When I was a boy and a young man, I was not curious about my parents and their families. What I knew about their lives came from overheard conversations and a few stories told and retold. I knew Dad and Mom grew up in our city, Columbus, Ohio. Occasionally Dad turned down an unfamiliar street and pointed to a house where he or Mom lived as a child. Among the scattershot facts I grasped: Dad ran track at Holy Rosary High, and Mom played basketball at St. Mary’s although she was barely five foot and one inch tall. They were married at St. Augustine’s just before Dad went to basic training in the army. I was told several times that I was walking when Dad first saw me after the war. I absorbed much about my parents, but not nearly enough.
I did not learn more about them, my aunts, uncles, second cousins, and my grandparents because, sadly, I was not interested in their lives as children, teenagers, and young adults before I was born. Their stories did not capture my attention. The basic facts about their personal history seemed sufficient when I was younger.
Now there is no one to ask. All my older relatives are all gone. I ruefully imagine how much they would have enjoyed relating their life experiences if I had shown interest. Today I would relish this knowledge. Their memories would greatly enrich my life.
I have resolved to record information about my own life and my family. My children, Tracy, Jake, and Scott, have not heard many of these stories about my family and my life before the scenes they remember from their childhood. Even today when they are no longer young, there are few opportunities for imparting this information to them.
In addition to my children, the principal readers I had in mind as I wrote these stories are my beloved grandchildren Sophie, Julia, Zach, Oliver, and Finley. I want them to have this account of their recent forebears when there is no one to ask. I hope these stories will be as gratifying for them to read someday as it has been for me to chronicle them.
I also hope that other family members, friends, acquaintances, and anyone else with an interest in my life and times will enjoy some of these stories. Comments, corrections, and clarifications are welcome.
I greatly appreciate the instruction of Carolynne Scott and Denise Trimm, the constructive criticism of my classmates, and the encouragement I received from all of them as well as Jim Reed and Teresa Thorne. Finally the moral support of my wife Susan Matlock, my children Tracy, Jake, and Scott, and my sisters Kathy Cooper and Margy Panthana has been invaluable.