Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Choices and musings about the past.

My grandfather wanted me to join the Navy.  He'd really enjoyed his time in the Navy.  I think he regretted not making a career of it. 

I graduated from high school in 2003.  The Navy didn't really appeal to me all that much.  I had some bad memories of sea sickness as a child, and I knew I'd never be a pilot so I wasn't interested. 

I wanted to join the Army.  It wasn't a huge, burning desire, but it was something I felt I should do.  I thought military service was a good idea for a lot of reasons for a young man just finishing high school.  I still do. 

My grandfather spent a lot of time talking me out of it.  "You'll have to run a lot.  You hate running."  "You just won't like it."  He finally got his way when he said he'd pay for school as long as I'd go. 

Looking back, I think maybe he was more interested in shelling out thousands of dollars for college classes rather than taking the chance I'd be getting shot at in Iraq.  Maybe I'm wrong about that, but he was a protective old bastard.

Anyway, other things that I've talked about elsewhere kept me from joining later. 

Tonight my brother gave me a few items from my grandfather's time in the Navy.  He wanted them put up somewhere safe.  Looking over them it made me wish I'd talked to my grandfather more about his time in the Navy.

The Anchor and The Bluejackets' Manual

One thing I do remember is how much he loved Australia when he was there.  He gave serious consideration to emigrating there and taking me and my brother with him.  I'm glad he didn't, but I wish he could have visited again before he died.

It never even occurred to me until today that he had been trained on the M1 Garand.

There are so many conversations that I didn't have with the man who raised me as his own son, the man I call 'grandfather' in his absence but that I called 'Dad' almost my entire life.  I wish he hadn't been such a mean drunk in his last years and that I hadn't been forced to walk away from the chaos that was life at home.  I wish a lot of things.  

I think he'd have had a better and more fulfilling life if he'd gone career Navy.  I think he knew that, and I think he regretted it.  That may be why he wanted me to join up.

I could be wrong about all of it, but it's a gut feeling I have.   


Stephen said...

Thank you for sharing...we all have regrets later in life. Lord knows I do. And yes, many of us that served back then were trained on the M1.

RobertM said...

You're welcome. Thank you for reading.

Borepatch said...

What a wonderful, thoughtful post.