Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Carrot Tops

Red hair is considered fairly rare among the human race. Overall, that Celtic gene seems responsible for most of those lucky enough to be born with this hair color. Scotland seems to have the highest rate, being around 13% of the population. Ireland follows. Thus, most of those displaying this crown, are generally judged to be from Ireland or Scotland.

Genetically, red hair is considered an autosomal recessive trait. The gene is carried on chromosome 16, and is tagged MC1R. A mutation of this gene is felt to have occurred, which caused it not to be able to breakdown certain chemicals. [Conversion of pheomelanin into eumelanin, for those who want to know.] When the genes (alleles) from mom and dad come together, they each provide one side of this gene. The outcome of this combination produces hair color. If one parent carries this mutated gene, it will be expressed when it is joined by another who transmits this mutation.

The picture above shows a bunch of red heads. They are all brothers and sisters who seem to have parents who had nothing but red head genes! [Mam maw is in the middle.] My Dad (b. 1926) is of course was grey headed at the time the picture was taken, but he often told me he would not wear red because of the "carrot top" jokes he received growing up in Winchester, KY. Aunt Thelma Rae (b. 1928) , uncle Eugene Turner (Gene, b. 1936), uncle Gayle Lynwood (b.1938), and aunt Linda Carol (b. 1941), all show expression of this phenomena. Not sure how rare it is that a family has all red headed children! Welsh and Scottish genes, you can imagine the childhood stories.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Caught on Film

My last picture showed my brother and me with Grandad Ewen. This picture shows my first cousin, David; my brother Henry, and me. It was taken about the same time period, late 1950s, and represents most of the pictures taken during this time. [Although more 1st cousins are usually around.]

We are standing just inside the front door. Granny is holding David's hands, and I seem to be glad that I have the "prize" held high in my left hand. [Being left handed of course.] Not sure exactly what this is, but I seem happy that I have it. David seems a bit upset, and Henry seems his usual calm self, with some kind of object held in his mouth. My dress again is outstanding. Shirt disheveled, only one suspender showing, cuffs opened, and most of my shirt tail about to join the outside world. What joy on my face.

Granny Ewen seems to have become the sheriff, waiting patiently [or not so patiently] for this adventure to pass. What adventures there are in childhood. Grannies being the sheriffs, and the grandchildren being the "Cowboy and Indians". Lock 'em up says the sheriff. This one caught on film.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

With Grandad Ewen

Not many pictures were taken with Grandad Ewen. The men in the family seemed to dissolve into the shadows when that picture taking time arrived. Most of the pictures were with Granny Ewen, aunts, and those of the XX-chromosome type.

Not this one. It shows my brother and me standing behind Grandad Ewen. It was taken on one of those Christmas days when the Ewen side all got together. I am a little surprised that my brother and I got a picture taken by our self, since there were usually a boat load of first cousins around. [Nine Ewen aunts and uncles all having their share of the next generations.]

It looks like the presents have been opened, and a few piles of discarded wrapping paper lies about. My brother is neatly dressed, and I my usual state of attire. T-shirt hanging out, jacket sleeves unbuttoned, and that sheepish grin that tells I must have been up my usual activities.

I remember that Grandad Ewen always gave me a silver dollar. This was at a time when the silver dollar was worth a dollar! Most were the "Peace (1921-1935)" design, and belonged to the era that saw the great depression. [What a silver dollar must have been worth then.] My favorite however, was the 1890 Morgan (1887-1921) with two small "cc" on the back. It had an image of a woman on the front, and that of an eagle with its wings spread out on the back. Not like the Peace silver dollar where the eagle on the back had its wings closed tightly. I liked my eagles flying.

I do not remember having this picture taken with Grandad Ewen, but I still remember and keep in my possession the silver dollars.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Nose Art

Combat planes were often given an identity through nose art.

The art took a variety of expressions, but a common form was the female form. All that testosterone and such kept many a nose artist active.

The following pictures show such expression.

At the close of WW II, my Dad had a chance to record such art. He was part of the army of occupation of Germany, 9th Air force. He tells me that his major activity was to destroy the planes that were left after the War ended. He would help remove all materials felt valuable, the parts and stuff, and place charges to dynamite the remaining metal. Hundreds and hundreds of planes were destroyed for scrap metal.

It appears that he had some time to take a few photos of these planes. The first shows Dad in winter garb, standing before a "blond bombshell". He certainly looks happy.

The next shows a group of guys (Dad the tallest) removing ammunition and such, with another picture of the female form clearly on display. No names can be identified, and I am uncertain the type of plane. Perhaps it was a bomber, with apparent bomb bay doors opened along the belly.

The last pictures show Dad in front of another type of nose art. This art was the one that counted.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Army of Occupation

On Thanksgiving Day 1945, a young man just out of high school left for Germany on the troopship West Point. This ship was actually the "Luxury Liner America", but who was to tell these fellas what they were about to see and experience. The War in Europe had just ended, and there must have been a lot of guys who felt left out of all the action, and a lot of guys who felt relieved that the war was finally over.

Two of these guys are shown in the picture. One is my dad, Private First Class (PFC), Henry E. Jones, USAF - 15364821. He is the one standing with his hand on the shoulder on the unnamed fellow sitting. He tells me that he spent most of his time there driving prisoners of war to various tasks, which involved mostly blowing up planes that remained after the war. Germany had been destroyed, and much rebuilding was taking place.

The "Army of Occupation Medal" is shown in the next picture.

This medal was designed by the Army Heraldic Section, and shows the Remagen bridge abutments, symbolic of Europe. This medal was given for service in Germany or Austria starting after May 9, 1945. The ribbon is made of equally broad stripes of black and scarlet with narrower white edges. Black and white stand for Germany, and scarlet and white for Japan. [This medal was also given for the occupation of Japan starting after September 3, 1945.]

Dad has a lot of pictures, taken during this time. Hopefully, I will be able to share many more.