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POV: Remembering my fathers

The writer is a Bethlehem resident and frequent contributor to The Spotlight.

As we approach Father’s Day this year, I am mindful of the changes in the way I have celebrated this holiday. From the time I was an innocent little girl, who thought I would always have a dad to a woman in her 60s who now cherishes the memories of the dads who have touched her life.

My dad was Joe Keeton, a World War II veteran who after watching all his friends and family members being drafted went to the draft board to inquire as to why he didn’t get his notice. Of course, in the 1940s the only “technology” they had were filing cabinets. In looking for his name and not finding it, the secretary did a thorough search only to find that Dad’s paperwork had fallen in the back of the drawer. Were it not for his persistence and deep desire to serve his country, he may never had been called. Instead, he was processed and sent to war at the age of 19. This small act may have changed many lives as my father earned the bronze star for bravery and heroism.

When the war was over, he followed in his father’s footsteps and became a union plumber. He married my mother, who already had two children and raised them as his own. Dad was the family member who visited hospitals and cemeteries, brought food when someone was ill and sent flowers for no reason.

I remember clearly as a little girl asking for something like new shoes or a toy, and he would answer by saying, “I’ll make it for you out of pipe.” It was the only way he could explain that money was scarce, and I wouldn’t be getting everything my heart desired.

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