My grandpa Malcolm was my amazing and loved sidekick who moved in with us after my grandma died. I got five wonderful years with him before he passed away a few months before my 10th birthday. It rocked me in the worst of ways. Our whole neighborhood felt the loss as he was everyones local Grandpa.
It was later that my sister and I discovered that he left us with a treasure trove of historic World War II photographs that enchanted us as we began researching our genealogy.
We actually started researching our genealogy to discover the identity of Malcolm’s father. You can read about our genealogy beginnings here.
As we dug into his past we discovered a picture album.
This was not a traditional album full of family images and birthday cards. This scrapbook was full of personal and poignant snapshots taken by Malcolm during his service as a front line medic in World War II. The images were mostly time, date stamped and notated on the back before they were mailed home to his wife, our grandma Jeannette, who placed them into the album. We were completely smitten with this scrapbook and his journalistic style of memorializing and documenting his experiences in the war.
We knew we were looking at an unseen and first hand account of World War II war torn towns, battles, and life as a soldier. This soldier wasn’t just any infantryman. he was our grandfather, and we were so amazed we could have burst.
The images opened a window into a part of his life that we were too young to ask about when he was alive. The emotions they conjured were so palpable that we couldn’t help but feel connected to him in a whole new way.
As we viewed the scrapbook for the first time 12 years ago I made a passing statement that we should write a book around his World War II images. At the time we were on a mission to discover something else and tucked this idea away. Last year this sentiment weighed on my heart a little heavier and filled many hours of thought.
After much discussion and planning, my sister and I have decided to do these images, and our grandfather, justice and write a book from the memories he exposed so many years ago.
I have limited knowledge as to how to go about this endeavor, having only written a children’s book before. You can find that here. Unlike a children’s book, though, we desire this book to be sourced, authentic and given space to allow the photographs to have the voice our grandfather gave them so long ago. We hope the book captivates and moves the reader as it has us, his honored granddaughters.
The journey starts now.
Forever and always thankful,