March 20th, 1973: We got back from Tacoma tonight. Mom didn't mind the flight after all. Everybody got a little emotional at the airport, before takeoff. But, we all enjoyed our stay. Lynn and Rog are coming back in June. Dad hasn't felt good today or yesterday.
March 20th, 2013: The trip home from Tacoma was on a Tuesday. I don't remember who all was along, to take us to the airport and see us off. Likely, just Lynn. Roger would have remained home with Rodney and Julie.
We had spent exactly a week there. Rodney was school aged. I was in eighth grade. I'm sure Rod took the week off from school while we were there. Both of us had some making up to do. Julie was younger, and missing so much school wouldn't impact her as much.
West to east flights are available at almost anytime. But the majority of them originate late in the afternoon to early evening. It's roughly a four hour flight. And, you jump two time zones coming home.
Aunt Betty was there to meet us in St. Louis. I recall that it was dark when we got in. I think she may have been driving a Buick LeSabre, a big car with lots of room. The luggage was piled into the trunk, dad likely rode shotgun, mom and I rode in the backseat. It was a quiet ride home. Some chit-chat about the trip. I may have snoozed some. Dad didn't feel well anyway. We were all worn out in general.
Based on my original diary entry, and the fact that dad wasn't feeling well, I doubt he opened the store the next day. He may have gone up eventually, though.
Mom was surely happy to have survived flying, a week away from home, and glad to be back to her own space.
For me, it would be get home, go to bed, and back to school the next morning. I was anxious to get those new blacklight posters up, and did so as soon as I got home from school the next day.
Looking back, the photos made from that trip, and the one I posted two days ago, were the last photos of dad ever made. We didn't make anymore. And I don't recall anyone else doing so either. The only other time we may have had a camera along, would have been a visit to Macomb, to see the Polers. With Uncle Ray having been diagnosed with cancer too, I think "fun times and picture days" were over.
Lynn was able to walk to the gate with us, and wait for our boarding call. What I can describe next surely had to have been one of the most difficult moments in my father and half-sister's lives.
When the boarding call came, I was naive' enough to think the three of us would say good-bye to Lynn, and that would be it. Some kind of understanding had been discussed or worked out, though.
Mom and I said our thank yous and good-byes. Then, mom took her cue. Dad lagged behind while we went ahead and boarded ahead of him.
What happened next, would have taken place in no more than 3-5 minutes.
Mom and I sat on the plane, waiting for dad. She looked worried and anxious. I picked up on it, and became real still and quiet. There had already been tears. But this was a real intense moment. I was too young, and too much the optimist, to realize the significance of what was going on between dad and Lynn.
I have never pried Lynn for details, but I did ask her, some years back, in general terms, what was said in those few minutes. Lynn told me it was one of the few, if not only time, that dad actually spoke the words, "I love you," to her. Just like with mom and me, it wasn't his style. My dad certainly was not the romantic type. I've stated that before. He didn't have to tell us he loved us. We knew it and felt it.
Lynn was 33 or 34 then. She knew, and dad knew, that this might be it. Corys had made plans to come back to the midwest in June, assuming dad would be alive.
Dad eventually boarded, and was remarkably composed. We got in the air, and were on our way home.
I'm sitting in a coffee shop as I type this. So, I really can't cry. But, those last minutes dad had with Lynn had to have been brutal for both of them.
I feel sorry for Lynn.