Sunday, July 8, 2007

G.I. Ed

Over the years my father has created a pretty substantial archives of family photos, including old black and white snapshots from the 30s and 40s, and even some tintype images from the 19th century. Many of the oldest images he has even scanned and printed to share with widely scattered family members via email. His indexing system would make an archivist at the Library of Congress proud . . . but that's no surprise given his background as an overly anal accountant. (Although I have professional training as a historian and archivist, I'm afraid I must have skipped the line when they handed out the accountant's genes.)

While digging through some of his numerous flash drives and an external hard drive last week, I ran across some humorous photos of his time in the army. He was drafted during the Korean conflict and, thanks to high test scores, spent his entire time in the U.S. Army taking courses for the Signal Corps. He even got to work on some of the early mobile radar systems. Nevertheless, while he likes to talk about his brief stint in the army, particularly the period during which he was stationed at Fort Monmouth, NJ, close to New York City, he rarely has anything nice to say about the experience itself. Given his independent character - and a stubbornness that persists to this day - I'm not surprised! Unlike me, he never would have voluntarily chosen to attend a school like the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), which gave me four "fun-filled" years from which I'm probably still recovering twenty years later. Ed took his two years in the army and never looked back.

This second image, which I haven't seen in a few years, was always a favorite as a kid, primarily because I never could imagine my father riding a scooter. It just didn't mesh with his rather staid accountant's personality. Remember all of those Monty Python jokes about boring "chartered accountants" (the Brit equivalent of our CPA's)? I always thought my dad fit into that category. Time has revealed that he did have a slightly wild streak . . . although it's safe to say that a significant portion of my geek credentials were inherited from him! This photo gave me hope that for at least a brief moment in his early 20s my father was at least slightly cool.

Finally, here's an image of my father with his older brother, who had volunteered for Korea at the start of the war. I don't know the circumstances behind this 1952 meeting, but I'm guessing that they were both on leave and hooked up in El Paso for some fun. (My dad was stationed at Fort Bliss.) By the way, don't you just love the clothing of the 1950s!? I love the cut of the pants.

1 comment:

One Wink at a Time said...

Ooooh, I love old pictures. If you have to look for another reason to make your dad cool, count that he saved all those old photos. My dad saved enough to fit into an old candy box (maybe chocolate-covered cherries?) about 6"x4"x4" and I could look through them for hours. If only he hadn't died before I finished incessantly asking questions. He had a lot from his time in Korea also. He was a very handsome soldier. And I'm with you on the clothes from the 50's. Way cool.
Oh, yeah- welcome home!