My mother has told this story so many times, but now that she’s not here anymore I can’t call her up and ask for details I’ve forgotten, so I’ll do my best with that.

My dad was dropped off at the Pittsburgh Orphan’s Court at about age 5.  His alcoholic mother told him she’d forgotten her purse, left, and never returned.  He was therefore declared the property of the state and became a foster child with a family on the NorthSide of Pittsburgh during WWII….times were tough, families were poor.

He developed Rheumatic Fever which his doctor attributed to a BROKEN HEART.

One of the things my dad recollected was that the family who took him as a foster child had their own child too, and they also had other foster kids…..this paid the bills, and the foster kids were put to work shoveling the coal furnace, and doing any other work around the house on Leland Street.

He also recollected that the real child had bacon and eggs every morning for breakfast, while the foster children had bread and coffee.

Yeah, it’s one of those kind of stories, but I must say, my dad still respected the woman who raised him as his mother.  He simply had no other mother.

Dad was a scrawny kid from not enough food.  I supposed it was the curse of the time period, everyone was poor.

And only being 5’10” tall he was not only scrawny, but he was short for a man.

He joined the Marines as soon as he turned 18.  Now I could be wrong here, whatever the age was back then to join, I don’t know, but whatever it was, it was when he joined.

He was short, he was weak, and he was scrawny.

When he returned from the Marines he had a physique that any man would envy, and that being said, it also contributed to his confidence to marry, have children and take care of his family…..which he did with a magnificence and vigor.

My dad may not have made it without the Marines.  The adversities he had to face as a child were great.

I don’t know what else they taught him, but they sure taught him discipline and manliness.


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