Had to share discovery (old photos)

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I have a photo album put together by my dad when he was in the Gilbert Islands and on Iwo Jima during World War II. The pages of the album started to deteriorate, and I finally got some acid-free archival materials to remount the photographs in a new album. These pictures were fixed to the pages with the old style black corner mounts, and have not been out of the album in 55 years or so. My dad didn't talk much about the war, and these pics are all we have from that time in his life.

The first half of the book, mostly shots of native girls and beaches and grass huts yielded no surprises. I was thinking how sad it was that the stories behind the pictures died with Daddy. Then in the new section of Iwo pics, a blank page, a large pic of the cemetery on Iwo, then pages and pages of smaller pictures. When I removed the first page of pictures and turned them over to attach the fixative.......

...my dad's handwriting. On more than 75% of the pics, my dad's thoughts, observations and stories. Some picture backs have just a few words, some are filled with narration. I am filled with awe. There is a picture of him on a cot, sleeping (same sleeping position I remember seeing him in during the last years of his life as he suffered from emphysema), and the back says, "I'll scoot over to make room for you."

There is the whole story of a plane that was shot up over Japan, pilot killed, the crew flew it to Iwo, but couldn't land due to damaged landing gear. All ten of them parachuted out over the camp, then other U.S. planes tried to shoot it down over the ocean. At first, they damaged only one engine, and it caused the plane to circle back over the camp, causing 'excitement.' When it got out over the sea again, it was successfully shot down.

I haven't even gotten through all of them yet. This is so wonderful.

-- Rose (open_rose@hotmail.com), January 15, 2002


Rose that is priceless. You might never have gotten this glimpse of him, had you not sought to restore the albums.

When I took down the accoustic tiles in our pantry, soon after we moved into this house in 1989, I found a box containing pictures of family gatherings at ocean city MD., Some glassware, and a miniature train in a box. The previous owner was glad to recover them.

I have since wondered, what else could remain in the ceiling in the club basement???

-- Rick (Rick_122@hotmail.com), January 15, 2002.

Sounds very interesting. History is so much more fun, when it is personal.

-- Melissa (me@home.net), January 16, 2002.

Oh that is so incredibly COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love to hear about things like that.. I have all of my father letters from WW@ and am now in the middle of researching why he got the Silver Star in Italy..he came home with it, stuffed it in a drawer and refused to discuss it at any time with anybody..the VA is looking it up for me. Good for you that you have those lovely memories of your father!

-- lesley (martchas@bellsouth.net), January 16, 2002.

I agree with Lesley, that is SO COOL!!! I love family history. We have documentation on dh's mother's family clear back to an officer who served in the army of William the Conqueror (1066) and whose son married into "William's" family. We have wills and stuff (copies) from the early times in England, when they first settled in America, lists of things they did to get ready for coming to Oregon on the Oregon trail in '47, and detailed accounts of coming out on the Oregon Trail and establishing homes, businesses and towns out here. Before my m-i-l passed away a couple years ago, I dug out the many unlabeled photos she had and spend weeks getting her to identify people, places and times. She couldn't remember them all, but we got the majority of them labeled. I am so thankful now that we did that, and we had a grand time doing it! It is one of my special memories of her. My f-i-l fought at Normandy Beach, Battle of the Bulge etc., and we have some letters, newpaper articles, medals, and photos, but not a lot of personal things written down. I sure wish he had done as your father did!

My own grandma, soon to be 102, has written much of her early life, including much of the day to day "boring" stuff, starting from immigrating from the Ukraine at the age of 3, and living in a sod hut on the prairie.

Please, everyone, at the very least, label your photos, and where possible, write little stories like Rose's dad did. If you can, sit down and write out your life story for your kids and grandkids. It's not as hard as you think, just start by jotting down some of your earliest memories, and build on that. One of the funniest stories my m-i-l (Eva) told me was when her mom, during very hard times, scrimped to buy some fancy material and make her a "fancy" dress to wear to school. Eva despised the material and refused to wear the dress. Her mother, who was very mild and never got angry, blew her cork and it ended up in a knock-down-drag-out fight, with Eva escaping under her bed and her mother poking at her with a broom trying to make her come out and put the dress on. M-i-l said one of her proudest accomplishments in life was that she never gave in and wore that stupid dress, LOL! I didn't think anything in my life was all that exciting (I never had to jump ship to America when the king put a price on my head for siding with Cromwell) but then my grandma probably didn't think writing about the furniture in their house, how they did laundry in 1917, or the poem she recited in grammer school was all that exciting either. However, the accounts of those early days are very precious to me and a piece of history. So, I am working on a life history to hand down to my own granddaughter. Don't put yours off til it's too late!

-- Lenette (kigervixen@webtv.net), January 17, 2002.

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