Miss Kim’s Challenge

I did finally manage to get creative today. Of course, first I had to go to SBB and purchase several new kits for “inspiration”. Getting to be an expensive snow day!

I can’t remember how I started surfing blogs for digital scrapbookers. I know that the first blog I came across was at scrapmonkey.com. From there I found such blogs as Nora Griffin’s and Miss Kim’s. From their blogs I found other blogs and got really interested in doing digital scrapping myself. I still love paper scrapping but I have to get everything out and it doesn’t seem worth it unless I have a few hours to devote so digital just seems so much easier. Not to mention I hate my handwriting so journaling is a lot easier digital. Anyway, Miss Kim posted this week that she was going to start selling her templates — yeah!!! I love templates. Especially while I’m in the learning phase. It’s so much easier for me to be able to make a creation when I have a template – helps with my insecurities about my creative side which I’m trying to overcome. Anyway, Miss Kim posted a free template, Annie. The minute I saw it I knew it was the perfect layout for some pictures of my Dad that I have.

My Dad was in Korea. He talked about it rarely. We generally only got bits and pieces. One of the first times I remember I was about 10 or 11. It was the Fourth of July. We lived in the country which meant you could shoot off virtually any firework you can think of. A few weeks before the Fourth tents would crop up all around town, the deal of the day was buy $10 get $10 free. My brother and I were always given $10 each. With that we were to get all of the firecrackers and bottle rockets we wanted as well as everything for our night display. Dad usually took us to get fireworks. Mom usually took us everywhere else! That year after we had made our purchases (and this was grueling work!) we got back to the car and my Dad commented that we hadn’t gotten any of the big fireworks we had looked at… the ones that cost $10 each. We hadn’t. We didn’t have enough money. My Dad looked at us and gave us each $10 more to go back and get the biggest ones we could find. He said to us (and this many years later I still remember it verbatim), “The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. I followed the flag across the sea to defend it and I will always celebrate the Fourth.”

Over the years we heard bits and pieces more in conversation. We heard about his best friend, Tiny, from Texas whose parents had come out to San Diego when the guys were in basic and showed him one of the best times he’d ever had. I met a man in a jewelry store with my Dad who Dad explained to me afterwards had gone to Basic with him on the train from Kansas City but was not eligible for Korea because of a childhood illness and the harsh treatment he got from some of the others for that… after all, they were Marines. I heard about Dad enlisting in the Marines when he had been Navy ROTC and the Navy showing up looking for him at Grandma’s house when he was at basic training. The Navy and Marines had it out but it was decided he’d remain a Marine.

In 2001 Korean Veterans started receiving their medals from the Korean Government. Fifty years after the war began. My Dad wasn’t really into pomp and circumstance but Mom’s friend Mel was heading up the effort of getting the medals awarded in Lafayette County and I think out of respect for Mel Dad decided to fill out the forms. On July 19, 2001 we all went to Whiteman Air Force Base to watch Dad get his medal. He didn’t wear a tie… was the only one who didn’t. When I chastised him for it at the ceremony he looked at me and said he was also the only one who went voluntarily. I shut my mouth. My Dad used to joke the he didn’t do volunteer work because the last thing he volunteered for was Korea. During the ceremony they said that my Dad was in radio operations. I didn’t know that. Afterwards I asked him about it and he told me about the first air strike he called in. Basically when he arrived in Korea he and another guy were given a jeep, a radio and sent to the front. Their job was to radio in air strikes. What no one had ever told him was that planes fly toward “friendly” airspace to drop their loads. He said when he saw the planes come over the horizon he almost died, fearing he had killed them all.

A few years after Dad died I dug up an old box of papers and pictures off a shelf in the basement. It was filled with pictures and papers from his days in Korea. Mom agreed to let me take the box and see what I could find in it. I found several old pictures of my Dad. Mostly black and white of mediocre quality. Then at the bottom I found a slide. When I held it up to the light it looked to be in mint condition. I took it to have prints made and when I got them back there on the paper staring at me was my Dad… younger and more buff than he ever was in my life leaning on a jeep in Korea with that “no worries” look on his face. It has become a treasured family heirloom. Mom wanted a copy, as well as my Grandma and a few others.

The layout is Annie by Miss Kim, the paper and embellishments are from Dani B’s American Soldier collection.

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