In honor of what would have been my parents 69th wedding anniversary enjoy this repost.
World War II
The Wedding Postcards
To tell this story we must go into the future. We must move away from the 1940’s and into 2000, for just a chapter. By now you know that on that furlough in 1944 my parents got married. But in 2000 my family received horrible news. My sister’s home was burned to the ground. It was fully engulfed within 15 minutes. Our history was in that house: Our family Bibles; genealogy, Grandma’s and Dad’s bonds etc. who really knows what else we lost that day?
My husband and I were on our honeymoon when we heard of my sister’s house fire. We had come into town for my daughter’s surgery. I will never forget the conversation with Dad sitting on the cool stone hospital bench in the heat of the summer as he told me what had happened. It was a devastating blow. I knew our family history lie in those ashes.
About a week later Hubby and I headed up there to see what we could do. We ended up staying a month to get Sharon and her husband Harve back on the property. My sister lost 41 beloved cats in that fire. It was a special breed of Silver Tip Persian Cats. You can see her cats in movies like “Stewart Little.” One of her cats played Snowball, the big white cat in the movie and she sold a couple to Fancy Feast. “Gimmel” plays the pampered cat who gets his fancy feast served in a stemmed crystal bowl and the person in the scene clanks the spoon against the crystal which causes Gimmel to come running. She loved and took pride in these special cats. We set cat traps in hopes a few were able to get out of the house on their own. Doug and I went out each morning to check and reset the cat traps praying that we would find just one of her precious cats and disappointed each time we found the trap empty. I spent hours walking among the old oak trees calling for cats. I never found one though.
We were sifting through the ashes that had turned to muck from the water of the fire hoses. We were finding small things so it kept us going. A wedding ring, some jewelry, some coins and stuff like that. We had taken a break from sifting and had just come back to it. I knew we would never get through all of the ashes, but I was determined to find something important. It was hot, starting to smell really bad. I dreaded having to wear those masks that doctor’s wear. It was suffocating to me, as I am claustrophobic. I could not breathe. We were dirty, smelly, tired, and living in our motor home with two crazy Jack Russell Terriers. We only had the shower in the motor home so that meant very short showers. It was so discouraging we wanted to give up. I thanked God every morning for bringing me a wonderful husband who stood by me during this daunting task. He had to do things that I could not do. It was bad and he was by my side the whole time. I was assured that I had finally found the right man.
I was standing looking at my sister’s whole life turned into nothing but ash. There was not much left but hope. I thought what would Dad do? And I got back to work, because that is exactly what he would have done, without a thought. As I walked back I noticed in the area where I had been digging a piece of white paper that had not been there when we had left. I bent over to get a better look. It was an angel that my sister had drawn and cut out before the fire. It was the weirdest thing. It did not have one smudge on it, no burnt places, no water damage it was just sitting there where it had not been before. As I stood up I saw a small stack of what looked like postcards. The postcards in this post were in the middle and did not have too much damage. It was a miracle! Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, these pieces of our history had made it. I did not know at the time what an important role they would have in telling my parents story.I now know why they were spared: To help me become interested in preserving the story of the journey of the postcards that began in February of 1944 and ended 56 years later when an angel pointed the way to me to find them and retrieve these tiny pieces of our history.
I feel like I should say The End….
Update 2012. I wrote this originally back in July 2011. Back then I did not think that I would be writing Dad’s story and wanted to tell the story of the postcard. I also focused on this last post card I never realized that the other two postcards were written right before Mom met Dad in Nebraska. I did not know why Mom would write “We dood it.” on the wedding announcement. Finding my grandmother’s letters I came across this newspaper clipping she had enclosed in one of them. It seems in 1944 Red Skelton had an incident and at once I knew this was the key to the mystery of “We dood it.”
© notsofancynancy July 2011 Revised November 2012