396. Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes. ~Gloria Naylor

No man can possibly
know what life means, what the
world means, until he has a child and loves it. And
then the whole universe changes
and nothing will ever again seem
exactly as it seemed before.
~Lafcadio Hearn


In honor of my dad on Father’s Day:

This is the translation of a letter written in 1943 in French received by Mrs. Norman F. Holcomb (my mom) of Walnut Springs, Texas, and refers to her husband, Pvt. Holcomb (my dad), who was in the Medical Detachment of the Railway Operating Battalion stationed in the Italian area:

“Permit an Algerian who is unknown to you to thank you sincerely for what America and the Americans are doing for us. Since the arrival of the American troops at Boue, the whole Algerian population, especially the Jewish, has sought the friendship of your brave soldiers who come to free us from the fascist and racial yoke. My husband and I congratulate ourselves upon having been among the first. We do not know how to express our gratitude to you for the intelligent care and attention which your husband has been so good as to give my two children, two little girls aged nine and six. (Dad was a medic and when he was off duty he took medicine and bandages to treat these two girls for severe burns.) Your husband was so kind as to show us photographs of you and your little girl (the girl of whom Madame Atlau speaks is their first born, me, and I was only a few months old at that time.) How pretty she is! We look at it often and never cease to pray that God may protect her for you. The American Red Cross, outstanding philanthropic institution, has presented to infants born since March 1st of this year, these items (infant layette sets) not to be found in Algeria for the Nazis and Italians have denuded us of everything. My cousin who has profited by the gift of one of these outfits begs me to thank you in her name and in the name of all who have benefitted by these. It is a commission which I gladly perform. I have sent you by your husband a little bracelet of identification (which I still have) intended for your daughter. I beg you to accept it as a gesture of friendship. I close, dear Madame, in wishing good luck to you, your child and your husband, and hoping that total victory for the Allied Nations is near. Madame Albert Atlau, Boue, Algeria.”


Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. ~Proverbs 17:6 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

26 thoughts on “396. Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes. ~Gloria Naylor

  1. Your father must have been a very special man for someone to write a letter like this, Natalie.

    Interestingly, my parents (still going strong at 83 and 81) live in a village called Holcombe in South Devon in the UK.

    Blessings, David


    • He was a very compassionate and loving man, David. He survived the war but died of a massive heart attack when I was 18 and there hasn’t been a day since then that I have missed him terribly. Still can mention his name without crying. My dad’s family were descendants of Thomas Holcombe of Devonshire, England. Small world, huh?!
      Blessings, Natalie 🙂


    • Thank you, Susan. I’ve always loved this story and it gives me such insight into my dad’s character. He died when I was 18 and there is so much I never got to ask him or talk to him about. So it is a treasure I hold onto dearly. Hugs, Natalie 🙂


  2. WOW! What a truly heartfelt tribute to your dad–by both the Algerian couple as well as from his now grown daughter—I know your dad is smiling down on you Natalie so proud of the wife, mom, grandmother, educator and friend you have become. . .you had some very good roots my dear!
    Thank you for sharing such and amazing tribute–
    hugs and love—cookie


    • Thanks, Cookie. I was so young when he died and never got to know him as well as I would have liked to. This story is a treasure that gives me insight into his character. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Hugs, Natalie 🙂


    • Thank you, Laura. My dad died when I was 18 and I miss him so much still to this day. This story gives me insight into his character and a way to know things about him I might never have known so it is my treasure. Hugs and blessings to you too. Natalie 🙂


  3. Great post, thank you! Reminded me of my Dad. It’s nine years exactly today when he left us, and since my Dad meant so much, I still miss him every single day. I hear his voice time to time, and I remember so many advises he gave!


  4. Natalie, what a lovely tribute to your father. It’s interesting to hear that ‘strangers’ were praying for you while you were just a baby. You and your blog are such a blessing to many–just as your father was a blessing.

    Take care ~ Wendy ❀


  5. What a beautiful loving tribute to your father. His sense of love, honor and bravery shine like a beacon in the night. You must be very proud to be his daughter, and rightfully so. Wonderful post Natilie. :o)


  6. What a moving and gorgeous tribute to your Father’s memory,to this very special man,dear Natalie ! The photos are so classic and strongly bearing a vintage feeling ; as for the letter,it is a priceless treasure !!! Great share,ny friend !
    Love ~♥~♥~♥~ and big hugs ,Doda 🙂 xxx


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