
      Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Good point! We forget that the camera doesn’t “see” exactly the same thing we see. And just because they didn’t have photoshop doesn’t mean the photographers didn’t do any touch-ups.

      • Ann German
        Posted January 29, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        I always thought, when I was younger, that the job of the photographer was to touch-up the pictures!!! We all lost our acne and fuzzy hair in the year book pictures of the 60’s … best I’ve ever “looked!”

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 2:51 am | Permalink

      But, pre-Photoshop, the basic features and smile must still be genuine, mustn’t they?

      I.e., yes! A handsome dude. Also looks very friendly and nice. 🙂

      And “with-it.”

  6. Cate Plys
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    It *is* always a little odd to read romantic inscriptions on pictures, in letters etc from back then, especially from our parents. I think it’s the wow-that’s-my-mom-and-dad thing, but also, I think it’s because they used a vocabulary that sounds much more romantic–even mushy–to more modern ears. We’re not used to hearing the phrase “my darling” anymore, but it was just normal at that time.

    I can’t help but think it’s far weirder for you due to the way you found it–such an intimate family item, somehow uploaded to a website by a stranger? Now *that* is weird.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      My grandparents were from that era and they used to say hilarious things like “I could get an ass full of fenders”. My grandfather used to tell that to my grandmother all the time and she would get all upset that he was talking about being killed suddenly. Ass full of fenders is a phrase I adopted because it’s funny and colourful.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        That literally (I had to use the word!) happened to my paternal grandfather during WWI, though he didn’t die. He had his buttocks filled with shot while being the last man diving back into the trench after a sortie into No-Man’s Land. The injury was bad enough he had to go back to England to have his buttocks removed. He met my grandmother while recovering.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          Oh my. Literally had his ass shot off. My poor great grandfather (or was it great great) was injured so badly in Turkey that he got sent to Australia to recover then was discharged and disabled all his life leaving my poor great grandmother to run the farm and deal with my ever feuding nana and her 4 sisters.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted January 29, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

            War destroys a whole lot of lives, and even more beyond the direct casualties.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted January 29, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

              I can’t imagine having to work that hard like my great grandmother and she loved a long time. I even talked to her on the phone as a small child. When her husband died, she was heart broken and died soon after.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted January 29, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

                Very sad.

                My great grandmother lived for 35 years after her husband died at 70, and mourned him every day. I can’t help thinking it might have been better for her not to have lasted so long.

          • Nobody Special
            Posted January 29, 2018 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

            My maternal grandad was badly wounded on the Somme. He always said that when he was shipped back to Blighty he left two things behind on the battlefield; half of his large intestine – and any belief in God!
            I have a photograph of him in uniform from 1915 when he was promoted to Corporal aged just 17 (born 1898, he lied about his age to enlist in 1914 just to get away from his own father, a former plantation overseer in India and a bullying Methodist minister with a fondness of employing a horsewhip to quell disagreements). Pictures of me at the same age show an eerie similarity, as though the picture of him is actually an artificially aged one of me.

            • Diane G.
              Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:00 am | Permalink

              “…and any belief in God!”

              One suspects there are a significant number of newly-minted atheists in foxholes!

              What kind of a species are we that we send our nascent adults to do the shit-work and risk their lives to preserve our treasure and status?

  7. Diana MacPherson
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Your dad had really great teeth!!!!

    Once I found a strip of paper my dad was using to test a typewriter. It said,”Dear Sir, I do not want to marry your daughter. Her face could stop a train in its tracks”

    And everyone wonders why I’m such a smart ass.

  8. Jenny Haniver
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Indeed, a handsome man.

  9. Posted January 29, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Wow, great. What an a wonderful unexpected gift for you.

    If imagining your parents being young and horny makes you feel weird, try imagining your grandparents.

  10. Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure why a geneticist would find this queasiness inducing, he’s only offering an exchange. 😉

  11. Dragon
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Pendant: The Army Air Corps became the Army Air Force in 1941. It became the Air Force (as a separate branch of the armed forces) in 1947.

    • Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      His uniform devices remind me of CAP devices I used to wear when I was a kid.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      I was going to say that but you beat me to it. 1947 it was. The Army and Air Force separated at that time but the Army PX and the Air Force BX combined later to become the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES). I worked for them 27 years.

    • Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Pedant: pedant.

      • Dragon
        Posted January 29, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        Right you are. I didn’t even notice as the misspelling was a valid word.

        • Posted January 29, 2018 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

          I’ve done it too, so I am glad not to be on the receiving end for once.

