It’s Veteran’s Day and I’d be remiss not to talk about my grandfather, Forrest Kinsley Bunten, a Marine in World War II. A tough nut to crack, gramps made life seem hard.
When dad got back from Vietnam, he got dropped in Atlanta where he bought a Triumph motorcycle (we think that was the make) and rode it straight to Orford. Story goes he barely stopped, arriving with bugs in his teeth and raw skin on his forehead from piling through the rain. Charlotte Huntington, one of his friends at the time, remembers it like this:
Rog said his mother hugged the living daylights outta him and was so excited …his Dad was in the barn and Rog went out and his Dad just said, “Hello, son” and went back to milking. Rog said that was two words more than he usually got from him.
Neither my father or his talked about the wars much. Both started to do so before
they died, but only in spurts. I remember Forrest coming out with a photo of him in Okinawa behind a double bass. He’d played in a jazz band there, supposedly. We knew he played the sousaphone, but the double bass was such a surprise. I’ll find that shot in due course.
Rog said he was real happy to be home in Orford & felt the Marine stint had served him well. He had no clue what to do with his life at 18. Just wanted someone to tell him what to do, when to do it and how.
Dad always seemed pretty ambivalent about his experience to me, but then again, he never put much verbiage behind it. He sure didn’t like seeing any sort of violence, though…
We played this one at Dad’s funeral at the Mt. Philo Inn. Forrest loved the song, too.
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