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31 January 2012 @ 10:35 pm
A couple of really cool stories about my awesome Goong Goong <3  
Sometime last year, my uncle found this awesome snapshot of my grandfather and posted it to his photography blog:

I love it! He looks so young and optimistic.

I emailed my uncle about the image, curious about its history. This is what he said:
Grandpa’s (GP) photo was in a stack that appears to have been printed around WWII. This I surmise, because the “stash” of photos included some photos of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, along with some photos of some of Grandma’s (GM) co-workers at the Navy Yard. GM worked in supply, keeping track of supplies being sent to the Pacific theater, which is how she always knew where Uncle Bob [her brother] was, as he was stationed on a submarine tender (think floating garage)...GP did “sweetheart” photos for wives to send to their husbands who were stationed overseas, so the photo collection had a lot of non-Chinese women. Also, a nice character portrait of a naval flyer who I assume was somebody’s husband...

...One of the Navy wives lost her husband when the destroyer USS Hammond was sunk while trying to help evacuate sailors from the USS Yorktown during the Battle of Midway in June of 1942. This battle, incidentally, was a major naval victory in the Pacific, as all four enemy aircraft carriers were destroyed in one morning, effectively stopping the enemy advance in the Pacific.

Fast forward about 50 years. GP was having dinner at a dive of a restaurant in Emeryville owned by a distant relative. In comes a burly truck driver named “Moose” who sits next to GP. In the discussion, he mentioned that he was stationed aboard the Hammond, and was there at Midway. When GP mentioned the name of the sailor he knew, Moose got quiet and said, “He was my best friend”. In that moment, a significant connection was made, and he and GP would eat together whenever they met.

Just so that you know, GP was declared 4F by the draft board, and spent the War working in Civilian Defense. His helmet and gas mask are still in the garage. Perhaps they will be of some interest to you one day.

...or maybe they'll be of interest to me RIGHT NOW!!!
Seriously, how cool are these stories? I thought it only fair that I share them, since I've talked about my dad's father in this blog a couple of times (mostly the farm days of his childhood: making soap, animals he cared for, and suchlike. Darker stories too, like lynching in the South.) but almost never my mom's dad. Goong Goong didn't write his stories down like my other grandfather did, so unfortunately I don't know them.
Danny Darko: Nihilist Cowboysaru_kage on February 1st, 2012 07:04 am (UTC)
It's always cool to find stuff like that. A few years ago my dad got a hold of a bunch of info on my great grandpa, and how he left Bavaria, traveled across Europe, through Russia, sailed to Argentina, and then came to the US (through Angel Island, I think) and settled in butt-fuck nowhere, Kansas, where he helped found a German immigrant farming community. I'd known basically nothing about him before that, so it was awesome to find out he had this great adventure coming to America.

Is the Asian side of your family Chinese? For some reason I totally thought they were Japanese.
Suzik00kaburra on February 3rd, 2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
Man, your great-grandfather really had one helluva adventure! That's great that your dad was able to find that information. My dad's father spend years and years tracking down information about his ancestors, and he got quite a bit of info through the Church of LDS's databases.

Yup, my Mom's side is all Chinese! Lucky for them; if they'd been Japanese they all would have been shipped off to internment camps during WWII.
janicujanicu on February 1st, 2012 03:13 pm (UTC)
Wow, love the story about your GP meeting a stranger and having a connection because of someone they both knew.
Suzik00kaburra on February 3rd, 2012 10:26 pm (UTC)
I know, it's really cool! :D It makes me wonder what all the other stories are that I haven't found out yet.
madame sosostris: never forget! dinosaurshantih on February 1st, 2012 06:11 pm (UTC)
I just read the story about the animals. It's fascinating, especially about the personalities of the mules! Thanks so much for sharing these.
Suzi: makaiju - and you thought you'd get it gk00kaburra on February 3rd, 2012 10:27 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you read them! In the last couple years of his life, my grandfather would send out daily emails like those about whatever topic he happened to think about. They were so much fun to read.