I am changing planes in Paris, flying to Bahrain then onto Bangkok. It was the cheapest way to get there. As we came down through the clouds, I thought not of my father but of my grandfather, who fought in World War I here, surviving Verdun and The Somme.
I remember riding the Metro in Paris when I first visited France in the mid 1980s, and the signs for the seats by the door said something about ‘la guerre’ I realized that instead of handicap seats, they had seats for the wounded of the wars.
My grandfather was fortunate. He was an Iowa boy a long long way from home, but he fought well, and long and made it home safely to marry my grandmother and enjoy almost seventy years with her. They died within a few months of each other.
There’s more to his story and my story with him, but on this cool fall day in France, as I get ready to fly again, I just am having my coffee, thinking of him, and then. He was the pivot in the family history in many ways, before him, the family was missionaries and farmers. He went to college and then to graduate school at Harvard. My grandmother went to college as well, a first for her family, graduating in 1918 I believe.
From then, my father and I, my half-brothers Boyce and my children have all been very well educated. All thanks to Captain Earnest Boyce, who fought, and won and returned home and changed our family for the beter.