Tuesday, November 22, 2011

World War II Victory Medal

World War II ended a chapter in American history that was to change us for all time. We came together as a people to defend our freedom.

The medal shown is called "Victory Medal, World War II". It was authorized on July 6, 1945 for members of the United States armed forces who served on active duty at any time between December 7, 1941, and December 31, 1946.

The front shows a figure of Liberation, her right foot is resting on a war god's helmet. She has broken the sword of war, holding the hilt and broken blade in her hands. Rays of light glow from behind.

On the back of the medal is inscribed the phrase "Freedom from Fear and Want" and "Freedom of Speech and Religion", separated by a palm branch. It is then circled by the words "United States of America 1941- 1945".

The final figure shows the back page of a "War Ration Wallet". During this war, victory was also won at home.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

With Love, Henry

The world had changed in 1945-1946. Most of this world had been involved in a war that was to impact many, many lives for generations to come. Indeed it did.

It was the picture to the right that caught my attention. It was taken in 1946 below one of the most famous mountains in the world. To the French it was "Mont Cervin". To the Italian it was "Monte Cervino". To the Swiss, it was just called "Matterhorn". Straddling the frontier between Switzerland and Italy, all 14,691 feet stands proudly. No war was going to change me it seems to be saying. My Dad stands here. The picture has in his hand writing, "With Love, Henry".

What? Love in the mist of all this mess? How was one to deal with all the hatred, death, killings, destruction, war...war...war! Some thought it would never end. But, here is my Dad, sending a picture to his family, with love. The folks below would have received it.

This picture shows Dad's younger sister, Ray. She is recording a picture with her Mom, my Mam maw... that shared moment in time caught by the camera of life. Ray was still in high school, and Mam maw was working outside the home. There were three younger siblings some ten years younger, but I guess this picture was one of those mother-daughter adventures, known only to moms and the oldest daughters.

The world goes on...1945-1946...With Love, Henry.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Life and times at Granny Ewen's was always an adventure. Lots of cousins to play, lots of uncles and aunts to ask questions, and lots of places to explore were all part of the activities. Finding an unclaimed bottle of "ALE-8-One" was always an unexpected treat.

Ale-8-One (a soft drink) had been part of my families' drinking choice well before I was born. In fact, it had been around since 1926, when a man named G.L. Wainscott first made his brew. Mom and I would walk past his bottle making place on our way to Kroger's. It was located on West Broadway behind the old post office. The large doors would be wide open, and you could watch the racks of green bottles run their course from one side of the building to the other. It made all sorts of clanking, and bumping, noises that provided an interesting side line to our trip for groceries.

Now "finders, keepers" was an acceptable saying around Granny Ewen's house. That is unless you got caught. The picture to the right shows Granny and me with that look. Hand on the hip, grim reaper type expression, and my "oops" got me look on my face. [It must have been early in this adventure since my shirt tail was still tucked in!] I have the Ale-8-one bottle in my hands, and I suspect that I had downed most of the unique mixture ginger and carbonation. Birthing and raising 12 youngins', keeping watch over more than 30 grand kids, and especially watching out for me would, gave her extra knowledge and know how to keep my findings to a minimum. Anyway, who would want to take such a picture of Granny and me...well...busted.

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Blog on Cadwallader Jones

Cadwallader Jones [ca. 1650 - 1703] has been a legend throughout the genealogy world. Interestingly for me, he ends up being my 10th generation grandfather! With this in mind, and having researched him for many years, I wanted to tell his story. His story is part of my own family's story. If interested, join me for the tell of my heart's blood. The link is:


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pickin' and Grinnin'

Family reunions were a big deal in my growing up years. The Ewen side was perhaps the largest get together, but the Morton side was not far behind. Granny Ewen's side were the Mortons, and there were plenty of them. We would meet on one of the farms up in the hills, and enjoy some of the best cookin' around these parts. [ I kept my priorities straight, and would head to the homemade chocolate pies at first chance!]

After eating [two to three pieces of chocolate pie], we would gather around the folks who played the banjo, fiddle, and guitar. I don't know if it was called Bluegrass music at that time, but it was interesting to watch the family clap, slap one another on the back, and a few did that type of dance I believe was called clogging. Lots of smiles, lots of laughs, and the troubles of the world would seem so far away. [The "Arms Race" was just beginning and we were practicing that "duck and cover" in school. Anyway, if an "A-bomb" hit, I figured that dancing would be just as good an activity to end this life!]

Pickin' and Grinnin', yes sir, they called it...the adults did the pickin', and we did the grinnin'.