#1023 – Dick Bernard: On Turning 75….

Today I’m 75. “Just a kid” to great numbers of my contemporaries; nonetheless, a very noticeable birthday, to me at least.
Each person has their own story, along life’s road. And life’s journey is, indeed, a new “road” we all travel, with the attendant surprises any trip down a previously untraveled road or path has for everyone.
(click on all photos to enlarge)

Richard Bernard, new kid on the block, with parents Henry and Esther, May, 1940, McGillivray Apts,  Valley City ND

Richard Bernard, new kid on the block, with parents Henry and Esther, May, 1940, McGillivray Apts, Valley City ND


(This photo was taken a block away from Valley City State Teachers College, which my Dad was then attending, and which I attended myself beginning 18 years later.)
Perhaps this birthday is more prominent to me than the others because the last member of my parents generation, Uncle Vince, died just three months ago, on February 2.
I’ve written often about he, the family and the North Dakota farm on this page. My sister, Flo, and I were with him during his final few hours.
It surprised him when I mentioned a few months ago that I was soon to be 75.
He’s told me that he was the first family member, other than my parents, to hold me after I was born.
Vincent was 15, then.
Tomorrow, I’ll be out at the family farm again, continuing the process of transitioning an entire generation into history. To me that place, those things, represents far more than just stuff to dispose and/or distribute. It’s occupants were, Grandma and Grandpa, and all of these Uncles and Aunts, and my parents, the ones who launched me and all my siblings and cousins in many and sundry ways.
Some pictures of them, at various times back then, are at the end of this post.
Today, also, grandson Parker celebrates his 13th birthday.
He’s already an accomplished baseball guy, his passion, and yesterday, at a small family dinner, I gave him a home-made card with a photo of my brother Frank, and I, taken 1955, at Antelope Consolidated School, near Mooreton ND. I used to stand out in our yard, there in the country, and try to hit baseballs over the trees, imagining I was Mickey Mantle.
We have our dreams.
Dick, at right, and Frank, summer, 1955.

Dick, at right, and Frank, summer, 1955.


I think he liked the photo.
He’s on his own road, now, with its own promise, ruts, crossroads, forks…. Like every one of us, he’s on his own journey, in which all of us participate, in one way or another.
Life is, I’ve learned, a community event. And the community, now, is the planet earth – every last one of us, everywhere.
Here are a couple more photos with my own past memories, one’s which today hold more significance than usual.
Maybe they’ll jog some of your own, about you.
Have a great day.
Grandpa and Grandma Bernard and we Bernards, Spring 1946, Grafton ND.  Grandpa, then, would have been 76.  I'm the five year old in front, with parents and then-three siblings, Mary Ann, Florence and Frank.

Grandpa and Grandma Bernard and we Bernards, Spring 1946, Grafton ND. Grandpa, then, would have been 76. I’m the five year old in front, with parents and then-three siblings, Mary Ann, Florence and Frank.


Grandma and Grandpa Bernard had three children. My Dad, Henry, was the middle child. His older sister, Josie, was deaf, and from the 1930s on lived in the Los Angeles area. She rarely came home to Grafton. Grandma and Grandpa, beginning in the later 1930s, spent winters in Long Beach, so they saw her often. Their youngest son, Frank, served on the USS Arizona beginning 1936, and died on the ship December 7, 1941.
Grandma and Grandpa Busch at the farm on their 50th wedding anniversary Feb. 28, 1955.  Grandpa would have been about 75.  All but two of their children, my aunts and uncles, are in the photo.  Art was unable to be there, I guess; and their daughter, Verena, had died at age 15 in 1927.  Uncle Vincent is third from left, his sister, Aunt Edithe, is at far left.

Grandma and Grandpa Busch at the farm on their 50th wedding anniversary Feb. 28, 1955. Grandpa would have been about 75. All but two of their children, my aunts and uncles, are in the photo. Art was unable to be there, I guess; and their daughter, Verena, had died at age 15 in 1927. Uncle Vincent is third from left, his sister, Aunt Edithe, is at far left.


Art, the only child absent, was an electrical engineer in Chicago, in the early years of marriage and career, and was probably unable to come home for this event. On the wall behind the family, one can see the General Electric annual wall calendar, which was certainly from Art to his parents.
Henry Bernard, 74, "mannequin" in a Quebec City suburban department store window, June, 1982

Henry Bernard, 74, “mannequin” in a Quebec City suburban department store window, June, 1982


Birthday  Twins: Parker (May 4, 2002) and Dick (May 4, 1940)

Birthday Twins: Parker (May 4, 2002) and Dick (May 4, 1940)

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