By Don Lindsey
Through my parents’ eyes.
By: Don Lindsey.
Even though it was 42 years before I was born, 1932 was a very good year for me. That may sound strange, so I’ll explain. My parents were both born that year and obviously I wouldn’t be here without them and because of that, I would argue that 1932 was one of the most important years of my life.
It all started on January 12th of that year when my mother, Wanda was born. The oldest of four, she was responsible for helping my grandmother run the household and also for helping my grandfather manage a lot of the farming on the family’s property. She has always had a great work ethic and it’s my belief that it all started on that farm.
My father, Rocky, came along on April 21st. His father passed away when dad was 6 months old leaving my grandmother to raise him and his three sisters. This made my father “man of the house” and he took the job seriously working paper routes and odd jobs to help his mother out in the financial department. As with my mother, pop has always had desire to work as hard as he could, and I also contribute that to his upbringing.
After my mother graduated high school, she went into nurses training. When she graduated, there weren’t a lot of jobs open for her, so she took an office job as a secretary. My father, who struggled in high school, went into the Navy at 18 as a medic and received his diploma that way. This was during the Korean War and while he never saw any action, his service to the country opened something in him that drew him to public service. After serving his four years and getting an honorable discharge, he returned home and eventually became a police officer in our home town of Dayton Ohio. I’ve written before about their previous marriages and my siblings that were produced from those relationships. I’ve written about how they met, married and had me so I’ll focus more on the fascinating life that these two folks have lived and how the world that they live in has changed so much.
They are from the World War II era and remember when Pearl Harbor was attacked. They saw how the country came together to support the war effort and were moved by the patriot tone of the country at that time. It’s one of the reasons my dad went into the military when the Korean War was on going. He wanted to serve and make a difference. That may have been a key reason my mother went into nursing. She’s always had a knack to help and speaks about how the second world war shaped her patriotic view towards our nation. During the 1950’s my mother was starting a family and my father was starting his career as a police officer. When the next decade came around they started to see a direct change in the climate both socially and politically. My father talks about riots in the city he swore to protect as well as other riots across the country. He talks about his disdain for the Kennedy and Martian Luther King assassinations and how much the deaths of those two men set back a lot of the progress that could have been made through peaceful conversations. My mother has echoed the same sentiments and still remembers where she was when she heard about the tragedies. It still has an effect on her and you can hear it in her voice and see it in her eyes when she talks about it.
The 70’s saw my father leave the police force. He and my mother owned a bar shortly after I was born which seems appropriate considering that at 42, having a baby may have drove them to drinking so why not buy a bar? In all seriousness, my birth marked an obvious change in both of their lives and I became the center of their attention. There wasn’t nothing that they would not do for me and every time I’ve struggled, they’ve been there to pick me up. The 80’s and 90’s saw them be excellent parents giving me every opportunity they could to succeed. I squandered a lot of those and regret that but what I did hold on to is the sense of knowing right from wrong, something that I am passing on to my children.
These days both of my parents are completely shocked at with what society has become. No longer are patriotic feelings supported by all Americans. Now everyone seems to have a different opinion on what it means to be an American. Unfortunately, every politician will condemn violence and call for unity, but that’s not practiced. We are all responsible for our place in the world and it’s a choice to either build people up or tear them down. The latter seems to be the go-to for most folks and so the world that my parents grew up in is vastly different.
When they went to school, school shootings were something that they would’ve never thought possible. The same can be said for myself when I was in school and now in these times, I literally fear sending my kids to school. When they look back on their lives and see how we have rallied around each other during times of distress in the past, they can’t understand how we got to the point that we spew hate at each other and work to destroy anyone that doesn’t agree with our views.
During a week where we’ve seen multiple pipe bombs sent all over the country, and a mass shooting at a synagogue, I can’t help but look at the world through my parent’s eyes. I have talked to them a lot about the state of society and to say that they’re saddened would be a massive understatement. During my life, I’ve never seen a world without racism, anger and violence on some level and they have also seen the same thing in their 86 years, but if we don’t find a way to band together and stand with each other to quell these acts, we will destroy ourselves. I have come to that conclusion based off of the way that I was raised .
My biggest prayer right now is that we start to see what my parents have always seen and that is love will always conquer hate. If only that theory was practiced more often.
Don Lindsey is a follower of Christ, son, husband, father, and a survivor. Originally from Dayton Ohio, and resident of Apopka for six years, Don sees his life as a dedication to his wife, parents, children, and community.