Mimetalker's Blog

a mime is a terrible thing to waste.

Mimetalker

Mimetalker
Location
Illinois, USA
Birthday
January 26
Bio
On this blog: All words (other than identified quotations) © Sharon Nesbit-Davis, All rights reserved. *********************************** I am a blog writer at three sites: Rockford Register Star: Arts4All, The Red Tent: The Movie, & Make Peace/Build Community (Sponsored by the Baha'is of the U.S.) ********************************** You can find me on Facebook: Sharon Nesbit-Daivs, or "The Mime Writes" Logo Design by Dianaani ********************************** I work as the Education & Community Engagement Director of a Regional Arts Council which means I beg "the deciders" to fund and support the arts for everyone, not just the rich. *********************************** I am also a mime. For those that hate mimes, I understand. But you'll never find me annoying people on the street, unless I'm living there. I'm a "concert mime" ...which means you have to buy a ticket. *********************************** I've been married to my one and only since 1976. Still happy. Still in love. Two kids, six grandkids. In college I became a Baha'i (a world religion whose main theme is unity). It keeps me relatively sane in a world gone mad.

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NOVEMBER 11, 2010 3:48PM

My Daddy was a Spy

Rate: 17 Flag

spy  

My father was a smart man, perhaps brilliant. He was a scientist. I'd tell people that and describe visiting his research lab where a white rat bit my finger when I tried to pet him. If they assumed he was working on a cure for cancer or inter galactic travel it wasn't my fault. I never told them that.

He was a researcher for a feed company. They manufactured livestock feed for optimum health and disease prevention. My father worked on the formulas. I think he created it specific to the farm based on what the animal consumed naturally, but I could have made up that part. I tried to pay attention when he told me what he did, but it was so boring.

Dad was a World War II vet. I thought he might have good stories I could tell kids at school, but he told only two. They both involved vomiting. He was trained to be a fighter pilot but got airsick. So they made him a flight instructor on a base in the states. He never left the country. The other was the day his entire company ate tainted chicken salad and there were not enough toilets to handle it. He never ate chicken salad again.

Those were his war stories. Other kids talked about their fathers' saving lives, bare handed combat, and gruesome injuries. They could have been lying, but I never called them on it. They might have asked what my daddy did in the War. Put on the spot I would have made something up to top them. I couldn't risk my father finding out. It wasn't the spanking I feared. It was him knowing I was ashamed enough to lie.

By the time I was in High School and wore a black arm band to protest Viet Nam I no longer cared what my father did in the War. By then I understood if he hadn't puked, I might not have been born.  

About a year before my father died my oldest brother, John, visited and made an off-handed remark about Dad's ability to solve the daily cryptograph. "How do you do that? You must have been a code breaker." My father laughed but had a strange look. We knew that look. He was holding something back. My brother pressed him but he shrugged, and changed the subject.

Over the next year my brother tried to get him to spill it. Dad neither affirmed or denied. We noted his body language. The face attempting to hold lips in a firm line. The averted eyes. I observed my mother's bewildered look. "Why on earth does John think Dad was a spy?"  She could never keep a secret and was not a good actress. If there was something to this, she had no idea.

The day after my mother's funeral and three weeks before his own, Dad came clean. During the war he was assigned to Army Intelligence. He always joked it was an oxymoron. We didn't know it was from first-hand knowledge. 

Dad wasn't fluent enough in German to be a code breaker. His mission was to look for Communist infiltration. He spied on civilians who offered rides to hitch hiking soldiers, or took up conversations with them in bars. He didn't mind spying on the civilians. But he also spied on his fellow soldiers and hated that. He did not turn them in until he was absolutely sure.  

As he told this, he wasn't boastful.  He didn't give details, or tell stories. He stated the facts. This was his duty. He didn't have to like it, he just had to do it.

Dad didn't say why he waited so long to tell, but I think I know.  It would have hurt mom's feelings to discover he didn't trust her to keep quiet about this. He knew he shouldn't trust me either. 

And he was right about that. I'm telling everyone.

 

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Comments

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Repost/Revison for my father. Don't usually post more than one in a day, but couldn't let the day go by without honoring my Dad.
And you were right to honor him. I loved his story and the stories he told you as you grew up.
Great post had I had never read this. I wonder if your mother really did know?
Rated with hugs
I "was" going to go through your blogs to ref it again on Facebook for this day... glad you made it easier to find (and updated revision). Most suitable for this day.
Very interesting post. I think it's great that you've honored your dad by telling us his secret - his own not gloating about it shows what a modest and understanding human being he was. R.
Glad you re-posted as I missed this the first time. How amazing your dad kept that info to himself for as long as he did. You have every right to be proud!!
I loved this story the first time I read it and enjoyed it as much this time. I just love how you speak of your dad..
I read this the first time, it is still a great story...R
You are so lucky your dad was able to tell you his history. How wonderful to be able to share a part of his life that he was able to share with no one at the time.
So glad you posted this and honored your dad! I wish I had known him too! rated with love...
I thought this seemed familiar, but I enjoyed it even more this time around. I doubt your dad didn't trust you or your mom so much as he simply wouldn't have felt comfortable talking about it. From your descriptions of him it sounds as if he was a modest and straightforward man. He undoubtedly was uncomfortable with the assignment his superiors gave him and that unease stayed with him the rest of his life. He was an honorable man.
tough times call for tough jobs.

r
Every single time... I return back for a day when I post and I look to the right panel of my own page. (I posted something today shamelessly said) It is a good thing you are my favorite cos I would have never had the time otherwise. And each time I am glad I clicked on your link. Made my day!
What a perfect story for Veteran's Day. I am so glad you can't keep a secret.~r
You father's duties, though not directly bathed in the blood of the battlefields, were difficult and called for him to be courageous. R
Your description of what Dad did for research is accurate.

I think it wasn't a matter of trust for Mom or his kids. Well, at least Mom. He probably knew we would start bragging about him being a spy. Being a celestial navigation instructor to bomber crews was not too exciting. He did teach us a lot about star gazing though. Keeping it secret all that time was because he felt that keeping it secret was his duty to his country. Remember how patriotic he was? I remember him almost punching a guy out at a football game who didn't remove his hat during the Star Spangled Banner.