A story of passion and Gods grace.
My father was in the Army in Korea in the early 1960’s and never really spoke of anything about his time there except the time spent with friends and weekend time. He had an album of black and whites I was fascinated by as a child.
For years we looked through the album, and he shared stories. I wish I had written more of them down.
As many years pass, he doesn’t mention the album or the stories and after a flood in my teens, I was convinced the album was a goner.
In 2012 my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer and COPD. A death sentence really. ( Miracles ensue not long after but that’s another story entirely)
While he was recovering from a surgery, I grabbed my laptop and climbed onto his bed to edit as we sat watching westerns, like we had done since I was a little girl.
He looked at me and said, ” I hope I am well enough at some point to go with you on a shoot.” I prayed so hard that day. I would love nothing more than for him to see what I do. The conversation didn’t end there. He proceeded to tell me of his days as an Army photographer in Korea and reminded of that album and the old B/W’s I use to tirelessly thumb through. My mouth fell open in amazement!!!! I NEVER REALIZED that HE was the photographer!!!! My mind was blown!!! All of those photos now had new meaning!!! To see through my daddy’s eyes as he would have, while framing the shot, choosing the best composition, capturing the moment. What had happened to that album?????
All of the details he shared of dragging his tripod all over Korea and developing the film in an ammunition bunker, MANY stories of his best buddy Daigrepont and how he wished he could relocate him, were just some of the stories I had never heard before. It made me happy and sad at the same time because I would have loved to have sat in that bed, now a professional photog and discuss my passion with my daddy.
The day never came the he would go with me on a shoot. He passed away Sept. 2, 2014. A huge piece of my heart will forever be ripped away!
While Spring cleaning, I found a box that contained my brothers scrapbook I made of newspaper articles from Desert Storm. He and his wife served proudly. As I reminisced through levels of my brothers momentos I get to the bottom of the box and EUREKA!!!!!!!! My dads Army Album on the bottom of this box. By the grace of God alone, at some point, my brother had gotten the album and it was saved from the flood. I cried and cried as I clutched it close to my heart. Almost afraid on some level to even open it. I gathered myself and proceeded to flip through the album. Looking now with a new perspective at the talent I never knew my father had. I knew he was very creative in other areas but this blew me away.
As I looked through them I couldn’t believe how many shots had his buddy Daigrepont in them!!!
I was emboldened to not only restore these memories but to find his pal Daigrepont. I took a chance and searched his name on Facebook and got a single hit of his name in a post someone else had loaded. I HAD FOUND HIM!!! I found a nephew on Facebook and began the continuation of wonderful story.
I was able to contact his wife and was afraid of what she would say when I asked how he was doing. She said, “Considering he has struggled with PTSD from tours in Vietnam, hearing loss and now COPD from years of smoking, he is fairly well.” I cried with tears of relief to find he was still living!!! I was able to share the photos with him!!! He told his wife of stories and fond memories of his time as my dads best Army buddy!!! My heart is so filled with joy that I was able to fulfill part of my dads dream of finding him. Just so sad he wasn’t here to be a part of it.
Thanks for reading the story and remember, MAKE TIME NOW!!!! We aren’t promised tomorrow. PRINT THOSE PHOTOS AND HANG THEM ON THE WALLS!!