          • Diane G.
            Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:04 am | Permalink

            Me three. And worse–the subject had to do with male genitalia…

      • Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:13 am | Permalink

        Muphry’s Law

  12. Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I have my mother’s private diary from the age of about 20-ish & I cannot read it. It would not bother me if it were her parents or grand parents, but there is a feeling that it is too close. She certainly was ‘worried’ about not getting married – all her chums were wed before her, as as through the 19th century, if you were 23/4 & unmarried, people started to feel left behind. When she met my father they did not hang around, indeed they went on holiday together before they were married I discovered to my shock.

    Anyway, like Jerry I have no heirs so my genealogy ends with me… which both bothers me & doesn’t.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      I have. I heirs either and I’m an only child. However my father was adopted so there are people vaguely related to me out there who I don’t know.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:10 am | Permalink

        My biological father died before I was one. I eventually had a wonderful adoptive father, but I was never told anything about bio-Dad and more and more often it weirds me out to realize there’s another whole half of my heritage out there (my bio father’s relatives) I know nothing about. And worse, who haven’t cared to connect with me…

        • GBJames
          Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

          “who haven’t cared to connect with me…”

          But you don’t really know this! They may have tried and hit brick walls. Or they may not know how to go about it at all.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

          I met one of my cousins from my mom’s dad’s side and she has a half sister. There is a whole tragic story there. The records are sealed with my dad’s family which I find unfair. The state is more concerned a living relative will get a shock than allowing my dad and his family to know truth of his past, including disease information. When I had breast cancer I couldn’t give a clear picture of my heredity to my doctors. How is that fair? I did get my genetics done but that only tells you so much disease wise.

  13. dougeast
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    My father served in the Navy during WWII. After he died (my Mother died sometime before that) we found and read through their stack of letters to each other. We were also struck by the romantic nature of the letters. Locks of hair, lipstick impressions in the margins and even a swatch of lingerie remained in the letters. I remember being pleased to know that, even separated, they had each other during such a trying time.

  14. Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    It is a very nice photo– it looks professional. Some more distant relative must have had a copy.

    The Air Force was separated from the Army after World War II, in 1947 (not 1941), so he could be up to 29 in the picture. Details of the collar insignia and clothing style might allow a more precise determination. There are many websites for military history enthusiasts, and you might be able to find detailed uniform and insignia information on one of them, or even submit the photo to the site for dating. (Many sites have comment boards for these kinds of discussion.)

    • Posted January 29, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Some quick online checking shows that the cap insignia is of a WW II era U.S. Army Air Force Aviation Cadet. So, this picture would have been taken while he was in training, but before he shifted to Army ground forces.

  15. BJ
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Wow, you’re dad was a H-U-N-K! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised…

    I certainly wouldn’t be grossed out if I found a letter from my father to my mother with a message as mundanely romantic as that, but I would be if it went much further. I think (as I’m sure you do) that our revulsion toward the sexuality of close relatives is likely evolutionary. Feeling revulsion at the thought of anything sexual involving a group is good protection against engaging in sexual acts with any members of it.

  16. Heather Hastie
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I think it’s really lovely to have a new pic of your father after all this time. And he certainly was a handsome dude!

    My closest friend at university was a Coyne. She was from a strong Irish Catholic background.

    • John Conoboy
      Posted January 29, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      My paternal grandmother was an Irish Coyne. There was a rumor in the family that no one would talk about for many years that some ancestors had moved there from Germany and changed the name from Kohn, or Cohen to fit in, but no evidence at all for this. Very unlikely.

    • Posted January 29, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      I’ve heard stories of people who thought their ancestory was one thing and it turned out to be something else. Imagine if JAC discovered he was actually Irish Catholic. 😱

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted January 29, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        Quelle horreur!

        • Jonathan Wallace
          Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:53 am | Permalink

          ?

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted January 30, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

            I’m just trying to be funny. It’s not anti-Irish racism or anything.

            • GBJames
              Posted January 30, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

              You anti-Catholic bigot! 😉

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted January 30, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

                😀

                I have to be careful there. Most of my ancestry is Scottish. I’ve never had my DNA tested, but although most of the Scots in my lineage were originally Vikings, there’s bound to be a bit of Irish too. And I know that as recently as 120 years ago I had Catholic ancestors.

              • Jonathan Wallace
                Posted January 31, 2018 at 4:41 am | Permalink

                We’ve all got ancestors who held beliefs and views that are at odds with our own. There is no atheist equivalent of ‘original sin’ that means we should bear shame for those ancestors’ beliefs!

