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My WWII Keepsake

Posted on: April 9, 2012

I was born in the middle of World War II. One of my earliest memories was my mother teaching me to add “and God Bless Uncle Bill” to my regular bedtime prayer. I didn’t know my dad’s younger brother but understood he was in a dangerous place and needed our prayers. I remember the excitement when he came home, the hugging and crying, the opening of a duffle bag filled with gifts for all of us. It was 1945 and I was three.

Even though he was fighting on the front lines in Germany, Uncle Bill remembered me when my third birthday drew near. He picked up a piece of a broken windshield from a German plane, carved it into a perfect heart, drilled a hole for a chain, and scratched my name on one side, his name and the date on the back. He found some red ink to fill in the letters, and mailed it home. Mom put it on a chain and it became my most prized possession. I wore it to school on special occasions and always on my birthday, March 24. When I made my recent birthday trip to Disney World I wore it proudly and remembered my uncle, Lance Black, who we called Uncle Bill. ( I think my brother Johnny had trouble with L’s and had earlier called him Uncle Yantz, so the adults decided we’d just call him by his boyhood nickname.)

And we called him “Uncle Bill” until he died of a heart attack at 70. He had a quick smile and loved to laugh. A good husband, father, and grandfather, he was also a very gifted man who could build anything. A whiz at electronics and motors, there was nothing he couldn’t  take apart and fix and invented tools to aid him in his work. He was a sweet man and we miss him.

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5 Responses to "My WWII Keepsake"

Hi Marlis, Gay & I enjoyed your story about Uncle Bill. I read it to Gay on our way back from Augusta, GA where we attended the Masters Golf tournament. By the way, Bubba Watson won in a very dramatic fashion.

Really enjoyed the story about your necklace & Uncle Lance!! What a wonderful memory for you & Sue, Jeff, & Lance Jr. ! Thanks for sharing

Marlis, loved the story!!! Lance Black was one of the neatest guys I have ever known!! One of the kindest too!! You are right about his ability to fix anything. He helped me around my house by building so many things from cabinets to a rabbit hutch for the boys. He and I shared the same birthday and I think of him often! Thanks so much for sharing your story!!

I read your story to Jeff. It was the first he’d heard of it and we enjoyed it.
He said he guesses that is where he gets his ability to work on things and fix things. Jeff amazes me all the time with the things he does. He’s always heading up to the shop to tinker around fixing something.

What a sweet story. I told it to a group of ex-teacher friends the other day when we ate together after a funeral.

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