While I was going through the documents that he still had I stumbled on his "Photo Finishers Certificate."
I asked him about this and he told me that he used to take and develop his own photos during the war. I've got an envelope with about 30 pictures that he took/developed while at sea and during some of their "landfalls" and he also took the picture of his ship (LST-1022) posted in the previous blog
My current quandary is that I have this box sitting atop a shelf in my garage. My garage is cold in the winter and hot in the summer. The box is 70+ years old and I don't want it to get any further damaged.
My ultimate plan for this box would involve using it to store my genealogy books and papers and almost making it into a piece of furniture, kind of along the lines of a cedar chest. There are 2 strikes against me if I try to do this: 1)We live in a shoe and there isn't anywhere to put it currently and 2)It's currently quite ugly and I don't believe my wife would want it inside anywhere where it could be seen by anyone but us.
When my grandpa passed away my grandma was sorting through his papers (he was kind of a pack rat - she even found the original building permit for when he built their house fifty-some years ago). She found a couple pages he wrote about his time in the war when I asked him to write some of his experiences down for my oldest son. He never finished them but what he did I've put away for him but later in the same pad of paper she found this:
I'm not sure when he wrote this but I'm suspecting a couple years ago (his handwriting got quite bad - this is about halfway between his normal handwriting and the last things I saw him write).
He undoubtedly intended that this be found and knew that I would want to know more about the box. I'm sure at some point he told me this information but being younger I never wrote it down and I certainly didn't remember it.
So fellow family history enthusiasts and bloggers - my question for you: What would you do with this box? Would you leave it as is or would you have it 'restored' to ensure it's strength and to fix the peeling top? Would you repaint it or leave it as it is? I'm leaning toward trying to find someone would could restore it for me but I'm not even sure where to start on such a task. Perhaps someone is reading this from Michigan and would have an idea.
I leave you with some photos that my dad found (after my grandpa died) in a canister labeled "WWII 35mm". My dad got them developed and some of them were pretty neat. Unfortunately we don't know who the other people in the photos are but the assumption is that he took most (if not all) of them.
The engine compartment of the LST-1022. This one is important to me because we took grandpa on a tour of the LST-393 that's docked in Muskegon MI 6/9/2011 and despite the fact that he was heavily on oxygen and having trouble walking he absolutely insisted that he get down into the bowels of the ship to show us the engine room. They had a recording you could play of the engine noise and it was deafening!
Here he is next to the LST-393 engine compartment. He worked on these engines and was absolutely thrilled to be able to see them again (it'd been 65 years since he was last on one of these ships). I've got oodles of pictures from that trip. When the curator found out he had someone that had actually served on an LST aboard he was all over helping us on the tour and making sure that grandpa had everything he needed. At the end of the tour there was a local news reporter there that wanted to interview him. Thankfully I was able to turn my camera on and record the interview. He rarely opened up about the war but when we got him around the ships he seemed to really want to share what he remembered.