In 1948, blinded by young love and oblivious to the terror they would cause their parents, two young people, he, a young US Army lieutenant back from the war in Korea, and she, his beautiful college graduate, hometown sweetheart slipped off into the night on a bus headed from Boston to Seattle. Her parents didn’t like him, and his parents didn’t like her parents. Fuel for the fire for two besotted, determined twenty-somethings. Half way to Seattle they each called their respective parents. There was no turning back and the banishment was in force.

Upon arrival in Seattle, they bought a tiny house using the GI bill, in an area of Seattle that was affordable but what most would consider on the “south side of the tracks” – a part of town known locally as Rat City. But that didn’t matter. They were devout, determined and resourceful. They were fearless of what each tomorrow would bring, but that never stopped them from embracing the present and dreaming of the future.

Over the course of the next 24 years, they raised 12 children in that same tiny house. Duty, honor, country. Those were the marching orders he delivered and demanded. Love, God, gentle kindness. That was her aura and hope for her 12 little bandits.

He could never have known he would take his last breath at age 59. He never knew he wouldn’t meet most of his grandchildren, nor see the wild and fantastic achievements of his twelve children. Every family has their story – everyone has a Father. This weekend we remember our Fathers, whether living or passed on. My memories have evolved from rebellion to deep gratitude for the dreams, sacrifices and solid support my Father gave all 12 of us. My hope is that all Fathers know they are vital, that they inspire and pave the way for the future. That their dreams lead to the life their children lead – and as the 8th child of that batch of 12, I say “Thank you Dad. The dream is alive.”