Sunday, May 7, 2017

Little Mementos

Recently I came across a pocket edition of The Gospel According to St. John that belonged to my paternal grandfather.  He must have had it while he was in the Navy in the 1940s.  In faded ink are his name and references to the US Navy.

Inside there are passages that are marked with underlines and brackets.  It makes me question why he did this.  Was it because he had to for some reason or other, or did these specific words hold a special meaning to him?

Even more interesting to me is what else was in this book - five diverse newspaper clippings.  Each one must have held some significance to him.  That is why they were kept neatly in this book.

This first clipping must have come from his parents, because at the time it was printed in his hometown newspaper, he was in the navy and stationed in England.  But how did he get it?  Did his parents mail it to him?  Did they give it to him when he arrived home?  Did he find it after their deaths?  Even with all of those questions, it is amazing to me how something this small can contain so much information.  At this time my grandfather was 26 years old, which would put the year around 1944 or 1945.  It also contains my great-grandparents' names and their address.  The big announcement was that my grandfather was advanced to his US Navy ship's cook second class.  Aside from mentioning that he was stationed in England at the time of printing, it also states that he had been stationed in the Caribbean for 23 months out of his three years in the US Navy.  Both of these are big clues when it comes to doing military research.

The second clipping had me a little perplexed.  I saw that my grandfather had "Delaware Gardens" marked in ink with parentheses.  It made me wonder if this was a street that he had lived on at one time, but none of the streets mentioned in the little article sounded familiar to me.  That is when I decided to turn over the clipping and look for clues.  And there it was...£1.  Then it clicked.  This was from when he was stationed in England.  A new neighborhood with a street with the same name as his home state, something familiar when he was so far away from home.

The third clipping was way easier to figure out.  It announced that my aunt came in first place in her age category (nine to 12) in the Simons Gardens Egg Hunt.  Simons Gardens was the neighborhood in which they lived and would have taken place in the early 1960s.

The fourth clipping also had to do with my aunt.  This one announced that she was admitted to the De La Warr High School chapter of the National Honor Society in her sophomore year, 1966 - 1967.  My grandfather must have been very proud of his daughter for her academic achievement.

The last clipping was the announcement of his divorce from his second wife, to whom he was married after the death of my grandmother.  I know this was a very bitter time in his life and it took place in the 1970s.

Five newspaper clippings from different times in his life, all contained in one little book from his US Navy Days.  It just amazes me when I find these little treasures, a glimpse into who my family was and what was important to them.  It keeps me motivated to keep digging.

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