Mom and My Uncle Parker
Mom was only 14, almost 15 years old when her brother Parker died fighting in the war in Germany. Parker was not quite 22, only about a month and 3 weeks before his 22nd birthday.
As a reminder from where Parker’s story began in my previous blog https://mylifebydag.blog/2020/12/18/blog-post-34-my-mom-miriam-elizabeth-hall-gateley-part-3/, here is a 1932 picture of Mom, Parker and Helen in Mt. Grove, MO.
So how did my Uncle Parker go from a small country Missouri town boy exploring the countryside with his Cousin Helen and younger sister Miriam to soldier? Mom often told us of her brother’s later, yet far too short, life.
In 2002 my sister Deborah wanted a record of Mom’s stories about Parker, so she made a book of her recollections.
Here are a few stories from Deborah’s “Parker Book” about him and Mom (Miriam).
Parker had joined the Oklahoma National Guard when in was in High School. The first year he was in it when they were to spend the week at a camp for training, someone jumped on him when he was coming home from a meeting at night. His jaw was broken and that meant he could not go to the week at the training camp. Miriam said “I will never forget how his jaws were wired together and all he could eat was what he could suck up between his teeth. I think it was a lot of milk shakes. Dad even came from Colorado to Oklahoma to see him.”
In September, 1940 the National Guard was mobilized into the Army. Parker had lied about his age because he wanted to go into the Army and he wasn’t old enough. Some men came to the house to ask how old he was. Grandma Haswell and Miriam both told them his age, but they let him stay in the Army anyway.
He was then in the 45th Division and when they were to be sent off, he was in an accident and had a broken pelvic. When he recovered from that and that unit was sent off he was sent to officer’s training school. And then from there to England.
Deborah and I grew up hearing the story of how Parker died. One of the soldiers in his regiment got shot by a sniper. When Parker went back to help the soldier, he was shot and killed by the same sniper.
It’s important to know that Parker’s story, while too short, did not end with that sniper’s bullet. As my Mom noted, while Parker was in England he met and married Erica. She was pregnant with their baby when he left for Germany. When baby Antony Parker Hall was born she didn’t know yet that Parker had been killed. But she knew it was important that her son would grow up knowing the father he was never to meet, even if only in his memories.
In 2014, Parker’s son, Antony Parker Hall, posted this about his Dad on Facebook:
LESSON LEARNED: Sisters and brothers are treasures.
LESSON LEARNED: We often know in our minds that our aging relatives were young once, but it is their stories and pictures that confirm it in our hearts.
LESSON LEARNED: Our loved one’s impact on our lives is measured not by the length of their lives, but the depth of our memories.
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