Thursday, November 8, 2012

Life.....Lived.

Early Saturday morning
as my husband and I
headed to spin class,
we stepped into the
garage and were greeted
by the chilly dawn air.

Wow, it's really cold,

he said.



Piling into our SUV,
he fired her up and
the radio came to life,
40's music drifting
cheerily around us.

{Our daughter's choice
of stations when she drives, 
to keep her calm and
centered.}

It was the WWII classic,
It's Been A Long, Long Time.




Imagine our GI's,
freezing in a fox hole
in Europe, listening
to this, 

my hubby
mused.

Imagine how grateful
they were for.....

everything,

when they got back
home, 

I added.

The greatest generation,

we both agreed.



Hot cups of coffee,
hot showers,
home-cooked meals,
hugging your loved ones;
all the things that we
take for granted, that
they never, ever 
would again.

When they returned, this
humble generation, many
never speaking about their
experiences over there,
proceeded to go to college
in numbers not seen before.
They raised families, started
businesses, and continued
to serve our nation in many
ways, for the rest of their lives.

Uncle Bill and Gigi, about 1921
My Great-Uncle Bill,
{my Gigi's brother}
was one of them.

After serving, Uncle Bill went to 
school on the GI bill and then 
on to law school, eventually
opening a small practice
of his own.

Uncle Bill in Europe

He and my Aunt Helen
lived a quiet life in a
 modest Cape Cod house
in Cleveland, Ohio.


As a youth, I'm told, he
was restless and yearned
for a bigger, fancier life than
what he had as the son of
a railroad man in Cleveland.

Uncle Bill as a boy.
But after The War, he saw
everything differently.
  
He was grateful.  
He was content.



Uncle Bill only lived to be 62.
 But I like to think, after his 
experiences in WWII,
 that he really, really

lived

those years.

Shouldn't we all?

xo
Suzanne

PS:  So grateful to
those who served,
and to those who
continue to serve,
this Veteran's Day.


All images from Gigi's
family album or my own.








35 comments:

Jemsmom said...

Isn't amazing and scary to think of what they wen through? I am so grateful to those who served with my dad being one of them. It is such a sacrifice that we can't even begin to understand.

I love Big Band music! It is on most of the time at our house!!! Tom always says I was born in the wrong era!

Charm Bracelet Diva said...

I can't help but be in agreement, my dad was Army Air Force Reconnaisance in WWII. He got his engineering degree on the GI Bill and, along with my mom, raised our family of 5 kids. We all went to college and grad school and have gone on to successful careers and lives. I know firsthand just how thankful we should be.

On another note, love the long hair!

Leslie said...

This is wonderful Suzanne. We are grateful to all those that serve.

The drive to succeed, contribute, accomplish, work .. and take pride in what you do. Life with a purpose completes us doesn't it?

Enjoy your weekend!

leslie

Susan T said...

Wonderful evocative music, like being wrapped in a warm cosy blanket.
We are all so used to a relatively easy life now. To have lived through the war years as my parents generation did must fundamentally alter your mindset, as you rightly say, a generation of people to look up to.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Living in England, we are surrounded by memories of WWII - maple trees planted by Canadian soldiers, pill boxes built in case the Germans landed, bomb shelters still seen. I am reading the most fascinating book about the evacuated English children during that war, which I'll be sharing on my blog soon.

Can't wait to see what conversations we will have in person in just a few weeks!! Yay!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good morning beautiful. My how you resemble your beloved GIGI. And I see a glimmer in your Uncle Bill's eye that I have seen in your eyes too.

Everything looks different after we have seen some REALITIES of life brought on by tragedies, and your Uncle lived a full life. I admire this generation, for they came home to rebuild and gave US to the best of their abilities, our hopes. Perspective is most definitely a good teacher and helps us to see from angles otherwise overlooked. Have a glorious weekend! Anita

jayneonweedstreet said...

Yes we should! Timely family tale - just love it! Maybe with this American economic crisis our stories and our children's stories will ring with similar sounds.

Biz said...

Amen!
Reading your words first thing this morning has really put everything in perspective.
Between both of our families we've served in nearly each branch of the military.
I am so honored to come from a long line of military men and women.
Also, I'm tickled that your daughter listens to 40's music when she drives, that made me smile.
Have a blessed day and stay warm!

Big Hugs from NC,
Biz

Sheila said...

oh that post made me cry.
It was so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your words and pictures.

Alicia said...

i love this suzanne. i needed to hear it today. my dad is a veteran. he was in vietnam. thank you for sharing this.

Low Tide High Style said...

It really is hard to imagine the conditions soldiers endured and continue to endure in many instances. My relatives also served during WWII, and I think of them whenever I visit Europe and how hard it must have been for them. So glad your Uncle Bill lived a happy life after his return.

Kat

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

So beautifully said, my friend. It's easy to take all that we have for granted when we've never suffered or done without. I worry sometimes that this life I am creating for my family is too soft, that it won't prepare my kids to be strong, but then again, there is a whole life to be lived and hardships will come in time enough.

We are so lucky for all the soldiers who have and do keep us safe, who sacrifice common comforts so we can all enjoy them.

NanaDiana said...

Suzanne-What a beautiful, heartfelt post. I, too, am so grateful for those that went before us and paved the way for the freedoms we have today. My own father was a veteran of WWI. He was a medic and never talked about the war. He didn't get married until he was 50 years old and I was born when he was 53. He was a wonderful dad. xo Diana

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Such a beautiful, thoughtful post, Suzanne...thanks so much for sharing your Uncle Bill with us...XO

michele said...

this music just transports me! what a debt we owe to these who served.

for our wedding reception, we chose a big band--so happy and nostalgic.

