remember him making
me laugh in pictures taken when I was six month old. But I can
his face off to the side in one poorly taken shot and I've heard the
of how my brother took his shoes off and wiggled his toes to produce a
I don't remember him sneaking into the
nursery in a
Battlecreek MI orphanage and taking me from my crib. I heard that
story all my life too. Thank goodness the police found us - it
January and though he had thought to cover me with a blanket, we'd have
surely frozen to death. We were separated for a couple of years
What I do remember is his first job
in a bowling alley and using his money to buy our mother a sewing
I remember him setting the stairs on fire with a chemistry set. I
remember him bringing home paper dolls for me and hiding them - giving
me clues in order to search them out because I needed to know how to
problems. I remember him walking to me to kindergarten for
weeks and then teaching me how to find my own way home because no one
ever rely on someone else to do for them what they can do for
I remember him brushing my hair and
putting it into
a ponytail and making sure I was cleaned up before our mother came home
from work. He was fourteen and I was seven.
He taught me how to box so I could
taught me so well that I knocked unconscious a friend of his when I was
eight. He taught me early that physical pain was nothing but a
and crying wasn't gonna help. He taught me that I needed to DO
when things were wrong - something to make it right.
I remember when during times of
total chaos in our
house and adults would forget to even feed my sister and I, him
home hamburgers from local diner to make sure we ate. He would
leave the house during these times and stay somewhere but he always
sure Faith and I ate.
I remember him teaching me to use my
head and to
think. He would tell me fantastic stories and, being my big
I believed every word he uttered. He would tell me to use my
that it was not possible to light a match under water like he said he
in order to go swimming when the ponds were covered in ice.
I remember when he joined the Army
and his first
time home on leave. Thirteen months later, I remember getting to
wear my first hose to the airport to pick him up after returning from
I remember him scaring the heck out of me when our mother, not wanting
to disturb him and his wife on the night he returned from Veitnam the
time, had me sneak a note up to their front door. From upstairs
his room he had heard a car stop and footsteps on the porch. He
the door open and I probably got my first gray hair that night at age
I remember the utter panic just two
years later when
his foot locker showed up on our front doorstep and marked "Personal
He had lost his leg on his third tour in Vietnam when another man in
team stepped on a landmine. He had tried to prevent it from detonating
by placing his own weight on the cover. I remember reading the
about how he sent three other injured soldiers off in the chopper while
he stayed behind and tied off his own artery. Pain is nothing but
a thing. We had to track him down that day that the footlocker
He had been in a hospital in Japan for more than 30 days and was being
med-evacked to Walter Reed. He hadn't wanted to worry our mother.
I remember how he had to fight to
stay in the Army
and the huge write up when he became one of only two amputees to remain
on active duty. The article describes his grin. I guess
where his son, Darrell got his smile from. I also remember when
all but lost his other leg testing a new square parachute. It
have been removed at the time but he didn't want to be in a
That decision left him in constant pain for the rest of his life.
Pain is nothing but a thing. He did have to retire from military
service this time.
I remember him coaching youth
football and softball
in the years after that. He believed and taught all of us that it
is important to give back to your country and community.
I remember all of us seeing that he
than he had ever been in his life when he married Joyce. Happier
is perhaps not the right word. He was always happy and smiling,
wisecracks. At peace is perhaps a better description. He
someone who loved him and who he loved with all his heart. That
I remember the pain on his face as
he claimed the
body of his youngest son. Ronnie was 21 when he died.
I remember him trying to teach his
Jake, to call him GRANDFATHER. Jake would reply "Bob". This
went on for many minutes until he gave up and to this day all 13 of his
grandchildren call him Bob-O.
Lots of memories. His love of dogs, his
with his fellow soldiers, him showing off his scar from open heart
a few years back. Him making fun of his self when he had a stroke a
of years ago. How he always called our mother on her birthday
she was alive no matter where in the world he was, including
My surprise when reading on the History Channel's web site section on
that my brother had provided much of the information.
My most recent memories are his
when his son Darrell died in Iraq last November. His overwhelming
pride in the respect his son commanded amongst his fellow Marines. His
courage in supporting Darrell's wife, making sure he was there for her
and Darrell's children.
Most recently, the wedding. Lynda
him on her way up the aisle to show off her pedicure. Feet are
when you have no foot on one side and a messed up one on the
And I remember that last hug as he
left the reception. That last exchange of " I love you
Sister" and " I love you,
Roy passed away last night driving
home from P Company,
75th Ranger Regiment Reunion.
I will never forget.
~ Elaine ~