by Jeanette Barszewski
My Daddy was a bald, smiling baby in a little lacy dress.
My Daddy was forced to wear old lady shoes to school during the Depression.
My Daddy was a year ahead of Mom at Sacred Heart School and was 6’2” in the
My mentally-ill Grandma told me that a talent scout wanted Daddy to sign a singing
contract after he overheard him in the bathtub crooning quite beautifully.
My Grandpa left my Grandma alone with five kids when my daddy was sixteen.
My Daddy was expelled from Aquinas Institute for Boys.
My Daddy joined the Coast Guard at seventeen. He would get plowed on leave and
would run off for miles down dark country roads not knowing why he was running.
My Daddy was a Maryknoll brother for a while. We have a picture of him in long black
robes like a priest’s.
My Daddy joined the army after that. He would go to the enlisted men’s canteen on
Friday nights. Once he woke up in the middle of a cornfield miles from anywhere
not remembering anything after his first beer.
My Daddy was ashamed of not seeing combat in Korea. He was learning to speak the
language when stationed there.
My Daddy was razzed by the other soldiers for not using prostitutes in Seoul.
Jeanette Barszewski is a writer of poetry, memoir and some fiction when she can find some time out from being a wife and mother in Hamilton, NJ. She is the daughter of SSgt. John L. Coon who was killed in action in Quang Tri, Vietnam in 1968.