My first summer job was working as a soda jerk at my parents’ pharmacy, Orchard Drugs, in Toledo, Ohio. I was 14 and that summer, the fountain actually lost money. Apparently, I was way too generous with the syrup, ice cream, nuts and other toppings. Ah, but it kept me out of trouble, my parents reasoned, and I made good tips.
I also made many friends, including one delightful woman who came in occasionally. She never told me her name or that she knew my folks, but after I went back to school in the fall, she called my mother to tell her what great manners I had, such as when I said, “It’s my pleasure.”
As I would learn, she was the mother of a young serviceman, Flight Officer Robert Warren Heyn, who was killed in World War II. He was a member of a bomber group stationed in England; the plane he was navigating, the Flying Fortress, was shot down in combat over France. My mother, to whom he was engaged, had a nightmare premonition of his burning plane tumbling from the sky a couple of nights before it happened.
World War II was the deadliest military conflict in our history. It is estimated that between 70- and 85-million people perished– about 3% of the world’s population in 1940.
I don’t know if Bob was the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Heyn, but I have wondered if the woman who befriended me that summer may have regarded me as the granddaughter that war stole away—and that fate would later return, if only for a brief period of time.
I would have liked to have known her better.
War may be a necessary evil on this planet, but the fact remains that it is a thief that not only takes away our children, but our children’s children as well. It robs us of our future
family members and, along with that, our awaiting dreams, memories, reunions and celebrations. The survivors are left missing not only their loved ones but yearning for the ones who will never be.
On this Father’s Day, we honor our fathers, celebrate fatherhood and pay tribute to those men whose lives were taken too early in service to their nation. Many were never given
the opportunity to become fathers, but they are remembered nevertheless.
We hope you enjoy our June edition featuring one of our favorite fathers and family men, Hugh Jackman. See you in July.
Terri Bryce Reeves, Editor
“Summer is not obligatory. We can start an infernally hard jigsaw puzzle in June
with the knowledge that, if there are enough rainy days, we may just finish it by
Labor Day, but if not, there’s no harm, no penalty. We may have better things to do.”
~ Nancy Gibbs, former managing editor for Time magazine
Cover photo of Hugh Jackman by Ben Watts
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