  17. Teresa Carson
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I think this is a wonderful gift to you, although I wonder how it is that someone else has the photo. Ancestry has allowed me to obtain many pictures of my grandmother and others in my family that I probably would never have had because my mother’s childhood home burned — they lived in the middle of nowhere on a ranch in California. I have been so grateful to get photos from distant relatives.

  18. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    My parents were both rather demonstratively romantic, but in other respects fairly ethically conservative about sexuality, not in the sense of being anti-gay, but in stressing the importance of fidelity, etc.

    It is this combo, I suppose, that makes me not at all queasy about being aware of romance with my parents, and it is (for me anyway) utterly different from imagining them having sexual urges!

  19. Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    The photograph on ancestry.com is in a Family Tree titled COYNE FAMILY TREE with the owner shown as jeffcoyne1. There is also a photograph of your grandfather Joseph Coyne (1882-1940). You being alive are shown along with a sister as ‘Private”. The picture was uploaded by Jeff Coyne.
    Hope this helps.
    PS At least it did not say NORWICH – a 2nd World War British Army acronym!

    • Posted January 29, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Ah yes, that’s the son of my father’s half brother. My dad’s mom died in the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, when he was just an infant, and his father remarried and had a son, Jack Coyne. Jack’s own son is Jeff Coyne, who taught law at Duke. He does know a lot about family history, and has sent me some stuff before.

      • Posted January 29, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        That part of your genealogy is screwed up. Your father is shown twice with two different mothers. I assume the one named “Bloom” is your real grandmother. There’s no more information about her.

        The Coyne line doesn’t go back very far. Your oldest ancestor is John W. Coyne (1803-1870) from Galway, Ireland . The other ancestors are from Prussia.

        • W.Benson
          Posted January 29, 2018 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          Larry, when are you going to get back to posting?

        • Gayle
          Posted January 29, 2018 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

          Interesting. So perhaps the ‘Coyne’ name *is* the Irish Catholic version of it after all?

  20. BobTerrace
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    My father was also in the Army air Corps but he is six years younger, so I was suspicious of the 1941 date. I looked it up and found this:

    “The United States Air Force became a separate military service on 18 September 1947 with the implementation of the National Security Act of 1947.”

  21. Paul S
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    While arranging a 50th anniversary party for my parents, I went through all their photos to make table displays. I was taken aback when I found a 50s vintage cheesecake photo my mom sent to my father while he was stationed in Austria.

    • Posted January 29, 2018 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      OY! That’s even more disturbing (or would be to me)!

      • Nobody Special
        Posted January 29, 2018 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

        Do you ever get an inexplicable craving for Guiness?

        • Posted January 29, 2018 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

          Why would a craving for Guinness ever need an explanation? 😉

  22. Jon Gallant
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Ancestry.com can discover unexpected connections. My immediate ancestors were all Polish Jews on one side, and central European Germanized Jews on the other. Ancestry.com turned up an Irish Catholic distant branch. A few years ago, a member of that branch, named O’Houlihan or something like that, wrote to me to announce that we are cousins.

  23. ladyatheist
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    My parents kissed??!?! EWWWWW!!!!

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted January 29, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Haha.

      My family was very Catholic, and discussions about sex were scarce indeed. Information even more scarce. What was very clear was that SEX was BAD. When I became an adult and rebelled against all that BS, I said to my mother (who had had nine(!) children): “Well SOMEONE in this house is having sex obviously.” She did not appreciate the observation.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:17 am | Permalink

        Lol! Smart-ass. 😀

  24. Pliny the in Between
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Similar experience with old photos of my Dad with inscriptions to my mother. But it was nice to see evidence of that spark of love which lasted through 60 years of marriage and even now persists beyond my father’s passing.

  25. Frank Bath
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Your father was a good looking man.

  26. Sarah
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    People who bought my grandmother’s house in 1967 contacted me years later when they were installing a new garage door. Down between the joists of the overhead loft they found a metal box that contained a series of letters between my grandparents in 1899, the year before they were married. There is no unseemly passion in them, but just a concern about each other’s well-being and activities. They were in their early 20s then, and it was fascinating to read their words to each other. (I don’t think the box had been hidden. The loft had been full of old furniture and bric-a-brac and it would be surprising if something hadn’t slipped out of sight.)

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:18 am | Permalink

      Very cool.

  27. Posted January 29, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    So “Coyne” as a so-called “Ellis Island” name? (I know the naming of that term is wrong, but …)

    Do you know who would have done it?

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted January 29, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Not necessarily. Ireland while under English rule went through a long period of Anglicizing names. O’ Comhdhain is rendered Cowan, Coen, Cohen and Coyne in Ireland.

