Sunday, November 28, 2010

You haven't changed a bit

People used to say it a lot more often to me. You haven't changed a bit.

I am still within 10 pounds of what I weighed when I was 18. My hair is still mostly red, although there are a few more blond spots.

I was thinking of my old monkey. I don't know his name, if he had one. I just remember him as monkey.

I got him when I was very young. He moved several times with my family before we settled in Tallahassee. From the photos it looks like he stayed for a while with my nieces.

This photo was taken in 1972 with my neice Jenny in Tallahassee.

My parents moved to Bradenton in 1974 but he moved back to Tallahassee with my sister Cathy and he seems to have been a close friend of my neice Bekah in 1976.

I am sure we have photos of him with my kids but couldn't find them. He has been a companion to two of our foster children and Cedric calls him "my monkey" today. Unfortunately he has been relegated to the dress up box.

Yes, he was stuck in an old steamer trunk with broken parasols, fur from an old collar and numerous hats and mis-matched shoes. I am not sure he has aged as much as the rest of us over the last 50 years. A couple seams that could use some thread and an ear that someone chewed on for too long, but all in all he looks pretty good.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just an old store

Shortly after my ancestors moved to Cortez, Florida in the 1880s a wood frame store was built on the waterfront. It was a simple structure and they probably thought it would do for a while. I am sure they never expected it to outlive them.

It was used over the years not just as a store but a hotel, residence and in more recent years as a U.S. Coast Guard station. It survived not just 100 years facing the the harsh coastal wind but several direct hits by hurricanes.

When the government wanted to build a new home for the Coast Guard the 100 year old store was scheduled to be demolished.

The current residents of Cortez scrambled to save it, find a place to store it temporarily and then made plans to restore it. The temporary storage lasted over 13 years but it was finally moved to a permanent location and renovation begun. The goal is to have a family life museum in the store, to celebrate all the families who grew up, lived and died with the store.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day. We are supposed to use this day to honor veterans. Those who served our county in the the military forces during war or peace.

I have a number of relatives and ancestors for whom I could give this honor. Cousins, brother and father in law, uncles and many grandfathers who served going back over 300 years.

But for this day, I choose to honor to my father.

Benjamin Clyde Green enlisted in the US Army on July 18, 1936, without any requirement or draft influencing his decision. He served during parts of four decades and on at least six continents.

He transferred from the regular Army to the Army Air Corps in 1937 because he wanted to fly. Later he joined the United States Air Force when it was organized during WWII. When the US Strategic Air Command opened bases in Europe and around the US he was there.

He served in combat and spent many years away from both his Florida hometown and his family. After he got married in 1949 he brought his family along with him to duty stations in Florida, Ohio, France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Kansas and Texas.

He was probably disappointed that neither of his sons served in the military but he never said so. At least not to us.

He was proud of his own service and always gave respect and his thanks to veterans. He gave money to help build the WWII Memorial but didn't live long enough to see it completed.

So from this son, Thank You for your service!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Save the clipping

My wife's grandmother saved this Abilene, Texas newspaper clipping for over 40 years. Her son, Reginald Eugene Glenn had joined the Navy in November 1944 and I am sure she was proud of him. He was too young to join, only 17 and she had to sign the enlistment papers to give him permission.

Gene made it through the war but had a tough life afterwards and was shot to death in 1961. I found a couple other Abilene, Texas newspaper articles that listed him; one for an auto accident he had while driving a cab, one for a divorce and a couple when his elementary class was written up for something.

This was the one his mother kept.