My dad’s mother died when he was nine years old and his father, who ran the local smith shop and ice house in the 1940’s, died five years later. At fourteen my dad was orphaned.
Because my dad had no other family that would permanently take him in, he went to live at Father Flannigan’s Boys Town in Omaha, Nebraska until he graduated from high school. He remembers his dad’s booming voice singing loud in church, his unmistakable laugh, his work ethic, his discipline. He remembers his mom’s long dark hair, the enormous cast iron pot she washed their clothes with lye soap in on a daily basis, as well as her compassionate embraces. He then remembers the shock of it all gone within five years.
He then knew the deep pain and loneliness of not having anybody to call family, no one to spend Christmas with; nobody to tell him that he was loved. My dad would tell me how he wished someone would want him enough to adopt him. He missed having a family. He wanted another family, any other family. He knew the importance of family and its beauty at a very young age.
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