My grandmother (Bubby) worried all through World War Two, while several of her children and their spouses served in the armed forces. I think it’s fitting this year – the 70th anniversary of that terrible war’s end – to pay tribute to them, my brave aunt and uncles.
Edie’s mother (my Bubby) was, let’s say, less than pleased after she enlisted in 1942. Edie was always the headstrong one; she joined up as soon as she was old enough, just – the way I heard it – coming home one day and announcing, “Hey Ma, guess what…”
(She also managed to meet, fall in love with, and marry an American soldier who was not Jewish… another difficult pill for my traditional grandmother to swallow. But as things turned out, it wasn’t long before she fell in love with him too – Leonard “Mac” McKinley. Eventually Mac and Edie had three kids.)
By enlisting, maybe Edie was inspired by her (slightly) older brother, my Uncle Mel. Here he is, cutting a dashing figure next to his car in 1942.
Actually, I’m just assuming that’s his car – he’s practically leaning on it! Mel was a bombardier; many years later, he never wanted to talk about it when I – his curious niece – asked him about his experiences.
Here is another of my mother’s sisters, Gertie, alongside her husband Jack in his navy uniform in 1943.
Jack was an American. After the war they raised their brood of four on Long Island and later in Florida.
Finally, in 1945, all of my forbears made it back from the war. Here are some happy photos of their homecoming.
Eventually, together with Mel’s five kids, my three uncles and aunts with their respective spouses brought a total of 12 children into the world. I am so very grateful they all came back in good health, and gave me 12 cousins to boot!