One of the Lucky Ones

In 2004, thumbing through photo albums, I came across a photograph which had been taken of Dad prior to his deployment to active duty. In the photo he stood straight in his Marine uniform, his shoes and belt glistened. He looked pressed and polished and sported a cocky grin with a wad of candy stuffed in the side of his mouth.

The picture brought back a memory of when I was six years old and found his Marine Corps uniform in the back of the large closet I shared with my two sisters, which ran the length of the wall on my side of our bedroom. I felt possessive of anything found in it, especially if it was Dad’s. 

I pulled at the hanger to bring the uniform from the shadows and saw that the green jacket had a chevron on the shoulder but no other decoration. It felt slightly rough to the touch, and heavy in my small hand. I knew the uniform had to do with the military and holding it made me proud.

I brushed my hand down the lapels and ran my thumb over the eagle on the buttons. I was glad Dad had served his country and glad too that he came home seemingly unscathed. At least that is how he seemed to me as a child: unscathed.

I Thought You Knew

A Memoir

Barbara Belland