Saturday, April 25, 2015

Lest We Forget....My Pop

Nan and Pop
I have photo's and posts half written to share about our Germany trip and homecoming, but while I don't normally get too into seasonal blog writing, this morning nags at me that I have something to share.

Today marks 100 years since Australia landed at Gallipoli. Like all Australian school children, I learnt about Australia's contribution to the wars, and I was taught to show respect on Anzac day. Celebrating in school ceremonies, coming together with family to watch the parade on TV, even watching it in person once or twice and getting caught up in the excitement of waving to the marching veterans, or waving my little Australian flag.

I'm an Aussie. Oi Oi Oi.

I remember having a fascination with my Pops contribution to WWII. He was one of those romantic people the songs were sung about, just like those stately gentleman that marched past each year with their heads held high, occasionally with a little grandchild capering at their feet. I couldn't imagine anything more exciting, a moment to be so proud of, to watch my Pop march past on Anzac Day.

My Pop never marched. Not once that I know of anyway, although who knows what happened before I was born. 

With my mind inflamed with stories of heroism and sacrifice, the next time we visited Nan and Pop in school holidays I promptey asked to see his medals and hear stories from him. With a suddenness that came as a shock, I was hustled away quickly to a different room, and told I couldn't ask Pop about the war. There were to be no questions. It was explained that Pop didn't like to talk about the war, it wasn't something exciting for him as it was for me. It was a life changing experience that never left him, and was a big part of who he was. 

Donkey Races in leisure time

Pop never marched in the parades. We didn't watch the march with him on TV either. I was told he watched the march by himself each year, and locked himself away in privacy to relive his memories with no one but himself. But every year at Anzac day I would think of my Pop, the stories of heroism and sacrifice no longer seemed exciting. Instead they seemed dark and intimidating. I'm sure the older generation of my family that grew up with Pop have their own memories. Maybe there was a time when he could talk about it. Maybe he was OK to talk about it with his wife and children. But certainly for me it became the elephant in the room, a period of Australian history I was fascinated in but could never ask about.

"Someday no-one will march there at all".

My pop died back in 2002. He made it long enough to come to my wedding, and cuddle my little baby. It means so much to me that he was at my wedding, the only one of my Grandparents that was. 

I didn't expect anything from my Pops (and Nan's residual) will. They had 5 kids, so many grand kids, and modest assets. It would never occur to me that there would be something for me. But my Pop left me a set of his miniatures. I've gotten them out and told my stories of Pop many times over the years. I've let Miss 14 take them to school (under strict security instructions) at this time of year for show and tell when she was younger. 

Somehow it's so very special to me that my Pop remembered my fascination, and while he couldn't indulge it in his lifetime, he wanted to indulge it in his death.

Lest We Forget Pop.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I'm sorry. I meant to comment on this post on Anzac day when I read it, but a busy life got in the way. I loved your post. It is so beautifully written and evoked memories for me. I didn't know Pop as well as you did because I didn't know about a lot of this, or seen these pictures but you have made me think about him a little differently and even thought it probably wasn't your intended result, I think thats a good result. And know exactly what you mean about the wedding. I was lucky enough to have Nan at mine, and the photos are lovely. well done you xx


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