Posted by: notsofancynancy | March 3, 2012

World War II Chapter 1 The Adventure Begins

World War II

Chapter 1

The Adventure Begins

The Letters

My parents moved into a rest home in 1994 due to my mother’s failing health. My daughter and her husband bought their house. In the attic they found a suitcase of letters. It seems like I should have known about the letters but heck, I must have forgotten. Both my sisters and brother knew about them, so I must have known at one time. They are all letters my father wrote to my mother and a few he wrote to my grandmother. The first one was written in 1937 and the final one in 1945.  They would span many changes in my mother and father’s lives, their relationship and their families. The letters are few until my father gets mustered into the Army on 23 December 1940. Then is when they fill the suitcase.

When my daughter Tania first told me about the letters I knew that something had to be done with them, after all they ARE our history. I took them home and put them all in chronological order. I scanned that first letter and looked at how many were left and I became overwhelmed. There are SO many of them, did I mention it is a suitcase full? There may be thousands, but I guess we will find out together if you want to join me for this adventure.

The Pictures

When my parents sold their house, my nephew, Harold, and his wife, Kris, became guardians of our family pictures. Thank goodness they took them and kept them safe until my siblings and I came to our senses and realized something was missing from our lives, our pictures. I started looking to find my family tree information to pass on to the kids and grand kids. I am told that is something that happens at this stage in life. Old age is when we gather our history and get it ready to hand down. It is a good thing the younger generation told me as I did not even know I was middle age yet!

About seven years ago Kris and Harold moved to New Jersey and our family pictures went with them. In the meantime I had started working on the family tree. I got a chance to go to New Jersey and stay a couple of months in September of 2011. Harold is a stay at home dad and he had to go away for 6 months because of a job and Kris travels with her job so I stayed and helped with his kids so they could keep their commitments. I went on a scanning spree while I was there. I scanned 1600+ family pictures into my computer. There were thousands of unidentified pictures I did not scan. The 1600 were just the ones I could identify or that my family has identified and written names on the picture. My focus was getting as much historical information as I could from the pictures and I believe I have been successful.

While I was organizing the mass of pictures I came across a black unassuming photo album. As I flipped through the pictures I only saw pictures of my father’s time in WW II, with the 110th Quartermaster, in the US Army. There were only names of three men visible, Tribble, in St Jean, France, Levinsky, and Dudley. Since I did not have a lot of time there, I set this album aside thinking I would take it home and give it to my brother Loren for Christmas.

I am a history nut and had been studying the homesteading my great grandparents did. I have started two books about that era. When I got the album home I decided I should scan the pictures before I gave them to my brother; after all they are now historical pictures. I took them out of the original album to scan and was excited by what I found. Last names, places, and a few comments, my father wrote on the backs of the pictures. What I also found was that although there are several pictures of my father in this album, it was more an album in honor of the men my father served with. All of a sudden I got a little panicky and felt it was up to me to get as many pictures to the families of these men as I could. It was then I knew what I had to do. Reunite these pictures with the families who might or might not, already have them.  I needed to work with this collection, find any surviving family members possible, and pass on the story of the 110th 35th Quartermaster.

To make a long story short, as of today, Leap Day–29 February 2012, with help from Roberta Russo who maintains a Memorial Website for the134th Infantry, who found a roster of the 110th 35th Quartermaster Company; Find A Grave, a website that documents where people are buried; and Doris Cain, daughter-in-law of our soldier Marvin Cain; I have been able to put full names to 77 different men in the pictures. Also with the Cain Family’s kindness, our pictures have grown from 209 to 345 images in the collection.

When I first saw the album I had no idea where it would take me. I am two months into trying to find family members of the soldiers whose pictures I have. So far, I am in touch with three daughters, two sons, one granddaughter, one cousin, a nephew, one distant cousin, an ex-son-in-law and Harry, a man who trained with the 110th QM and who is still alive. Harry was born in 1919, the same year as my father, and has a good memory at age 92.

