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WWI story of loss and gift to his sister

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    Posted 2 years ago

    (733 items)

    This is my sad family story of the young 17-yr old who ran away, enlisted and then died in France of the influenza epidemic. My great-grandparents were so devastated of course, first because he ran away and then to bring him home must have been awful. (He is buried in a beautiful cemetary with his family near Elliot, Iowa. My sisters and I found the country cemetary in 2017) 8 years later his parents used his service insurance money and bought the diamond for his youngest sister's wedding ring - my grandmother Marian. It's always been a difficult conversation and reality in our family history. A terrible loss becomes a gift to another. And most recently my Mother is dealing with dementia - that diamond ring slipped off her hand at the nursing home. All okay, the home was honest, my brother has it. My mama wore it as long as she could.


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    1. shareurpassion shareurpassion, 2 years ago
      Awe. He was very handsome and what a story! I'm sorry to hear about your mama. Same thing happened to mine. I kept putting her ring back on her but finally just put it away for one of her granddaughters. She's still here with me though yet sometimes I think it would be better for her to be in a more controlled environment. This woman is very sneaky and quick too!!! Well, I'm here for you sweet Mary if you ever need to talk! I am right here xoxo!
    2. kyratango kyratango, 2 years ago
      Stories behind old pieces can be so heartbreaking... You wonderfully resumed that by saying "A terrible loss becomes a gift to another."
      I'm really sorry for your mother, you and your sibblings having to deal with her dementia, wishing you all courage and strength for this path.
      Big hugs, Mary, XO
    3. Newfld Newfld, 2 years ago
      Wonderful story about your soldier relative Mary, what a kind brother he was, as they say the good die young. That Spanish flu was one of the world's worst epidemics, it took 9 of my maternal grandmother's siblings leaving her, one brother & one sister. I wear a great-grandmothers wedding band given me by my dad's sister who never had a daughter, it is a simple gold band over 100 years old & makes me feel closer to my family, most of whom have now passed on
    4. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 2 years ago
      The story is sad but the story has poignancy in his earnest portrait which is so fine, sometimes would have liked to fix it a bit but not sure of my ability yet to do it !~
    5. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 2 years ago
      Very poignant and touching story! My dad has Alzheimer's related dementia now too and it's progressing very rapidly. it's a real struggle.
    6. valentino97 valentino97, 2 years ago
      Share, I know you are going thru this right now. I met your mom - yes, she has a very strong personality. You are a great daughter to take care of her as long as you can in her home. It is a reality for us, but each story is different and still kicks your a** doesn't it?

      Kyra - thank you, our family has moved her from the close nursing home to one that specializes in dementia and Alheimers issues. It happened pretty fast. Hardest for my brothers who lived in same time as Mom.

      Jenni - thank you, as far as I know only my great uncle died of the flu....How sad that it took 9 from your family!? We on CW appreciate the value of history and sharing it.

      Phil - thank you, this photo was perfect when my grandma Marian gave it to me in 1978. Over the years, it got a little smushed up, but I have it and that means a lot. I know you know how to edit it back to original, thank you dear friend!

