Thursday, August 21, 2014

Some May Call My Grandma Scrappy

This title was a clever attempt to give a nod to my grandma’s penchant for scrapbooking, long before it was “in”.

And even though she didn’t labor for hours over one page (as some people may do now)…she got the job done.

So much so that her scrapbook commemorating my grandpa’s service in WWII is still holding together fairly well (considering its age).

But I am getting ahead of myself…

So recently (ok, not so recently now as I am actually taking the time to write this…more like 2-3 weeks ago…or more. Frankly, I’ve lost count of the time), my mom brought me a scrapbook and a photo album she found when she and my grandma were going through some boxes at grandma’s.

Much to our delight, we learned some things about Grandpa Jim (and Grandma Lois) through the book.

Such as: we had no idea that Grandpa had been in Germany during WWII.


We knew about England and France, but that was it.

I’m not sure how it never came up, because he would talk about the war, but it never did.

I’m certain it was not at all because we were not listening.

And also through this book, we realized (perhaps my mom knew this, but I did not) that Grandma is either a sentimental sort, or a packrat.

Or lies somewhere in the middle.

Because this scrapbook contained all sorts of little treasures such as Grandpa’s last pay stub before he went off to war; his induction orders; his letter of promotion to Sergeant; orders of who is shipping out where and when; a copy of his life insurance application, through the US government; every telegraph he sent to her; and the list goes on.

But I have elected not to show you those things because there are numbers on them which may still be relevant and I don’t want to be the cause of anything being unlawfully stolen or used inappropriately.

I’m certain you understand. Just oooh and ahh that Grandpa Jim’s family can enjoy all these little bits of history we’ve been given, and be vicariously happy for us.

However, there are many other things which I can (and will) show you.

Which brings me to this: Warning!!! Picture overload!

What you are about to see will either be
  1. extremely interesting to you and you will be uber-excited to see it,
  2. not at all interesting to you and you could not care less about it, or
  3. somewhere in the middle.

I like to hedge my bets when I make predictions. You may have noticed.

No worries, I won’t show you EVERY picture…but there are a few, so feel free to settle in to your sofa because it may take a while.

Also…one other disclaimer: I didn’t bother scanning these in. We shall all pretend that it is because these photos and other items are glued into a book which does not have removable pages and scanning would be terribly difficult…and it is NOT because I am still not entirely certain how to operate the scanner.

All that rambling to say…don’t judge the quality of these photos…I did the best I could with my little phone.

So with that, I shall begin down Grandma’s memory lane.

I love that there's an American flag sticker on the front, which clearly began to peel off so it was stuck down with some scotch tape

Inside cover of the album...a song sheet

Appears to be a newspaper for the troops...was stuck in the front of the album; dated December 11, 1944

Hotels receipts from DC...I think Grandpa was there before shipping out; Grandma went to visit him there.

A GIANT Easter card he sent to Grandma

Postcards he sent...some slightly off-color. Awesome. 

In the lower left...a government-issued song book for the troops.

This is self-explanatory, I think...

Money and items from England

Close-up from the above photo...makes me laugh out loud, both that it was printed, and that Grandma Lois kept it!

Money from France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany

German Cigarette Coupons (I'm so glad she labeled it otherwise we would have no clue...and it's doubtful she would have remembered)

Cover of the photo album

Grandpa, the soldier

Grandma Lois is on the right

Grandma and Grandpa in DC...and I that is a family friend on the right

Not sure who took this of my grandparents walking down the street in DC, but it's one of my favorites of them.

Grandpa at his barracks

From his time in England

Love that he took pictures of the work they were doing, rebuilding areas which had been bombed out. Notice the photo second down on the left. Yes...those are men using the latrine. He was a man-child. Grandpa was only 17 when he enlisted...he lied about his age so he could join. I think about this as I consider that I have a 13yo...only 4 years older than him and he went off to fight in a war?!?

If you look closely, the men/boys are having a snowball fight in the upper left.

More bombed out buildings

I would love love love to know why Grandpa is posing with this family...did he know them, did he form a relationship with them?
What country was this even taken?

Grandma and Grandpa on the left, Grandma's sister "Aunt Shorty," and the same family friend as in the photo a few above

Grandpa is on the right in the very front row.

I know this wasn't the most well-thought out or well-written post, but I was just thrilled to bits to have this piece of my own family's history and I wanted to share it with you. Thank you for endulging me.

And if you ever want to see these live and in the flesh, don't hesitate to ask...I'd relish the opportunity to share it with you!

A huge thank you to my grandma for preserving these memories for future generations to enjoy!

Lastly, a huge thank you to my grandpa and every other man and woman who have fought to preserve our freedom.

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  1. I can't even begin to express how much I love this post. I do love historical family keepsakes like this, even if it isn't my family. And of course, you know, that the military part of it is near and dear to my heart. :) Two things ... 1. The Stars and Stripes is a military publication that is still around today. 2. The poem about "so you're sick of..." may or may not have brought tears to my eyes. And yes, if the offer is real, I would love to see the scrapbook up close and personal sometime.

    1. Yes, that poem is a tear-jerker for sure...I completely understand why it may or may not have brought tears to your eyes. And yes, the offer is real...I would love to show you the scrapbook up close and personal sometime! :) You let me know when!

  2. This is the BEST post! What a treasured piece of history you have! I particularly like the pictures of the ladies in their trousers and hats. Too cool!

    1. Thank you, Dyanne...yes, I am so glad that the family has this. And yes, that is one of my favorite pictures too! :)

  3. WOW!! What a find! I spent quite a bit of time looking at the photos. Especially the one about the world leaders and the dates. Of course, I couldn't resist a "Look kids! Big Ben! and Parliament!" when I saw the photos from England. :)
    One bonus to being an only child from only children...My siblings and cousins are forever arguing about who got what from Grandma, Mom, or Dad. There are several scrapbooks and photos floating around the family, as well as "artifacts". I have to hide my grandpa's police badge whenever my brother comes to visit so he doesn't snatch it out of the cabinet.

    1. To be clear, this isn't MINE..I just got to borrow it so I could take some time and look at it, and I decided to share it with my "many" fans. Fingers-crossed that I will be the big winner of it someday, but for now, it still belongs to Grandma. :)

  4. Ah, very nice! Love the pictures... was *not* picture-overload at all.

    Ever wonder if our grandchildren will be looking of pictures of us in the 90s the way we do of our grandparents in the 40s?? Wow...

  5. So beautiful - reminds me of the books and things my Grandparents had in their home. Such wonderful memories that tell such great stories. These are just fascinating!