My Dad kept his Purple Heart in the closet. And his Ketchum on the mantle.
"Dedit deus disciplinam," read the raised letters on the faded bronze coin.
"God has given learning."
My father didn't speak Latin. He barely knew English when his parents came here from Poland in the 1920's. But his penmanship was exquisite. "Best in the class," said his teacher. "Best in the school," said the principal. His parents didn't believe him - until the day he came home with the shiny coin in the satin-lined box.
A Jesse Ketchum Medal.
A sight to behold.
And newly minted proof that my father wasn't simply the son of immigrants living eight to a room on the East Side.
He was Robert Zdrowjewski. He was my father. And he was a Ketchum winner.