just a box of spoons

The local newspaper is collecting stories from WWII veterans, Hollywood is cranking out spiffy war movies and the history channel keeps showing programs about war. I know what they’re doing and I know why they’re doing it. That doesn’t make it any less creepy. Still, it all makes me think about my grandfather. My grandfather isn’t around anymore so he won’t be available for an interview. You couldn’t have gotten an interview from him when he was alive anyway. Although a career Navy man who lied about his age to join at the start of World War II, he told almost nothing about his work, his experiences or his feelings. It must have meant something or he wouldn’t have stayed in the military until his retirement. I know that after he died my mother found a box full of medals and old uniform buttons. I know from his records that he spent most of his life on enormous ships working in the medical department. From that I can imagine that his stories were just too cold and cruel to repeat. I can only tell one story about his war experiences because it is the only one he ever told me. My grandmother was showing some demitasse spoons to me and explained that they came from Hitler’s home. I looked at her sort of funny and my grandfather piped up and told the story, with absolutely no details or elaboration so I apologize for the absurdity of it. There was no fighting, only massive looting when all the men took turns leaving the ship to explore what they knew was a historical site. My grandfather (who was a very practical man) grabbed all of the silverware before they were rushed back to the ship. On the long journey back to California the looting continued until all that my grandfather held were a set of delicate silver demitasse spoons. My mother has the spoons now. She has no plans for them. It’s not the sort of thing that you put on display. It would be wrong to casually auction them off on Ebay. So, they are wrapped in cloth and stored in an old shoebox waiting to be pulled out and shown to the next generation of grandchildren. That is our family’s war story. What is YOUR family’s story?

4 thoughts on “just a box of spoons

  1. That is actually a pretty interesting bit of history that you have. My grandfather served on a british aircraft carrier in WWII and he never told me anything about it. My grandmother tells the story about having her whole block bombed flat in the blitz that hit Glasgow, how she lost everything in that one night. I would love to ask my grandpa about that time but I just wasn’t that interested while he was alive and now its too late. Hindsight is 20/20 I suppose.

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