Monday, May 30, 2011


I spent a good amount of time this morning poring through my old diaries looking for an entry that I had written after talking with my Papa Chuck about his experiences in WWII.  I thought it would be an appropriate way to commemorate Memorial Day.

I found lots of old treasures amongst the pages I wrote from age 8 through my college days, but I didn't find the entry I was looking for.

I did find this one, however, and thought I'd share it with you:
Saturday night, March 29th, 2003 [that puts me at 14 years old]

I burnt the carpet on Thursday trying to iron my overalls.  (I'm not entirely stupid, really!)  It's just that I was in a hurry because we were leaving for Papa and Ami's house soon, and I figured that since the overalls only needed about a 30-second press at the bib to keep the seam down, I didn't need to pull out our big ironing board.  I think I pressed about 30 seconds too long, though---and now there's a crusty brown spot on our living room carpet to help me remember never---ever--to do that again!  (Did you know that carpet actually melts?)

We had a very nice time at Ami and Papa's.  It was their 53rd wedding anniversary.  I gave them the heart blanket I just finished, because I thought a golden yellow heart afghan suited the celebration of a third Golden Anniversary perfectly.

Just before we left, Papa pulled out a small black leather suitcase that he said contained his life's treasures.

As he sat in his chair and opened it, we all circled round him to see what was inside: school diplomas, pictures of his parents, pins and badges he had earned during WWII, letters, and things he had kept after his father and mother had died.  Each thing had a story.  He showed us his father's first electric razor, a washcloth his mother had crocheted.  He showed us a dog-tag that had belonged to his best friend, and one of his own.  They were necklaces that they had to wear everywhere they went during the war.  His friend's was filled out: his name, date of birth, where he had been born, and where he had died;  Papa's dogtag had remained incomplete.

There was a piece of metal that Papa told us was called "shrapnel."  It was part of a plan that had burst through the side of the plane Papa had been in--the other plane was hit by the Japanese and had exploded.

Papa showed us his "Soldier's Record of Payment."  It was just a little brown book with records of what Papa's payment had been each month:  $20.00.

He handed me a small box that had been a watch box.  Inside were golden buttons.  Papa told me that they were the buttons off of his uniform.  I asked him where the coat was, and he said that he had thrown it away after the way.  "I wasn't a brave warrior," He answered when I asked why, "I didn't want to keep anything that would remind me of what I had seen."  I wonder what made him tear the buttons of that suit before he threw it away...

There was a pile of letters at the bottom of the suitcase that intrigued me very much.  It was a parcel of notes that had been sent to my great-grandparents' house in Cincinatti through the years.  Papa had taken them after his parents died.  He had written some of the letters, so had my Ami, and Uncle Todd, and there was even a postcard that my daddy had sent to them when he was twelve years old.

That black suitcase was such a wonderful window into the past that I was sorry when Papa closed the lid and locked it again.  But I'm so glad he shared it with us!


I'm so thankful for the sacrifices so many men and women have made throughout the years to guarantee us our freedom.  Today, I'm praying for God's peace to the families members of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice---their lives---and also for His blessings to those who serve our nation daily.

Fly those flags!