I'll Be Seeing You: An open love letter from a Baby Boomer to his parents...
Dear Mom and Dad,
I cannot recall the first time I heard the song "I'll Be Seeing You" or who was singing it. Maybe it was Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra? I don't know where I was when I first heard it either. Maybe it was the radio in our car or on a jukebox somewhere? No matter the time or place it stuck in my mind along with every other echo of the life and stories of the children of the Great Depression and World War II, your generation.
I do recall driving down old two-lane blacktop Route 66 from our home in small town Fort Madison, Iowa, to our new life way out west, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was in that 1954 Chevy that you both were so proud of, your first car. Who could forget the Pink Motel on Central Avenue where we had to keep feeding the TV quarters to make it stay on, even though there were only two channels? Or how about that first house you bought on the G.I. Bill, on Garcia Street, where we all grew up so fast. I know I heard that song there as the family gathered or when we went back to Iowa and had those big family parties at Uncle George's Glass Bar at Christmas or on the 4th of July. I can see all of those faces that have come and gone right now.
Oh how I wished in those days that you had the time to take in every bittersweet detail of my life with me but you were too busy. I understand that now that I am too busy to see you or talk to you as often as I would like to. And then, I will hear that song and it all comes rushing back to view. That malt shop on Main Street. The grocery stores of Aunt Mary and Uncle Frank. Watching "It's A Wonderful Life' or "The Wizard of Oz" with my brothers. Enraptured by the fairy tales that Sithee told us kids. Playing with my cousins on those Mississippi river summer nights. Ed Sullivan and Elvis and the Beatles. Sputnik and Mercury and the Cuban missile crisis. Seeing Jack Kennedy that fall night in '63 just before everything changed and then we moved to Dallas. Watching the Moon Landing at the bar in Pascal Manale's in New Orleans, when I turned 18. Visiting Grandpa Dale in Belton on my way to college in Austin. I remember every single second of it.
This time of the year makes me very sentimental about those days and all of our family. I guess it's being a grandfather now with many more years behind me than before me. My generation is the last of the echoes of your great era of tragedy and triumph and I wanted to say thanks, while we are all still here. Thanks for the beauty and the magic of the working class of Americans who survived so that we could all thrive. Thanks for every thing big and small.
I dedicate my public life to the future for all of our children but when I look around I still hear that song. In all things new I see all things that came before and seem so much dearer to me now. When you are gone I will still be seeing you in everything and everywhere. All of those memories will remain and I will get a smile thinking of you, those times and the songs, people and places from your life that are alive in me today.
I Love You Madly,
"I'll Be Seeing You"
I'll be seeing you
In all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces
All day through
In that small café
The park across the way
The children's carousel
The chestnut tree
The wishing well
I'll be seeing you
In every lovely summer's day
In everything that's light and gay
I'll always think of you that way
I'll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I'll be looking at the moon
But I'll be seeing you
Lyrics by Irving Kahal
Music by Sammy Fain
Dedicated to my Parents:
- Johanna Rashid Parker Klibanoff
- Robert Neal Parker
- Patricia Mac Cambridge
- Mordecai Klibanoff
- Saida Kouri Rashid (Sithee)
- Jacob Ferris Rashid
- Inez Dunlap Parker
- Dale Hamilton Parker
And all of the parents and grandparents of my generation...
Republished from the Valley Dems United, Margie Murray, Editor