My Dad Didn’t Get To Go To His East Lansing Graduation Either
Father's Day is coming up this Sunday. Don't screw this up, kids. At some point you'll need your dad (or whoever you have in your life who looks at you and just shakes their head)
My dad (his name was Kay, but everyone - except for his mom and dad - called him Jeff) has been gone for a while now, but recently I was going through old family stuff and found a scrapbook he'd put together from his time in the military, at the end of World War II. There's been a lot of talk this year about missing out on high school graduations and all the celebrations that come with that moment. My dad made the choice to miss his.
My dad had a pretty good senior year at East Lansing High School. He played guard/tackle on a Trojan team that went undefeated and won the Twin Valley Conference Championship and he had a pretty girlfriend named Barbara (I don't know if they were going out in their senior year, but I know they were dating at some point - and no, Barbara wasn't my mom. Maybe that's why I hadn't seen any of this before)
But when February 1945 rolled around and my dad turned eighteen - he went right out and enlisted in the military. By March he was at boot camp in Chicago, at Great Lakes Naval Training Center. By May he was in Farragut, Idaho, going through Hospital Corps school. And that's where he was when the East Lansing senior class of 1945 had their graduation, 75 years ago this week.
Here's a look at how my dad spent his "gap year" between high school and going to the University of Illinois.