Friday, November 14, 2014

My Dad * His Story - Part III

Dad wrote, “After I got my discharge paper in hand on Dc. 30, 1945 and the last stop at the release center, I had to go to the pay master office. There I drew out all of my money I had saved for many months, plus my flight pay and discharge money and sea pay. All together I came home with well over four half thousand dollars. Then he stamped my discharge papers. Also the navy paid my transportation to come home. When I got home, I went to get my car that I stored away at John Larry’s big barn. After a day at home I went up to see Edward Larry, his father was already gone. I guess he died when I was in the navy. There, I got my car, cleaned it all up, drove up to Carrolltown to Westrick Garage, got it State Inspected and applied for State license. Six days later I received the plates. Two days later I drove up to see my buddy George Owen up in Carrolltown, which I haven’t heard from him for many months while I was overseas. His two sisters were gone to New Jersey, his mother had died about a year before. So I asked one of the neighbors there and got to learn he was killed in the invasion of France. He was inducted into the Army way after I was in the Navy. Learning of that accident made me feel awful bad.

After his discharge and returning home, about two weeks later he drove up to the old Sterling Six Coal Mine. Before his discharge he wrote how when he used to go home on leave from the navy, he would go up to the coal mine and talk with some of the bosses that he had worked for. He told them how he had gone to mechanic school and studied everything about the airplane.

Dad wrote, “There I got talking to my old bosses who I had worked for on and off for many years. They asked me if I was out or discharged from the Navy and I said, “Yep, sure am!” “Good,” they said. “We got a good job for you, take your pick; run a motor, there is a job open for water pumper, electrician and few other jobs.” I looked up with a smile and said, “no way will I ever go back inside of those dirty coal mines!” That really surprised them.  

My father wrote his memories in an erratic manner. He would jump from one memory to the next, making it difficult to follow the story line. But I went with the flow and pieced together his thought process, as in this story about changing his surname after he was discharged from the navy. 

Dad wrote (to an Agnes?), “I had filled out some legal papers for change of name. I adopted my father’s mother’s maiden name before she married. The name couldn’t be changed not until I had established a residence for at least 6 months where ever I was to live. Chicago was my place for I was to get married there, work and raise a family. After 6 months was over, I gave all of my papers that I received from the navy to a civilian lawyer, went down town Chicago, had to face the judge. I had everything done according to the law. Now, dear Agnes, you know the story how my name was changed to what it is now. About eight months later, I married with my new name.

This next paragraph sheds a bit of light on Agnes. She was his lost love.  

He wrote, “Towards the end of the first year of school, I used to build up my most desired hopes to get you dear Agnes on a date to Sunset (Ballroom). That was in 1938. But for some unknown reason I could never get to you. I do remember quite well in trying with no luck. Maybe someday you might want to enlighten me as to where you had been hiding at that time.   

Starting in 1946, he lived and worked in Chicago and reunited with Dorothy.     

About six weeks later, Dad left home for Chicago. He wrote, “With a sad and somewhat broken heart. It took me three days to get to Chicago. When I arrived I was very fortunate to get a room for a few days at one of the hotels. I didn’t care much for the place at all, so next few days I went out and drove around to some nice beautiful residential places looking for private rooms for rent. The second day out, I found a private home in Marquette Park that had a sign in the window, Room for Rent, to a single person. The people were very nice and friendly. They were German-Lithuania. They spoke very good English and I spent lot of time with them, talking where I came from, how I had worked in those dirty dangerous coal mines, and about my navy life. Later I was told they had a son in the Navy aboard one of the aircraft’s that was sunk by Japanese planes and he was lost in sinking of the ship. When I had moved in their son’s room, I made them feel much better and took away some of their dull moments thinking of their lost son. They had three daughters and all were married and away from home. I had stayed with them for nearly seven months.
Could have stayed much longer, but the first job I had gotten at Sunbeam as a die-setter went on strike. I didn’t care at all to participate so I left and went far up northwest of Chicago and there I found a job at Ekco Products Co. on April 3, 1946. There, my first job was the same; die-setter, later there was an opening for tool & die maker. I had stayed there for quite a long time. They are the company the makes all kinds of kitchen utensils. If you look at some of your kitchen utensils you’ll find some stamped, Made by Ecko Products Co. When I got married they gave me just about everything for use in the kitchen. Pots, pans, cooking vessel, forks, knives, spoons, egg beater and some other things. These very good gift was worth well over hundred dollars at that time. After nearly thirty seven years of our marriage we still use some of those things quite regularly!”              
Ekco Spoon                   Muffin Pan                  Egg Beater                                  Peeler

(A footnote on Dad’s job with Ekco: there he was, an educated and trained tool-and-die maker and aviation machinist making pots & pans and kitchen utensils. I am sure he must of felt frustrated working on such menial tools when he could be working on airplane engines.)

Nearly year and half later, on June 21, 1947, dad married Dorothy.

This is all Dad wrote about his wedding . . .  
When the Italians married their daughters, they sure know how to put up a big beautiful wedding. Well over hundred people attend our wedding. (But not one member from Dad's family.) 
. . .  and The Honeymoon: 
For our honey moon we drove to Washington DC. In my 1936 Chev. First we stopped at my parent’s home in Pennsylvania for a day. The next couple of days drove down to Washington DC. Took in many interesting sightseeing places. Spent nearly a week there. After all of that we drove up to Gettysburg Battle field to see civil war National Park and spent day and half there, and then on to New York Long Island where my sister Eldona lived. Spent two days there and after that, we drove back to my parent’s home. All in all our honey moon was quite exuberating.

Back to Agnes . . .
Once again, dad’s writing jumped, I think, about 40 years later, about the time he started to write his memoirs while living in Florida, writing on saved half-sheets of faded blue paper to Agnes.
Dad wrote, “Now if it wasn’t for the Barnesboro Star Newspaper which I have been getting for a longtime, I wouldn’t be writing to you Agnes. There is only one issue per week and there are times I don’t get one for some time later, it got lost in mail somehow.
But there is one time that still stands out in mind. I don’t know what propelled me to go up the hill to your old homestead, maybe to get a haircut, from time to time your brother Joe used to give me a haircut. Anyway, when I got up there I found Magdalyn making sandwiches with fresh garden pick tomatoes."
Dad ended his communication with Agnes by telling her this: “Nearly year & half later I married a beautiful girl who at that time look(ed) pretty much like you, Agnes. Had a very nice beautiful church wedding. You can see in some of the pictures that I had sent you. About sixteen months later our son Edward was born Sept 1948. Twenty one months later our daughter Elizabeth was born. Next about four years later I bought two acres of nice beautiful land just outside city of Chicago. Town called Mokena.”
This part of my Dad’s story stops here. Yet there is so much more to tell . . . another twenty-five years or so . . . and one day I will complete the story about my father.  Till then . . .
I hope you enjoyed reading this story about my Dad and hopefully it will encourage you to write a story about your father or any of your family members. If someone does not write their stories, their history will be forever gone. Photographs are great to have, but the written word makes the picture come alive.
“You are our living link to the past. Tell your grandchildren the story of the struggles waged at home and abroad. Of sacrifices made for freedom’s sake. And tell them your own story as well – because (everybody) has a story to tell.”        
                                                                                                                       George H.W. Bush           
                                                                                                State of the Union Address 1990


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