Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Tracing the Footsteps

Family, History, Travel, Veterans, Walk Down Memory Lane

By now you know that Jill and I spent a couple of weeks in France.  Besides being the first two week vacation we've enjoyed in fourteen years it was also a pilgrimage of sorts - most of which I'll save to share another day.

Anyway, today is Veterans Day and I thought I'd take a moment to talk about my favorite veteran - Howard Gaertner.  Who also happens to be my dad.  Dad's been gone now for a couple of years but I'm sure he'd appreciate the mention.

This picture was taken on September 13, 1945 at Reims, France. That's sixty-seven years ago - an eternity by today's standards.  That's dad on the right and his best friend - Donald Darneider - a classmate from Cathedral High School. 

Check-out the shine on those boots!

Germany had surrendered in the spring of that year and Japan had surrendered a month earlier.  At the time this picture was taken dad was all of 21 years of age.  He'd already participated in the invasion of the European continent, spent three months in combat, was wounded and evacuated to England to recuperate and was returned to be part of the Army of Occupation.  This was turning out to be an exceedingly long deployment and a boatload of experience for that previously skinny depression lad that was drafted after graduating high school. 

Back to the trip. 

As an experiment we took a handful of old, grainy, black and white photos from post-war France along with us and attempted to locate where those pictures were taken.  The two below were taken of dad (by classmate Don) in Paris sometime in July of 1945...

I should have posed further to my left - away from the modern-day wheel chair ramp - but I think you get the picture.

My pal NewGuy suggested this.  If you want to see something that is both awe-inspiring and chillingly creepy.  Check this out  - The Ghosts of World War II         

More of the same here on flickr

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