Every year during the week before Father’s Day I remember my birth father, Robert Lee Oakes Sr telling me on December Ninth, 1941 that he was leaving to defend our country, that I was now the Man of the House.
When Mother Esther left two weeks later I found two new parents to care for my brother and me.
My great-aunt, Sadie Marie Oakes Broom and her fifty-five year old husband, Horace Dixie Broom gave Billy and me a new home and our first Christmas Tree with presents galore.
Every day for years I looked for Bob Sr. to return. Eventually, he came back from the war and started a new family. Uncle Dixie became Daddy Dick, then Father, Then Lovey. Mother called Father “Lovey” and so did I. I asked my new parents to call me Lee instead of Bobby.
And then I think of my own children. They entered my life during still more difficult times and for the next couple of decades were my only source of joy amidst times of difficulty for us all.
Somehow we survived. Today my children and their children and continuing generations are still my greatest joy. My family’s ranks are filled with younger fathers and mothers who are changing all of our lives, a family that though still living with difficulties is a family lighted with smiles, hugs and more Love than I would have thought possible half a Lee Broom lifetime ago.
Thank you children for polishing the family apple; I love you all.