This photo was submitted by Retriever. She may rummage around a bit to see if she can find another shot, but she reports that most of her family photos are in deep storage, untouched for years. If she's able to dig something else up, I'll post it at a later time.
Retriever also shared a bit of her parents history. Again, I'd encourage any readers willing to share photos and history to do so. Over the course of my career, I've interviewed well over a thousand people from every imaginable walk of life. My career is a good fit, because I never tire of hearing personal stories and family histories.
So without, further ado, here is Retriever in her own words.
It's my dad in 1954 at a wedding, shortly before he married my mother. I don't know who the woman in the background is.
He and my mother had met at a tea party at the house at Harvard he had been affiliated with before he went to the B school, He was 24, she 20. In 2 days they were engaged. She dropped out of Bryn Mawr to marry him. As soon as he graduated, he got drafted (Korea) and had to go off to Basic training.
My dad was a very patriotic new citizen, former Brit, who had been disinherited for coming to the US and not becoming a planter like his dad. He had arrived in the US with only 2 suitcases and no money and worked his way thru school.
He had been on the rugby team and survived relentless hazing by Afrikaaners at boarding school, but he didn't want to be in the Army and asked JFK (who was his Senator) to help him get into the Navy instead. JFK succeeded so he went to OCS. He said his years in the Navy were the best in his life, they made him a real American.
He was on the carrier the USS Leyte. He used to tell us stories about how they would anchor the ship in the Indian ocean to let the sailors swim when the heat demoralized them. The Marine sharpshooters would watch out for sharks and this gave the sailors a false sense of security (if they had actually shot a shark the blood would have driven the others wild).
He told us about one guy who was always drunk (the Navy was dry) and they couldn't figure out where he was hiding his booze until someone saw him drinking from a fire extinguisher he had filled up with whiskey. He talked about how he had been crushed not to be able to be a pilot (he needed glasses, which disqualified him), but how the death rate of pilots on carriers at that time was horrific. His ship had the first black naval aviator, but the guy was unfortunately killed in action very soon.
He told us about how the most important thing he learned as a junior officer was that if something goes wrong, it is YOUR fault, not your men's. He vividly remembered one day when he had been supervising some sailors loading a bunch of shells bound for Korea. There was a human chain passing them and suddenly one inattentive kid dropped one. My dad remembered time stopping and being sure they were all about to blow up and feeling utter shame "IT'S ALL MY FAULT!". Fortunately the shell was a dud.
My mom remembers the senior officer's wives advising the young wives how to behave and telling them that they must never fight with their husbands before they left on deployment or they would be distracted and might die. And it would be all the wife's fault. A theme emerging?
He looked very handsome in his uniform, tho there was a huge crisis a couple of months before I was born when their dog had puppies: In the closet where his dress shoes were.
He was in the reserves for years after he finished his active duty and I always thought he looked happier and handsomer in uniform than going off to his (to me), dull office job in a grey suit.
Years later, when he was visiting me at my workplace, we were going out to lunch, and one of the maintenance workers from the building hailed him. It was one of his sailors, who recognized him after 45 years. They chatted a bit, and I asked my dad why he didn't go to any of the reunions the guy had mentioned. "Oh those... they're for enlisted men, not officers."
I really didn't like this. Then again, I lead a soft life and never had to maintain discipline on shipboard with thousands of people cooped up, stressed, etc.
I saw that throughout his civilian career he tended to be somewhat authoritarian boss, but he was incredibly solicitous of the welfare of his employees. He always felt responsible for them. If they were sick, or had family problems, or were trying to better themselves with more education, he would always help them. I remember tho being the subject of words with my mom at times, when they were short of mine starting a new company. And he would say "they are my responsibility, they depend on me, we will just have to tighten our own belts a little...". this kind of benevolent paternalism I saw as a legacy of a time when everyone got drafted and nobody could get out of it. You didn't have all these rich jerks who are warhawks verbally but would never serve themselves.