November 17th, 2013:

MILITARY GRAVES AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

My son Hans found the grave of his grandfather, Brigadier General Victor W. Hobson at Arlington National Cemetery this month. He and Jen, his wife, were celebrating their first year wedding anniversary with a short trip to Washington, D.C. They had been there some years ago, but this trip as a couple was a special one. Their hotel overlooked the infamous Watergate complex and was near Memorial Bridge. Arlington Cemetery, with its thousands of military graves and the eternal flame from the Kennedy graves,  was just across the Potomac.  It was Hans’ idea to check out the historical graveyard and look for my birth father’s grave. I’d never seen it, since I wasn’t able to travel across country to his funeral. I had luckily connected with him for the last time a few years before he died in 2000, hours shy of my 58th birthday. The photo my son took brought sentimental thoughts, especially since I had not grown up with my father–World War II and a divorce stood in the way.  I did not meet him “officially” until I turned 21. Using the excuse of family history, I looked him up when he was stationed at the Pentagon.

Victor W Hobson, Brigadier General

Victor W Hobson, Brigadier General & wife Maria Luisa

 

I planned my meeting for the break between semesters my senior year of college, a turbulent time since President Kennedy had been assassinated only three months earlier.

Looking back now, I am amazed at my courage  and self-confidence to walk into his office without any prior notice. It was easy to get into the Pentagon in those years, but finding locations in a five-sided building was confusing.

Was this white-haired, slender man truly my father, I wondered as I walked into his large office? Did I even resemble him? Wasn’t he too old? My step-dad was scarcely gray. But this man’s hair was thick and wavy, similar to mine, and his slightly pug nose looked like mine. He looked at me inquisitively as I stood by his desk, my heart racing in my chest.

“Col. Hobson, I’m Viki Williams,” I introduced myself as he stood up with a smile. I noted he was taller than my dad. He maintained his outward composure, though I could detect the astonishment in his eyes. He knew who I was immediately. Calmly and politely, he told the adjutant in the office to leave and close the door behind him. He then directed me to sit in the chair in front of his desk.

“Now, what can I do for you?” he asked hesitantly, still smiling at me, the bomb who had dropped into his life.

What thoughts were rushing through his mind? I wondered as I kept my cool, though I was quaking underneath. Tension and unease hung in the air.  I quickly told him I was in my senior year of college and looking for careers, and I needed information for my CIA personnel form, such as where exactly he was born. As he gave me the information about his Alabama birth, we both relaxed a bit.

“I guess you think I’m about the worst man alive,” he offered with a hint of regret in his voice after we had finished the required questions.

“No, I don’t,” I replied evenly, too shy and uncertain to explain feelings I wasn’t even sure of. Even though in my experience Army officer fathers weren’t easygoing and jovial,  I had harbored no resentments through the years. I was simply curious and reaching out for clues to my origins.

“I’ve thought about you a great deal all these years,” he added softly. “You look very much like your mother, except taller.”

This whole story is told in more detail in my short book, Discovering the Victor in Victoria on Amazon.  http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud

There was an amazing synchronicity about our reconnecting. Three days afterward, Colonel Victor Hobson was promoted and became Brigadier General Victor W Hobson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victor Hobson promoted to Brigadier General

Victor Hobson promoted to Brigadier General at age 47.

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