Robert Allan Szponder

Robert Allan Szponder

Vietnam War · US Army

The Love of My Life

  • Miami Beach

Robert, what an amazing young man. Most people knew him for his love of Harleys, but he was so much more. You had planned our meeting, having Billy Perdue knock on the door. He was my pal, and as I hugged him "Merry Christmas', my face met yours - over his shoulder. Those beautiful blue eyes, that held so many words without needing a voice. You were a gentleman, a gentle man in heart, full of pride and respect, and happiness. Serious when needed, and loving - always. And what a pro at mischief!!!

Thank you for being the man that shared everything with me, taught me strength beyond what my wonderful parents gave me, and loved me and everything about me.  My parents adored you, and you were the only man my father had confidence in.  When I was with you, he smiled and never worried. My Uncle CJ loved you, too; and on a warm summer night in 1969 we talked of you, and he told me how precious Real Love was.

I thank your parents, they were so kind to me.  At your viewing, before it started, your mom called out for me to come to the "Family Room".  She had a hand full of your photos, and told me of the wedding ring you showed her on your last R&R.  It had not been returned with your personal effects, and she cried because she could not give it to me.  Then it was her request that I be first to kneel at your coffin.  From that point on, I was lost for years.

In 1981, we connected again. I had gone on - knowing you wanted me to be strong. I'd married, had two sons, and found that no man could reach the bar you had set. So when your parents saw me, they welcomed me as a single mom, and embraced mt sons like grandchildren.  It was beautiful to see them all smiling.

Your Mom is now with you.  When she passed, your Dad and sister, Sandy, invited me to spend time with them at her grave. It was another 'special moment' of closeness for me.

As I write this in 2013, your dad is still here - 95 yrs. old and bright and spunky as ever... and, if not for VietNam, you too would have lived long - with me by your side.

I love you, and I honor your bravery and your sacrifice.  But.. Oh, how I miss you.  When times are really difficult, I sense you near me and know I will be alright.  I would write more, but those deep personal thoughts are just for you and I.

Friends that visit this page, thank you for coming.  He's only a thought away, and it makes him smile

With love and honor, Darlene

PS If any fellow Army friends visit, I'd welcome any notes of memories you'd like to share. (I check every now & then) Thank you.

    Darlene Bernard
    The Love of My Life
    210 NW 25 Ct, Pompano Beach FL 33064 USA
    Not A Day Goes By
    You were my Hero before you were even drafted. Two more days and you would have been on your way home. I married and had 2 sons, then divorced because I learned with you what real love is and haven't found it since. My oldest son, when he was 7, held me and cried with me on our first visit to The Wall. He said he wished you were his dad. Now he is 31, and people always think you are his dad until they notice the dates. He resembles you so much, I feel your heart in him. Both my sons know all they can of you and honor you.

    When the song "I'll Be There" came out, everyone called me and said you wrote that "from above" for me.
    You are the most wonderful man I know.
    I love you and always will.
    "Dar" (Photo Credits)
    May 30, 2007

    Keep on riding
    you may be gone but not forgotten. I spent twenty years in the Air Force from 1972-1992, and not once have I forgotten the night you saved my life. And the times we had riding together.

    Posted by: Allen
    Relationship: We were close friends
    Tuesday, November 7, 2000

      The color photos on this page are my personal photos, and hold dear, deep-hearted memories.  The one of Robert (Bobby) in the dark blue, long sleeved shirt was taken at my home (green garage doors). I had just come home from the hospital (tonsilectomy) and he had come over with Gene and Deano to see how I was doing. Gene & Deano were clowning around and making me laugh, while Bobby was worried I might tear the stitches. That's how he was - very protective of me. One of the many, many reasons I loved him.

      The photo in the long sleeved, white shirt was taken while we were on a camping trip to the Florida Keyes with Margaret Afkhami and friends. He had an awesome smile, and amazing/sparkling blue eyes.

      He was full of mischief, too! I can hear his laughter, still. Whether we were w/ friends at the beach, on his Harley, w/ his folks or my folks; many good times spent w/ Sylvi & Warren and their baby, Roy - who we babysat a lot for. He was so good with little kids: Roy and my little brother, Robbie & my  little sister! He'd be the Tickle Monster, and have them squealing with laughter - and then they'd all come after me!! Or the times baby Roy would fall asleep on his shoulder, and we'd talk quietly about the children we'd have one day.

      Thank you, Robert, for giving me the image to raise my sons by. You would be proud of them.

        Side note: In one of my posts, I referred to the song "I'll Be There". I forgot to add "written by The Escape Club" in 1991. The words are completely different than the song written by Berry Gordy (sung by The Jackson 5 or Mariah Carey)