Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stories from WWII

Will, Lliam and I visited Great Grandma Bobbie over the weekend. We heard lots of good stories.

When Grandma Bobbie's mother found items that were left out, she would put them in the basement. Her children would then have to go into the dark and scary basement to retrieve their items. Grandma Bobbie continued this tradition, only she had a box in the garage. I might just have to bring this to a forth generation. When Grandma was 10, she had to light the water heater with safety matches in preparation for any activity involving hot water. Lliam then decided to blurt out that his dad lights matches in the bathroom to get rid of bad smells.

Grandma talked about being on ration stamps. Nobody could buy gas, meat, tires, milk, etc. without a ration stamp during WWII. If you were the butcher and sold meat to someone without a stamp, you would be arrested. Everyone was behind the war effort, and lots of sacrifices were made.

Then grandma told the story of grandpa Dom's plane crash which resulted in him being hospitalized for 6 months. He was at an air force base doing a training exercise (landing and taking off, repeatedly) and the air traffic controller allowed another squadron to come in for a landing. One of the other squadron crashed right into Dom's tail, causing his plane to nose straight down into the runway from 300 feet. His crew mate got burned badly under his flight suit.

Grandpa Dom was luckily in the care of an opthamologist who was well known. He put hundreds of stitches into Grandpa's eye, saving it and is vision. Grandpa's friends offered their condolences over his eye and Grandpa thought that he had lost it until the bandages came off and he was able to look into a mirror. After the accident, he was very skinny. 144 pounds and 5'10" tall.

Grandpa had a couple of other near misses. Once in Texas, he got lost and couldn't find his home air base. He landed at another air base and somebody from his home one flew over and guided him back. He got to wear the derby that day (i.e., the dunce cap).

Another time, the maintenance crew was negligent and forgot to clean/replace something on the engine. His engine caught fire and he had to do an emergency landing. Someone else wore the derby that day.

When joining the Air Force, Grandpa's worst score was in radio communications, so of course they put him straight into radio school. They didn't have a catholic priest there, so grandpa held mass. He was in Grandma's dad's radio class, and eventually they met and got married.


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