Hazel and Ralph E. Couey, with my Dad, Duane
Copyright © 2011 by Ralph Couey
*Johnstown, PA Tribune-Democrat
October 23, 2011
as "Family Treasures Discovered"
When our father died in 2004, my sister and I had the sad duty of going through his belongings. He had been a minister who traveled the world and amongst his things were reminders of his missions to all seven continents and a host of Pacific islands. He was an avid reader, very much a self-taught man, and had acquired a prodigious collection of books. They were mostly theology and philosophy, but included some history, and the collected poems of Wordsworth. What we didn’t donate went into a storage unit, and eventually into my sister’s garage.
We think we know everything that’s in those boxes, but occasionally we get surprised. Once, she found a box of letters that our grandfather had written to Dad while he was in the Navy in World War II. Neither of us ever knew our Grandfather, even though I bear his first name, so this was a priceless opportunity to peer into the life, mind, and heart of a man we wish we had known.
And it was amazing. He was a man of strong opinions, and was not at all shy about sharing them. He wrote at length about his life and the times in which he lived. And those things that all parents fret about, namely the welfare and behavior of their children. His words opened a window on a life we had never known.