There has to be a reason why we have all been brought together. I am amazed that I was able to find one family member let alone as many as I have. I do have to believe this path has been laid by God and our fathers, the men of the 110th QM. It is for our fathers I embark on this journey. I hope you will join me as I delve into the thoughts and actions of a kid who became a man while he was on his way to fighting in a war.

It is for our families I will try to tell their story.

Copyright © 2012 notsofancynancy

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Responses

  1. Wow, what a memory and honor for those familes of the veterans. It makes me want to get out the photo albums I inherited from my Mom and go through them. Unfortunately I don’t have anything from my Dad’s WWII service, but I do from the Korean War.

    I too love history and when you can connect personal history with text books it means even more.

  2. Thank you so much for stopping by and joining in my adventure. It should be interesting!

    God Bless all those who have served!

  3. Wow!! I am so proud of the work that you have accomplished, dear friend!! 🙂 God has definitely given you the task and has His hand in it! Your passion has driven you and I wish you great success!! You are making alot of people very happy and yourself as well!! Take great pride in your accomplishments and goals!

    • Thank you so much Linda… And you are one of the reasons I continue!
      Big Hugs

  4. This is an incredible task you have given yourself, but I have complete faith that you’ll be able to do a fantastic job of it, and make your family proud!

    • Thanks Beverly! You have been one of my biggest supporters! I will read your note when I get frustrated! and it will help me keep on writing!
      God Bless my friend!

  5. Thank you for yor comment on my blog. I stopped and started reading your blog on World War II. It is an amazing blog. I am a Vietnam Veteran and I want to thank you for sharing these wonderful letters. I was wondering if it would be ok if i reposted your blog entries on my blog. I am sure that my subscribers would enjoy reading them as much as I did. I would of course give you all the credit and recommend that they also visit your blog.

    • First of all THANK YOU for your service. Vietnam had a big influence on my views on our soldiers. I swore I would Welcome each of you home as I met you so Welcome Home. If you were here I would give you a big hug and thank you in person. I have very strong views about the way you were treated. It was not fair and I am sorry.

      Stepping down off my soap box I would be honored to have you re-post my fathers story. Thank you for taking the time to read it. It is something we all need to preserve!

      God Bless

  6. […] Nancy finds a suitcase of letters in her parents’ home. The suitcase contains the letters written by her father, from 1937 to 1945, building the relationship with her mother (and much more). In Nancy’s words, the “the thoughts and actions of a kid who became a man while he was on his way to fighting in a war”. […]

  7. […] you ever discovered a treasure trove of family documents or photos. NotSoFancyNancy found a suitcase full of letters from her dad to her mother. Here is what Nancy had to say about the find. When my daughter Tania […]

    • Thank you so much for your support. With friends along it does not seem so overwhelming!

      God Bless

  8. Being in the Army, I can say that I have never thought about the hundreds of pictures I have from the early days and all the people in them. It is just a fraction of the hundreds of people I have served with either directly or co-located with. As I get closer to 20 years the pictures come with much less frequency, but the memories of the early ones pop up more and more.

    I look forward to coming back and catching up on what you have written so far. This is a very unique topic. I wish I were able to focus my blog on a subject such as this. Mine is mostly a means to keep a little sanity in my life, a bit of self-prescribed therapy. My topics are pretty much all over the place. This month is dedicated to my fellow comrades in arms both past and present, but generally it is just a healthy means for me to vent and keep my writing skills sharp.

    Thanks for such a unique look at history.

    • First and foremost thank you for your service.

      Your pictures are historical pieces of who and where you served with. Think about putting names on them so they will be preserved in history. Dad only did to some, but not all. I hooked up with another soldiers daughter and with her fathers album, which were the same pictures, I was able to get it up to 72 names. I feel blessed.It is like the soldiers of the 110th-35thQM are leading me on the journey from heaven.

      Thank you for joining us! It is because of readers like you I continue.