  28. Posted January 29, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I suspect the “don’t want to know about my parents having sex or romance” urge is associated with the incest taboo.

  29. DrBrdyon
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I went on Ancestry.com and they had a bunch of pictures of my dad’s first wife, about whom all I had previously know was her name. It was kind of creepy.

  30. Posted January 29, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    My mother had given me an old family album that I don’t recall seeing before, and it included a copy of the telegram they sent to my grandparents, announcing my birth. It comments how ‘unpromising’ I looked, but that ‘we will know more later’ (!!??)

    • Nobody Special
      Posted January 29, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Suggesting that you were a ‘sickly’ baby, perhaps?

      • Posted January 29, 2018 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Yes. I had numerous complications, and they really were not sure about my chances for some time.
        I definitely grew out of it.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 29, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear. I think my parents have the telegram they sent my Nana when I was born. It was short because every word cost.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:22 am | Permalink

      Lol! That is a bit unnerving. 😀

      Glad you’re extant.

  31. Nobody Special
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Every child knows that they were conceived by osmosis!

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted January 29, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Wind pollination perhaps.

  32. David Duncan
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    “Somehow, though, imagining our parents to have romantic or sexual urges makes many of us queasy…”

    I’ll talk to anyone about anything sexual related.

    Except my parents. That I found frightly embarrasing.

    • Posted January 29, 2018 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      For those who remember National Lampoon, you may recall one of their funniest articles,
      entitled “The Night Your Parents Had Sex”.

  33. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    My father, who wasn’t allowed to join the Air Force because he needed glasses (pilots couldn’t have them) …

    My dad tried to join the Marines when he turned 17 in January of ’42, shortly after Pearl Harbor, but my grandparents refused to sign his induction papers until he graduated high school. By then, he’d decided to be a pilot, but flunked the eye exam, same as your dad. While he was scheming a way around that one, Uncle Sam drafted him into the Navy and shipped him off to the Pacific.

    Your antepenultimate paragraph reminds me of how I learned to knock on my parents’ bedroom door, but that’s an in flagrante story for another day.

  34. Posted January 29, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    The thought of my parents being intimate didn’t fluster me for very long. The walls were thin and I guess I got used to it. Having LOTS of animals helped too, to learn about the circle of life.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:25 am | Permalink

      That sounds healthy.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:33 am | Permalink

      Yes, thin walls, or being raised in propinquity to breeding animals, will imbue one with a certain earthiness.

    • Posted January 30, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      If you’d grown up in a traditional Inuit house, there would be no walls at all!

      (Whether tent, sod-house or snow-house (igloo))

      • Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        Same with living in a longhouse. Joseph Boyden`s novel, The Orenda, touches on the intimacies in those shared quarters. I recommend that book.

  35. Martin Levin
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    When I joined The Globe and Mail, two members of the editorial board were Andrew Cohen and Andrew Coyne. My Russian-Jewish grandfather would have pronounced them both the same was, is “Coyne.”

  36. James Walker
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Wow, what a handsome man!

    Floyd is an interesting name, not one you see a lot these days. My grandfather (1905-1998) used to tell me it was a variant on his name, Lloyd – English speakers have problems with the Welsh ‘ll’ sound (a voiceless lateral fricative) so the ‘ll’ often gets rendered as ‘fl’ (Llewellyn ~ Fluellen).

    When my Dad passed away 5 years ago, my sister made a collage of pictures of him she and my mother found in her photo albums. Among them were a number of pictures of him in bathing suits from his early 20s and I had a similar feeling to what must have gone through your head on seeing the inscription. We’re used to thinking of our parents as our parents and it can be odd for us to think of them outside of that role.

  37. EliHershkovitz
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Striking photo. Based on family pics posted you strongly resemble your father.

  38. GBJames
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    One of life’s greatest tragedies, I think, is to never get the chance to talk to your parents as age-equals. I’d give quite a lot to have a conversation with my dad as “young seniors”. Instead I had to settle to settle for me being a “young senior” while he was an “old senior”. You never get the chance to compare notes from the same point of view in your life.

    Where’s that time machine I was promised?

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:29 am | Permalink

      Yes. And now I often feel the same way with my (adult) kids. No matter how much I try to treat them as fellow adults I can see in their eyes and reactions that the old Mom of childhood reigns supreme.

  39. Posted January 29, 2018 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Freud’s Oedipus Complex Hypothesis may be correct, ha.

  40. Steve
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    As an avid daily reader, I admire the feelings you express for your father. I notice you speak of him often. I also think of my father everyday, who I loved so much and I am so grateful I was raised by two wonderful parents.
    Your memories of your Dad are wonderful.


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