:)
michele

Sylvia said...

I LOVE these black and white pictures from Gigi's album. One of my simple pleasures is looking at my grandma's pictures as she remembers every single story behind each photo. The experiences of this generation somehow has always been a part of my childhood. I pretty much grew up listening to my grandpa's stories about war; he participated in WWII. I remember him wearing his medals when going to deliver speeches to students. " A little hero", that's how a journalist called him in his article and since then, it became sort of his nickname. He was an adventurous spirit and he told the stories with unforgettable sense of humor...Humble, courageous people...Thank you for your thoughtful post, Suzanne. As you may know, in Canada we call the day Remembrance Day and wear poppies from " Flanders fields". It's truly a special day to me!

pollydove said...

This is a precious post in so many ways! I love the old photos - what a treasure to have those. Living life in gratitude each day for the little things is truly what will bring happiness into our lives. Happy weekend!

Beatnheart said...

A beautiful heart wrenching post...

Xxcynthia

Deborah said...

So beautiful Suzanne...what a thoughtful post.
Hugs dear friend xo

Deborah xoxo

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

You have expressed in such a beautiful and personal way the honor of celebrating Veterans Day.

I am not quite ready for the cold weather. And, spin class on Saturday morning ... very impressive, my dear.

Fondly,
Glenda

Shelly W. said...

Oh my goodness, Suzanne, you say things in such a beautiful way, hitting just the right notes and nuances. I am seeing people these days yearning for something more, forgetting what's right in front of them, ruining their lives. This is such a wonderful reminder for all of us.

Claudia said...

My father went off to WWII at the age of 18. Came back at the age of 22. He won a Purple Heart. Yes, he is of the Greatest Generation but he has nightmares to this day. In fact, they've increased in recent years. They paid a huge price.
xo
Claudia

Hindsfeet said...

What a classy, meaningful tribute....

of *course* classy,

thanks for the perspective, Suzanne, the view from here is always a good one.
liz~*

Julie said...

{{{heart}}} LOVE you. Appreciate your writings...yes. They pay a price, but the changes make them understand things and SEE things a different way than we do. You are RIGHT. My Marine son, who is so much younger than me, and yet has experienced so much MORE than me, of life, on a level I cannot comprehend...he would nod. They DON'T like to talk about it. I think it is because if you weren't THERE, then you can't fully get it, therefore it is guarded, and held close, shared in measures with those they know will fully appreciate it. Thank you Suzanne. You write and communicate so beautifully. LOVING that picture of Gigi and Uncle Bill. made a smile rise up in me and spread across my face. truly a different generation...era... **My Marine is on his way back from an 8 month deployment...Praise the Lord. My youngest son, Kameron has recently sworn in to the Army National Guard here in Iowa, and my middle son, Jonny is preparing to enter the honorable USMC - following in his big brother's footsteps...so my heart appreciates your post today, more than you know. God bless them ALL! xoxoxo

Kelly said...

Thank you for remembering those who served. You are right ... the greatest generation. And my dear father was one of them. Your words, pictures, and oh the music...the music. Brings back such wonderful memories of years gone by. Oh for just one more day...

Whosyergurl said...

My Papaw was in the Navy. My Mamaw worked in a factory in Indianapolis. She was a real Rosie. My great-grandma cared for my Mother while everyone else was busy with war-time life. When Papaw returned, my Mother was scared of him. He didn't look like the man in the picture.
XO, Cheryl

Stitchfork said...

Yes we should Suzanne! My father and my husband served out great country.
xo
Cathy

The enchanted home said...

Bravo Suzanne for the best post I have seen yet in honor of Veterans day! What more noble or heroic job is there than to serve and fight for our great country? Hats off to all those who have and continue this great service.....just a beautiful poignant post! Worth sharing and passing along.....

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Well said Suzanne. I love listening to the 40's on Sirius radio! It makes me feel calm and happy too-especially with all the lunitic/rude drivers in the Dc area! PS-what a great fall photo of you on the sidebar :)
xo,
~R

Tricia said...

What a beautifully thoughtful post. My grandpa was in WWII. Most of what he went through is a mystery though, since he never spoke of it. He did write down a few memories...something I cherish.

Tiffini said...

beautiful..i always love the way you center me..xoxo

pretty pink tulips said...

Hi Suzanne,
I have so missed your wise words. This is such a poignant tribute to your Uncle and those who serve our country. I was embarrassed as my older son and I drove by our town courtyard, en route to my youngest son's football game, as there was a Veteran's Day program going on. It was scarcely attended with many empty chairs and suddenly I felt a pit in my stomach. We should have been there. Should have stopped and paid tribute to the mostly men who sat in their chairs facing the small audience, uniforms on. It made me think....and so does your post. What a sacrifice our veterans have made. I, too, hope that your Uncle enjoyed every one of his 62 years.

Also loved your post about your children, growing up and becoming aware of their appearance. One of mine is starting to notice a little...the other is blissfully unaware.

So good to be back!
xoxo Elizabeth

Mary Timmers said...

We don't know. Even my husband who is a vet, never saw active duty thank God. But they ALL gave at least their service and time, and were willing to give it all if necessary. If you travel to England you see evidence in every little town--the monument in the town center. They have this constant reminder. The sad thing, is that it generally takes a war to keep the memory and gratitude alive. Thanks to all who served!!

susan@avintagefarmwife said...

This is such a nice post! We must always be thankful to our service people who sacrificed so much. The freedoms we have in this country are so rare and MUST be preserved by each generation or they will be taken from us.

Lili said...

Beautiful and touching with treasured family images. Loved this Suzanne. xoxo