      Pete - Family stories are so precious, thanks for sharing yours which inspired me to share this. Dementia to Alzheimer's - awful, takes a lot out of you and your family. And, in the back of your mind do you think "this could be me, who is going to care for me?" ...then immediately feel guilty for that.
    7. valentino97 valentino97, 2 years ago
      Thanks friends for your loves: nicefice, yougottahavestuff, Thomas, bobby725, vynil, Fort, kwqd, Kevin, glassiegirl, ttom, officialfuel, Ken, olecody, treasureTex :-)
    8. billretirecoll billretirecoll, 2 years ago
      My #1 Mary, I think a lot of young Men, as a feeling of Duty, Guilt, or just a way of finding a new path to their life, left home and joined the Armed Forces, that's what my Father did at 17yrs also, he knew that his Parents wouldn't sign his enlistment papers, but His Grandfather would, and that's what happened with Him in 1942, near the start of WWII, He joined the Navy, and for Him it was the Best of times and the Worst of times, but He made it home alive in 1946, when He met and Married my Mother. Which brings me to my sad feelings that I have for You, and Your Mother, because my Mother died of other things, with Dementia, but when She had to be moved to a Care Home, we had to take all of my Mother's Jewelry, from her, and she would always accuse the Caregivers of stealing them. What happened to my Mother though, is when she would finish eating Her meals, She'd take out Her false teeth, and wrap them up in Her napkin and leave them on Her plate, and one time a new Caregiver didn't know to check to see if my Mother had her teeth in, and they were thrown away, and new teeth had to be made!
      I'm so sorry to hear about Your Mother, enjoy the time that You can be there with Her. ;^( Love, Bill
    9. truthordare truthordare, 2 years ago
      We were also affected down the generations as both my grandfather and his son, my father were in the Canadian Armed Forces for the two Wold Wars.

      My grandfather was a major in the Princess Pat's regiment and was injured with one of those German mustard gas attacks, he spent a long time in a convalescent home, were he met his wife, a nurse, and never fully recovered form it all. Drinking was his coping system.

      My dad, his son of 17 years also tried to enlist in the Airforce in 1939. Without permission, but since his dad was well known, and e have a rare family name, they contacted the major and he gave his permission.

      Dad became a bomber navigator and officer, and at the very young age of 22, was shot down near Desden, survived that, and made his way to the South of France to find the French Resistance, they found him, were not sure if he was a spy, but finally they believed his story, and used their contacts to fly him out back to England.

      Dad also had after effects of his war traumas, and he could be harsh and unforgiving with his children.

      Then they did no recognise the PTSD that was common for veterans. Even the families at home suffered from worry, rationing, and the deaths of many people they knew.

      Love your image Mary. Means much to us who can share in the background story. Thanks for posting.
    10. valentino97 valentino97, 2 years ago
      Thanks friends for all the loves for this family story.
    11. Elisabethan Elisabethan, 2 years ago
      Sad story Mary. I am a bit taken by this being your post. I went looking at all new posts - not just yours. Saw this photo without knowung it was yours. Had this thought pop up in my head - that young man looks a bit like Mary around the eye are (you know my work makes me thinking of details). I open the post and it is yours! What a handsome young man. Sad that he lost touch with the family that way.
    12. valentino97 valentino97, 2 years ago
      Bill - thank you for your comments. True that WWI and II young men felt the need to enlist to be a part of wars to protect America. Different time, I don't understand it but I wasn't there. As for Mom's dementia, thank you for sharing what you went through with your mother. Old age happens to all of us. (Or not!) Hopefully we can gracefully go through to the end....but, seems that's a rare situation. Some go fighting to the end like my mom. She had many disappointments and now it is manifesting in anger at the nursing home. Me and my siblings understand, lived thru mom's sadness. This might sound weird, but it's easier now for us as she has dementia. Before, for so many years we tried to talk w/her and suggest new choices, or we asked her to talk about blah blah blah. Love and respect, but definitely not easy and not over.
    13. valentino97 valentino97, 2 years ago
      Lisa - thanks for your comments, sorry I didn't respond right away. The holidays got the best of me because I worked during the holidays when most people have it off. That's okay.

      Thank you for sharing your family stories from WW1 and 2. They are precious and sad and important to share to remind us what our relatives have gone through.
    14. truthordare truthordare, 2 years ago
      It's fine, Mary. It was just an added family experience, and not quite your topic. These posts make us reflect on these situations, as we are old enough to remember what our parents told us, my husband's father too was injured in WWII and lost his hearing due to a bomb. I think they were all scarred by these events.
      Happy New Year to YOU!
    15. valentino97 valentino97, 2 years ago
      Thank you Elisabeth for you sweet comments! My grandmother Marian loved her older brother, she never laughed about her engagement diamond, she told me the story to remember and repeat.

      Thank you friends for your loves of this family story.

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