Tuesday, March 20, 2012


  I’m starting.  I can hardly bring myself to do it.  All these photos.  All these memories.  And I am so inadequate to do it - compiling old photos and memories into scrapbook pages.  I didn’t even know my Grandfather very well. Mostly he was out at the barn with the menfolk when I was around.  He sat on his “deacon’s bench” at the head of the dining room table every Easter and Christmas and his voice was quiet and calm as he said grace.  That’s how I remember him.  Quiet and calm.  Even as my Grandmother, Aunt, and I sat once in a Cracker Barrel restaurant in the midst of a ridiculous laughing fit he didn’t crack a smile.  But I imagine his eyes were twinkling even though I couldn’t see for sure in the dim light.  Every now and then he’d make a quiet comment that would only add fuel to our fire so I know he was enjoying himself. 

  I (me, little old me) have the old suitcase with the travel sticker from Denver Colorado and the United Airlines Tag still dangling from the handle.  That was my Grandfather’s.  It was found out in a shed on his farm last year with a collection of his personal things 15 years after he passed.  It has hundreds of old pictures from his travels and life in his single years.  My Grandfather was a bachelor until the age of 40.

Some of the random things in the suitcase.

I just love this picture!  It just makes me smile.  My Grandfather was a farmboy.  Isn't he a good looking young fellow?!  I wish I could have known him back then!

These are photos my Grandfather took while in Europe right after WWII.  Gutted buildings, demoished planes and old bombs. He served with the CPS (Civilian Public Service).

This CPS Reserve Corps that my Granfather Hiram served in, helped deliver cattle and horses to war-torn countries. During 1946, three hundred and sixty-six CPS men served on ships that sailed from Newport News or Norfolk, Virginia to Europe.  My Grandfather also served doing various other things in Ohio, Pensylvania, Maine and Colorado .

I spent a morning last summer with my great aunt Nancy, my grandfather's youngest sister, to get her insights on some of these old snapshots.  It was such fun to hear her stories and see her memories come alive when she'd see a photo.  I took notes on what she described.   We both found it humorous how many pictures there were of young ladies!

Aunt Nancy said the family would often gather at the homeplace for Sunday Dinner.  This is one of those occaisions.

A group of friends and brothers. My Grandfather is the one with his hat cocked back on the far right.

   Somehow a year ago as the family sorted through some of these old things I ended up with this suitcase, his old camera, different odds and ends of papers, a coin purse and lots and lots of wonderful old photos.  Most of them are small with the fancy ragged edge that was popular at the time.  I was afraid to even hope that I might have even some of these photos.  But as people at the family gathering were looking through them, they seemed to want me to take them.  So I am the one who came home with them and I’m honored to be the one to keep these treasures alive.  These memories that my Grandfather rarely spoke of.

  But as I sat in the front seat of the maroon GMC pickup that day with my daddy in the driver’s seat and the suitcase of memories in the back, I fought back tears. Emotions.  Something inside me was rising up and fighting.  Why? How?  Why must it be that these memories which once were important to my Grandfather are fading out of the picture? Why does no one hold on to them and keep them alive?  But he’s just one in a vast number. One.  One measly little human being.  In five of these years that are shown in the pictures, estimates say 50 million to 70 million human beings lost their lives in a war that affected the globe.  And I’m battling tears for the sake of the memories of one?  It’s not my personal sadness of his absence that makes the tears come.  It’s that he as a person is being lost in time.  Because he matters.  Because every soul ever formed matters.  Life is sacred.  Each life is sacred.  And it seems like no one cares.  There is nothing we can do against the roll of time and loss and indifference. 
  That is why I want to do these pages.  Why it even matters.  He’s only one person in the multitudes. But he is one!  If I can preserve some of what mattered to him, then I can make my own personal statement for myself and say, “His memories matter because he matters”, “because EVERY LIFE EVER LIVED matters.”  And even if I can do nothing about the lives of the masses, there are some things I CAN do in my allotted time on this earth.  There are certain people that I can touch, that I can make a difference to.  I can do my part at this time, in this place.  I am part of history.  I may not make a difference in the grand scheme of things, but to a few I can be the difference. This is how I want to live my life.

"And on some have compassion, making a difference."
Jude 1:22


  1. And you are making a difference! This is such a great post. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the difference you have made in my life!

    1. Thank you, friend! I can say the same to you!


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