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.