A kick start to the new week, I’m handing out some praise for my father.
As a child, he endured the chaos of World War II, running from the Nazis and seeing his family unit brutally disbanded. He experienced situations and sadness no child should ever have to see; yet, it gave him the fortitude to immigrate to America, be an upstanding individual, a dedicated Brooklyn Dodgers fans, a life-long IBM’er, a devoted husband to a mentally ill wife, a talented sculptor and a terrific father. Thankfully, his German aunt and uncle, who immigrated to the U.S. years before, were on hand to give him and his brother a home in which to grow.
My dad wasn’t in the American school system long before he faced graduation, where he was the handsome “Frenchie” everyone loved. Here’s an excerpt from the local newspaper back in June 1947:
“One of the features of this year’s commencement was the citation to Bernard Rotmil, formerly of France, who came to Peekskill in December of last year and not only mastered the English language, but proceeded to earn a full year’s 16 school units in a half year’s time.
‘In less than one year’s time, you have mastered the language of your adopted country, in which you have mastered the course of study of this institution which tonight has awarded you a diploma. You have passed the full state examinations with high grades to achieve the right to that diploma,” stated Dr. J. E. Scott, superintendent of schools, in making the presentation of the citation.’
Rotmil had been routed from his native city of Strasbourg in France, where his educational career halted and his family ties broken and destroyed by action of the enemy in the recent war. [sic]”
So, as the week begins, hats off my father. In his retirement years he delved more into his exceptional talent for sculpture. He was also a writer, who wrote two novels, poems and plays. I hope to publish them one day.