Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sentimental Sunday – Memories, Not My Own

A Very Young Lanny
I don’t remember anything about my Great Grandfather Schweer, because of a tragedy, long before I was even thought of.   At some point, during my Fathers innocents of young age, he went on a hunting trip with his Grandfather, Will Schweer.  An occurrence that was not uncommon, even fairly regular.   They would spend the day together, enjoying the outdoors, and the wilds of Nebraska.  On this last trip, an accident occurred, and my Father, fatally shot his Grandfather.

I’m not even sure what the specifics were, for I never even heard the story until the day of Dad’s funeral.   He never once spoke of it, nor of his time with his Grandfather.  I had always wondered why Dad had no desire to go hunting, and then I found out why.  I wish I had know then, for I could have asked how it happened, and what the circumstances were.  As it is, all I know is that he was a fairly young boy, and that his Father, my Grandfather, never let him forget it. 
Lanny & Great Grandfather Will
The story does explain some of Dad’s little eccentricities, and probably much of his silence.  He had an unspoken rule, not to share any emotion, or even to let them show on the surface.  He was a very hard man to read, unless you knew him very well.   Yet for us kids, he had a special place in his heart.  Even though he never said the words, we knew he loved us very much because of the attention he showered on us.  Taking us everywhere, and sharing his life experiences in a strangely educational way. 

I’ll always remember the day I flew out for Germany, Dad took me to the airport.   Very few words were spoken, and heaven forbid there was anything like a hug.   But he shook my hand, like a man, firm and strong, a little lingering in a familiar way.   Then the most amazing thing happened.  He put his hand on the back of my neck, and gave just the faintest of squeezes.  More feelings were communicated with that small moment of physical contact, than could have been communicated any other way in a life time.  I had to force the tears back from my eyes, for fear I might let him down if he saw them.  To tell the truth, I’m having a hard time even writing this without tearing up.  I will forever remember that one specific day with the fondness of a million memories.

The picture at the top is My Father at a very young age, in far happier times for him.  and the picture at the bottom is Dad and His Grandfather Will after one of their many hunting trips.


Lisa Wallen Logsdon said...

This was a very sad but beautiful story and it must have been hard for you to tell it. I feel so bad for your father and the pain he must have felt all his life. Thank you for sharing.

Eric S. said...

Thank You Lisa, I do also, I wish I had known when he was still alive. It would have explained so very much. I can't even begin to fathom the guilt he carried.

Nancy said...

What a heartbreaking story for your father! That experience must have stayed with him the rest of his life - and to have his father not let him forget it. Oh, the sadness. And then, how tender your father was to you and your siblings even without words or hugs. I'm glad you have that memory of your father's expression of love when you left for Germany. Precious. Thanks for sharing.

Eric S. said...

Thanks Nancy. It was pretty special, at least to me. I'm not sure anyone else would have understood it.

I can't imagine the pain and guilt dad carried all those years, but he never once let it show.

Anonymous said...

What a tragedy for all concerned , but from a genealogical point of view have you checked the newspapers and was there an offical investigation ?.

Eric S. said...

Yes it was a tragedy. I have checked some papers, but most of the era are on microfiche, so I'll have to make a trip up there someday to see them. I wonder if my library can get copies?