Friday, June 12, 2009

October, 1917

Camp Mills, Hempstead, NY, in Nassau County, Long Island

I am in possession of
a falling-apart scrapbook
of letters, postcards, and newspaper clippings
from 1917-1918,
picked up from my cousin last night.

In 1917, my 17-year-old grandfather
enlisted in the infantry.
He was named after his father
and as a child and young man
was called Junior or Junie
by his family.

Someone (my great-grandmother? one of my great-aunts?)
carefully chronicled the events of the war
and my grandfather's role in it.

I'm waiting to hear from a local military history museum
about how best to handle the fragile pages.
It is going to take quite a while to go through the materials and
figure out the best way to scan and organize them
so they can be shared with the rest of the family.

In the meantime, a sample:
a postcard sent in October 1917
to his six-year-old brother Bobby

"Dear Bobby
Here are some
guns like Junie
is going to shoot
the Germans with.
I hope you had
a nice birthday.

As I go through the letters,
I can't help but think
that World War I was also known as
the War to End All Wars.

Wouldn't that be nice.

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