We fly our flags this weekend to honor our fallen heros.
We owe a great debt of thanks to all the veterans of the U.S.A.

As I think about what Memorial Day means, I remember this World War II, Love Story.

My parents met before the war. Like everyone else, when Pearl Harbor was attacked,  Mitty enlisted.   He must have taken an aptitude test because before he shipped out, he was sent to Telegraph School.  There are photographs in Mom’s old album of Dad’s first day at school and then at graduation.  Upon graduation he received his assignment and went directly over seas.  For months, Eleanore and Mitty wrote letters back and forth.  At some point, Dad had leave in the U.S. and landed in Kansas City, MO.  He asked my mom to get on a train and come as fast as she could to Kansas City, MO.   He asked her to marry him. 

War Time Wedding Portrait of Eleanore and Mitty

Eleanore grew up and lived in a small New Jersey coastal town.  At that point in her life, I believe the farthest she traveled from New Jersey, was to New York.  It’s hard for me to imagine her taking a train across the country.  I do think her love for my father made her brave and strong.

At Sunday dinner, she announced to the family that she was going to Kansas City to marry her beloved, Mitty.  My Aunt Frances, Gram’s sister and  family matriarch, said:   “No, you are not getting on a train and traveling alone across this country!”  

Lucky for my Mom, her older brother, Alfred was at dinner.  He stood up,  and firmly told Aunt Frances, “Eleanore loves Mitty.   As far as he was concerned, she was getting on the next train to Kansas City to go and marry him.” That day, Uncle Alfred became the head of the family. Although Mom was close with both her brothers, I now understand why Eleanore so loved and adored her big brother, Alfred.
Dad on his ship at work sending and receiving coded messages.

I am sure that Uncle Alfred put Eleanore on that train and Mitty met her at the station in Kansas City.  They married, like so many other couples did at that time.  She stayed with him until he shipped out again, over seas.  

Happy Newlyweds strolling in downtown Kansas City, MO

Uncle Alfred in uniform

Younger brother, my Uncle Joe in uniform

Uncle Joe in the field

Uncle Alfred

Eleanore and Alfred as children

We were a lucky family.  My dad and my uncles all survived WWII.  They came home and each went their separate ways.   In spite of the distance separating everyone, the family remained close.  I have great memories of visits during holidays, vacations and birthdays.   Eleanore and Mitty remained together until his death from heart failure in 1972.  Eleanore was never the same after he left us.  She eventually succumbed to cancer in 1981.  When I think of them I always see them together: happy and completely in love.



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