Thursday, September 1, 2011

Full Steam Ahead into World War II

My Grandpa G served in World War II in the navy.  When he left he had two children and a wife whom he adored, and a third and unexpected child on the way.  Grandpa was a school teacher in a one room schoolhouse in Edgar County, Illinois, which he took very seriously, enjoyed quite a lot, and I think excelled at (though we always want to think that of our ancestors, right?).  He was a very sincere man with a strong sense of loyalty to family and his country, and he had a great sense of humor.

I have a lot to learn about his particular ship (and would love to hear what you know about it!), but he was in the little ship that went in front of the bigger boats to clear out the beach and make it safe for the army to land.  I believe he may have been a "bazooka boy," but I'm not certain of that, and it's not anything I think he ever would have called himself.  He wrote a story about their biggest event, called The Little Lady Grew Angry, and I look forward to sharing that with you.

Getting into the war letters is a little daunting.  There are a lot of them, to and from various people, including his wife and kids, and they are often long.  They also seem to be in no particular order.  They are pretty honest, it seems, and it's just hard to imagine and hard to think about, especially now that I have a child and husband myself.  My mind is constantly on the families who are going through it now.  Grandpa is always thanking people for writing and encouraging them to write again, and sometimes ribbing them to write more often. I don't have close friends overseas right now, but it makes me wonder if I should be trying to find a soldier who needs a pen pal.  It must be different in the days of email, and I wonder what his correspondence would have been like over email.  As it is, he sometimes uses v-mail, which I also don't yet know much about except that it's very hard to read because it's so little!  Can any of you shed a little light on v-mail?  I'll post a picture of one soon.

Here's your cliff hanger for the night: Grandpa says in one letter to his good friends that the war experience has changed his values completely, but he doesn't go into it further!  I hope that in the diary he kept during the war or other letters I will learn more about his change.

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