It was years ago, decades, actually, but I can still see him: my father carrying that tattered white box out to the blue lawn chair and sorting through all the letters he’d told me were to and from his parents before he went off to war.

I’d usually see him from a distance, waiting by the screen door for him to finish, watching as he read, listening when sometimes he’d chuckle, or mumble something out loud, then holding up a photo of his dad who died while my father was overseas. Shaking his head, my dad would carefully place the letters and photos back into the box and stare off at nothing.

I would sit beside him then, only a limited comprehension of his journey but always knowing what would come next, “Pops,” he’d say, calling me by one of my nicknames, “If only you had known your grandfather.” And he’d smile at me nodding back at him and reach down to pet our dog.

On that lawn all those years ago I couldn’t possibly understand his loss. Nor could I have ever imagined that I would one day say those same words to my own children, “If only you had known your grandfather.”



Ann Oppenheim
07/15/2013 11:28pm


I love this photo of you and your father! What fun times you both had together. This photo certainly states the love you two had for one another. Thank you for sharing this fabulous photo!

Charles O'Connor
08/11/2013 5:58pm

What a lovely photo Anne.


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