The weather has finally turned for the better here in PA and I can’t be happier. I abhor winter and could spend every waking minute sitting in the sun. In fact, I’m working on a personal outdoor record today (aside from those times I’ve been at the beach). I’ve worked out a way to position my deck chairs to get every part of my body in the sun at intervals. (No worries – I don’t stay out long enough to ever get burnt and I monitor my sun times.)
Plus, due to this increased sunny weather, all my plants have taken off. Our peonies are in full bloom right now and the garden is bursting at the seams! I even had to borrow a tomato cage from the pastor because my cherry tomato plant has recently tripled in size! (He was impressed that I have blooms already so I guess I must be doing something right…) And my butter crunch lettuce seems like it might even be ready to start picking!
We spent the holiday with my parents and I poked and prodded them for memories of my ancestors to add to my research. I’ve taken on a six month Ancestry.com membership so I’m trying to make the most of it. Dad pulled out some medals that had been my maternal grandfather’s – I’d never seen them before. Here’s a tip to the wise if you’re doing ancestry research: Ask those still alive for any memories, stories or even obituaries. I’m amazed that my parents have known I’m doing this stuff, but don’t share everything they have. It’s like pulling teeth sometimes!
I’ve figured out recently that my grandfather served in the 25th Infantry Division of the Army in WWII. He enlisted shortly after D-Day and was in both the Philippines and Japan at some point. I wish he were still around so I could ask why he enlisted. He had only been married four years and his children were both under the age of three.
My dad still had grandpa’s dog tags, a good conduct medal and some Army ribbons he wore. The ribbons are (from what I can tell online)(from left to right and top to bottom): Asiatic Pacific Campaign, Good Conduct, Philippine Liberation, WWII Victory, and WWII Army Occupation. (Please note: Some are upside down in this pic.) The bottom photo is his grave marker indicating his war service.
He came home to his family in 1946. I can only imagine the stories he could have told, but now I’ll never know.
During my research on Memorial Day I also came across a death certificate for my 2X great grandmother. Sadly, she had died in the local insane asylum from “exhaustion due to melancholia.” Basically – she worried herself to death. It’s not a joke. Severe depression and anxiety can affect your organs and begin to shut them down over time. I felt an immediate kinship with her as I, too, have struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life. But unlike her, I’ve taken steps to overcome it and there is so much help out there today that I’m sure she didn’t have access to then. It’s a sad fact in my history, but one I’m glad to have overcome. I wish I had a picture of her to share here, but I don’t. Maybe someday my research will turn up one.
I don’t want to leave on a sad note… so let me leave with this – my instructions for you this week:
Take the time to smell the flowers, grow your own produce, enjoy your family and preserve the past. God bless!