I’d like to share a very brief story my mother told me about my Grandfather Frank. He was a WW2 Vet whose marriage was delayed by the events at Pearl Harbor 76 years ago today. Thanks to my Mom, and the Storyworth service, I know a little more about the man I called Grandpa, and the kind of person he was back when he was Frankie.
“In 1945, and he was honorably discharged from the Army (after 5 years of service). Remember he was a WWII veteran, which is pretty huge in and of itself. He was in the bus ride home from the Army base in North Carolina (a trip that took several days). On the bus with him was a young woman and her son. They were African-American, and had just left husband and father to start his Army enlistment. When the bus stopped at a restaurant (remember the year, so it was likely the only place within miles, and the only stop that would be made for hours) folks got off to eat. The bus driver told the woman and child that she should stay on the bus because she wouldn’t be served. Apparently loud enough for this to be heard be all. So Dad went in and bought food for himself and for them. It was obvious what he was doing, and as he stood at the counter to pay he was confronted by a couple of white idiots. Honestly just like you have seen in movies (and hopefully never in real time). They said…stupid white bigot stuff…and here is my dad, in uniform, not tall (5′ 10ish), but broad shoulders, and in great Army physical condition. He says something to the effect of, “…who’s gonna try and stop me…” and walks through them to the bus with the food, and ate there with the woman and her son. He never told us this story of course (I don’t think he ever put that many words together out loud), but Momma did. How proud I still am to share it with you today.”
So that was my Grandpa. I only knew him as a strong, silent, sweet old man who worked with his hands and rarely spoke of his past. He was brave, he was kind, and I’m proud to have known him.