Daily Diversion #172: My Grandpa

Detail of a painting of my Grandpa, 1946. He was 19.

My Grandpa, 1946

My Grandpa, 1946. 

23 thoughts on “Daily Diversion #172: My Grandpa

    • He turned 18 one week before V-E Day (in May 1945), graduated from high school, and was immediately called up to Army basic training. He served as a peace officer in Germany, with the job of making sure that war did not break out again. The original of this painting (I have a copy) was done there.


      • My Grandpa (who is 86 1/2) is not much of a talker. I do not think I have ever heard him talk about that time. My late buddy Frank, on the other hand, told his incredible WWII stories so often over the years that I know those by heart. 🙂


  1. I see some resemblance there, maedez. So many veterans did not even tell their families their stories, especially the ones who saw a lot of carnage. Last year, for my husband’s birthday, I collected a bunch of his photographs, insignia, newspaper articles, etc. and put them in a binder for him. I also sorted and put in a binder his letters home from Vietnam. They are interesting reading without being too specific about where he is.


    • We actually look nothing alike (if you were able to see pics of us together, that would be more obvious!). I look like my Mom and Grandma. 🙂 My brother and one of my cousins bear a resemblance to him, though.

      I know that a lot of service people who have seen action do not like to talk about those experiences. However, my Grandpa never saw combat, nor did he liberate any of the concentration camps, etc. The truth is that it is just not his personality to sit around telling stories of any kind; he does not have any of the story teller in him.

      How nice of you to do that for your husband. It sounds like you assembled a fascinating bit of personal and world history. How cool!


      • Remember the Civil War documentary by Ken Burns and when the letters from soldiers would be read? It was so brilliant – like you were really hearing those people and they were present. I see from his letters what my husband was like when he was 21 years old and some of those traits are still there. I, of course, was much younger – 13 when he was in the Army and in Canada. Our paths met many years later – who knew?


      • Yes, I do! That documentary is unforgettable. When I was in high school, there was a book/television project (the name escapes me) that did the same thing with letters from Vietnam soldiers. This was at around the same time as the Ken Burns project.

        My husband is also 8 years older; you never know whose path you will cross, or when, where, or why. Of course, The Chef and I met through artificial means but it was still meant to be.


      • I’ve always believed it was meant to be as well.

        Found some books tonight – bargain priced – Christopher Hitchens’ “Arguably” and Annie Liebovitz’ “Pilgrimage” which had been on my wish list because it was so expensive. I purchased it for $15.

        I still write letters, maedez. Somewhere in the world are hundreds of them.


      • Wow, those are great books. Finding a book that you have been longing for at a cheap price is such a wonderful feeling!

        I wrote letters to a friend in China until about 10 years ago, until social media changed all of that. I loved it, though. I would still write letters if I had someone to write them to!


      • I know, maedez. I worry that my few friends who still write will catch on to the Internet. Writing letters really is writing – the writer thinks about paragraphs, spelling, the narrative, etc.


      • You can do both! I would if I could, and hope to again some day. I love how methodical yet creative letter writing must be in order to both relay messages and be entertaining.


  2. Looks like a little swagger in his eyes and in his slightly lopsided grin. A face with a view. Those are the best, because they tell their own stories–even without the words we hold so dear.

    A nice tribute to your grandfather, Mae, for Veteran’s Day.


    • Thank you! When that painting was done, he was just a teenager fresh from the farm. I can only imagine how interesting it was to suddenly find oneself in war-torn Europe.

      Although he is a quiet man, he has a sharp sense of humour. That is a swagger of sorts, I think.


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