A Soldier Is Home…

100 years ago today, Motor Man’s father was born.

I wrote the following post and originally published it on May 6, 2013, and again for Veteran’s Day in 2015.  So it will be familiar to those of you who have followed my blog for a while. But, in honor of his birthday and in his memory, I think it appropriate to share it again today. 

Last night, as we often do on Sundays, Motor Man and I had dinner with his parents. Although we always offer to help with dishes, his parents prefer that we just visit and insist on doing the dishes after we leave.

Motor Man and I cleared the table and sat back down to chat. We noticed his dad had taken an ink pen from his pocket and was quietly writing on the corner of a napkin. Motor Man asked: “What are you figuring, Pop?”. His dad replied: “67 years ago, I left France.”.

(A little background information, some of which I may have shared before. Motor Man’s parents {Mom and Pop} were married on June 6, 1942. She was 15, he was 20.

mom pop wedding day 6-4-2007 8-22-52 PM

Two years later, in the months before Motor Man was born, Pop was drafted and sent to boot camp in Texas.

Once boot camp was over, en route to New York for the trip overseas, Pop managed a quick visit with his wife and two-day old son (Motor Man).

PeteandJR

On to New York, where Pop boarded the Queen Mary, being used as a troop ship, and sailed overseas to defend our country during World War II.)

Back to last night:

Pop is a man of few words, so I jumped at the opportunity to ask questions. I learned that it was May 6, 1946, when, after completing his service in World War II, Pop left France headed for home.

pop as soldier_Snapseed

Sketch of Pop, done by a fellow soldier during WWII

I took out my cell phone and began taking notes. Pop, who made the rank of Corporal, sailed from France on the “Wheaton Victory”, arriving in New York on May 15. (I researched and found that the Wheaton Victory was one of 550 Victory ships mass produced by six shipyards in the U.S. from February 1944 through November 1945.)

sswheatonvictory

SS Wheaton Victory (internet photo)

According to Pop, the soldiers were wearing their “OD’s” (olive drabs), and Ike jackets.  From New York, they went on to Ft. Meade, Maryland, where they were issued new uniforms.

Pop then caught a ride to Richmond, Virginia with another soldier, whose parents had come to meet him and take him home.  From Richmond, Pop took the bus to Newport News, arriving home late at night on May 19. His wife knew that he was due home soon, but had no idea exactly when to expect him. (I’ve often said I would love to have been a fly on the wall when she answered that knock on the door.)

It’s easy to understand why May 6 is a memorable date in Pop’s life; he was heading home.

home of the brave 5-5-2011 7-56-12

Thanks, Pop. Job well done.

We lost Pop on September 18, 2013, at the age of 91.  He was always proud to have served his country.

~These Days Of  Mine~

7 responses to “A Soldier Is Home…

  1. Oh Dianna! What a well told life history. What a strong man (among the many that served our country) to leave his young bride and baby son.
    Loved the little details ( preferred doing dishes later, to just visit).
    Written with love! BEAUTIFULLY done.

  2. This story is fresh every time you share it – and so inspiring of the “Pop’s” part in the Greatest Generation. This is a treasure.

  3. I do remember your post about Motor Man’s Pop and it still is a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to this man from the greatest generation. How wonderful that you reposted this on his birthday. Sometimes I stop and calculate how old my dad and my father-in-law would be if they were still here with us, and it astounds me that time has flown by so quickly. My Dad would turn 103 this year and my father-in-law would be 124! You read that right! He was born in 1898.

  4. I recall this post and the telling of “Pop’s” story…..those of us with Dads who served during the war have heard similar stories (if we were lucky enough to have them here to tell) and our hearts swell with pride at their bravery. My Dad died in 1993 but he was career military and loved every second of serving his country. He’d be 106 this year. Thanks for sharing the story of “Pop” again – it’s special.

    Pam

  5. I do remember this one …
    And I’ll never get tired of seeing it …

  6. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    This story never gets old. Mr Keen was a fine man. He certainly served his family and country well.

  7. reneewilliams7

    Beautiful story…what a treat it must have been to listen to him. (Great idea to start taking notes!)

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