      God Bless

  9. Wonderful and such a moving tribute to your dad and the war veterans and their families. It must have been so exciting and very emotional to work your way through the suitcase of letters. I agree with your comment about needing to learn more about out family history as we get older, I’m in the process of looking into mine, it’s an exciting prospect. I’m looking forward to working my way through your posts in the order that you have written them to discover what you have discovered! 🙂

    • The fun thing about it is, I have not made it through the suitcase yet. I am not even through the first row yet. That is why I need everyone’s help and encouragement. It is emotional to be all up in my parents business. lol I still have way too many to go. It is with people like you who are interested in his story, I push on!
      God Bless

  10. God Bless you for having the intelligence and dedication to share your family’s experience.

    I am a peace time Marine and I try to honor and recognize all veterans and their contributions in all ways I am able.

    You have to finish your book so the history will be available to everyone.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. It is these kind words that get me through the times when these letters are overwhelming. Thank you for your service and I hope you will join us as we travel through my fathers war.
      God Bless

  11. What an adventure! You have a great purpose here for your family. Go boldly forward and follow those dear spirits into the realm of memories. What a golden opportunity to showcase their contributions to the cause of our freedom! God bless you. Shalom

    • Thank you so much! I cannot tell you how much it means to me and on those rough days your words will keep me going! God Bless

  12. You have an incredible family treasure…and a personal insight into a period that is sadly being forgotten before it is known.

  13. Absolutely captivating, this in my humble opinion is what I call a blog! I wish you every success on your journey and wait with baited breath to read what you discover. Kibd Wishes from the UK.

    • Thank you for your kind words. Being blessed with comments like yours is what keeps me going! I feel like each comment I get is a hug from my dad. He has been gone for 11 years now and each hug/comment is cherished.

      God Bless

  14. Beautifully written Nancy. What a wonderful tribute to your Dad and what a treasure for those of us whose parents were in WW II as well.

    • Thanks it is comments like this that keeps me going!

  15. Just writing my little blog seems like work some days! What you are doing honors everyone who has fought for their country.

  16. What a noble project you have taken on. Your dad would be so proud.

    • Thank you so much, some days it is a little overwhelming. I keep on because I know Dad is proud. Thanks again!

  17. I see I am not alone honoring those men who gave all for their country.
    I know your father is looking behind your shoulder each time you write all about his memories.

    • Thank you so much, your comment brought a tear to my eye. I have to believe he and his division are watching.

  18. Inspiring blog to say the least…excites me to know there are “others” who think along the same lines as I do…preserving historical documents and images. Thank you for the like, and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    • Thanks for stopping by. I do hope you will join us. We are in chapter 25 and a lot has happened, but I don’t want to ruin it in case you want to read it in order. lol Thanks again!

  19. I thought it best I go back to the beginning of your story, so here I have begun.

    How fascinating to find out I am not the only one to take such a journey. Well, our journeys are different but have similarities.

    Three years ago I took on the challenge of finding my second cousin’s past. He died as a tail gunner in WWII when the Lancaster he was in crashed in the Alsace.

    You are so lucky to have such a wealth of information in letters. I have some letters but not nearly so many.

    Like you I have contacted the families and between their photos and stories, along with my research, including service records, operation logs, historical accounts etc., I have learned about their lives, collected it all together, wrote it down along with my experience of researching (including my travels overseas to walk in their footsteps) and the conclusions I came to through my journey. Now I am in the process of having the whole story edited for publication.

    It is a shame more people do not do this.

    I look forward to reading more!

    • Thank you so much and I agree I wish more people would do the same. It is good to find another who knows how important it is we share their stories.

  20. What a fascinating story! I feel privileged to be standing on the sidelines and learning about this part of history. Thanks for being the guardian of such important artifacts.

    • Thank you so much! I also have learned so much from the letters, it has been amazing!

  21. Thanks for sharing the link, the story has finally come full circle for me. Such an amazing find.

    • Thanks again Will. I feel blessed. It has been almost a year since I started on this journey and I have learned so much about my parents and the war that changed their lives.


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