Sunday, May 25, 2008

Show and tell

Well, I wanted to do the show and tell, but my stupid camera cord is nowhere to be found. We have cords out the wazoo in here, so I keep pouncing on a cord thinking "Aha!" only to realize it is completely not my camera cord.
So I must look through the pictures already on my computer to show you what I want...

I was trying to take a picture of a picture and obviously it didn't really work...
This is a picture (of a picture) of me and my best friend L when we were probably 16 or 17. It was from one of those photo booths where you get 4 pictures in a strip.

My item for "show" is actually the necklace I am wearing in he picture. It's my grandfather's dog tag from WWII. I wish I could upload a picture of it where you could actually *see* it.
I have it with me all of the time. I use it almost like a security blanket. My grandfather was a tall, broad shouldered man who seemed able to take anything on. He had patience and humor and waiting arms. He had hair that stuck up and out. He taught me to play cards. As a little girl I would rub my cheek against his and giggle when his stubble tickled me. My siblings and cousin didn't have the same relationship with him that I did. I loved all my grandparents, but Grandpa Bill was special. He was mine and I was his.

My grandfather's dog tag has this sharp metallic smell that I love. When I am upset I pull it up to my lips and let the cool ridges of his thumbprint on the back soothe me. It has had countless tears run over its imprinted words.

I never really talked to my grandfather about his Navy service during WWII. I know he was stationed in North Africa. I know he was the checkers champion of his ship.
I don't know if he saw battle. If he saw wounded young men crying out for their mothers. If he cried for his.

Grandpa, I remember you. I know you're still watching out from heaven and I love you.

30 comments:

  1. Absolutely beautiful! Reminds me very much of my Grandpa Charlie & playing poker with pennies... Thanks for the memory!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The perfect post for Memorial Day. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beautiful post, Io. Thanks for letting us into your wonderful memories of your Grandpa. I struggle sometimes with the things I don't know about the people in my family, especially my mom's parents, who died when I was quite young. It's like there's a black hole there, where closeness should be. It's inevitable, but it's still sad. I'm sure your Grandpa is smiling down on you today, though.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Beautiful! I always like to read about people who had great relationships with extended family. The grandfather link was missing in my life - it was detached at best. It warms me to know that other people out there do have those loving relationships with extended family that I only dreamed of.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "He was mine and I was his."
    You are both so very lucky. My Granddad is smiling from above as he sees me read the tale of another woman who had such a special bond with her grandfather.

    Happy Memorial Day!

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a beautiful post. It brought tears to my eyes remembering my own Papa. What a great post for this weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  7. what a beautiful story! I agree it's the perfect memorial day post.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a wonderful show and tell. It's amazing the bond that a little girl can form with her Grandpa and how they last the rest of our lives. I'm glad you have such a touching momento to keep him close.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This post is such a wonderful tribute to your Grandpa, Io. He must be beaming with pride right now.
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a lovely post. My grandfather was killed in the war 5 weeks before my father was born so I never got to know him - you're very lucky to have such a poignant reminder of him...

    ReplyDelete
  11. what a lovely tribute to your grandpa. I like the idea of having something with you all the time. It sounds like it a constant source of comfort and strength.

    ReplyDelete
  12. How lovely that you have that as a memento of him.

    My grandpa was a medic in the front line, he would have seen some truly awful things. The strange thing is that I only learnt that recently, previously I'd been told he was a cook.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for sharing such touching thoughts. I have my father's dog tags from Viet Nam. I wear them on days I need to be brave because my father had to be brave when he was serving our country.

    I've been doing research on my family history and thought you might want to know that there are tons of web sites, including military ones, that can give you further details about your grand-father's service. You have all the details you probably need about him on the tags.

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a beautiful item to bring to show and tell. And what a wonderful security blanket it is.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Absolutely beautiful and poignant piece regarding your Grandfather. My Grandfather whom I called Papa was sent around the world with his career in the Air Force. He passed away a few years ago and was such a strong presence in my life.

    Thank-you for sparking a series of comforting memories for me!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Very sweet. I missed out on having a grandfather like that. I adored my dad's dad when I was very little, but as I grew older, I realized what a bad man he had been . Damn, that's not at all what I wanted to say in response to your post... what I really wanted to say is that this sounds like a beautiful memory, and it's so lovely that you have that physical reminder of your relationship with him. And yes, a very timely post for Memorial Day...

    ReplyDelete
  17. This post brought tears to my eyes. It's so beautiful that your relationship with your grandpa continues to comfort you; I am sure that makes him very happy.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I too had a grandfather in WW2. He was a cook and I am fortunate he wrote his story down after retirement. It seems they all saw bloodshed and no one escaped the tragedy of war. I believe so many WW2 soliders were not able to talk about it. I love that his dog tags give you comfort and strength and that your post made all of us reflect on our grandfathers. Beautiful and poinant.

    ReplyDelete
  19. wow what a great show and tell. so beautiful!

    NaComLeavMo

    ReplyDelete
  20. Ah, what a beautiful post! The tears are now flowing freely. Of course, that could be the hormones, but still, beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  21. NaComLeavMo

    That's so beautiful! what a great post for memorial day.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Your post is beautiful. It makes me think of my own grandfather. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Made me think of my Grandpa, too - and how happy he would be to know of his first great-grandchild that will be born this year...
    Thanks!
    Yael

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for coming by my blog and hating on the embie-losers with me. I appreciate it!

    I wish I had talked to my grandfather about his war service too. Not that he would've wanted to, he was always very mum about it. He was a flying ace stationed in Italy in WWII. At the orchestra Saturday they played the service hymns and had the vets stand for their branch. I wanted to stand for his but was afraid the other old vets there wouldn't know why I was standing and would be offended. But I thought of him.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hey- it's very very easy- 1/4 to 1/2 a bar of soap (we used dove) shaved & mixed with hot boiling water. let it cool then add 1/2 cup Borax & 1/2 cup washing soda (similar to baking soda). If you google it you'll find lots of similar variations. I think everything cost less than $8 and one recipe will make the equivalent of a big jug of detergent. The rest of the boxes should end up making at least 6 or 7 batches I think...

    ReplyDelete
  26. Just visiting from NCLM. That's really special that you have his dog tags. It sounds like he really meant a lot to you.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Beautiful! You are a fantastic writer. I'm looking forward to reading more from you!

    Also reminded me of how I remember my grandparents - thanks for prompting some good memories for me!

    ReplyDelete
  28. What a beautiful story, Io. It's funny how such little things can spark such a rush of memories in us. For me, it's raw wood and linseed oil. All of a sudden, I'm five years old in my grandfather's workshop. That smell is everything about him.

    ReplyDelete
  29. You made me cry this morning. I love this story and that you have his tags.

    ReplyDelete
  30. beautiful post...i hadn't read blogs over memorial day weekend because i ended up sick (and getting IV fluids in the ER) - catching up now and that was beautiful. thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete