Monday, January 2, 2012

Max: A WWII Project

In addition to the numerous projects I have demanded to myself that I finish this year, and am using the winter to stay cooped up and begin such projects, I have yet another project I have begun. It has to do with well, I guess it could do with writing, I can track my progress here on my blog, but it involves WWII memorabilia and research.

This project will in fact require much research, something I'm good at, and might take a while thought to complete, with all my other pending projects. However, if you have an interest in WWII history and such, you might want to keep up with my posts as I go, because I hope that what I find will be well worth our journey. Also, any contributions you can make, cool readers, to my research, would be most appreciated.

So, let me give you a bit of a story and onto the project.

My father had this friend, named Max. Max was older than my father, by about 20 years I'd say. Max was like my second grandfather. He was a very intriguing man. He was a locksmith for a number of years up in Cleveland, loved to gamble, and had a passion for taking care of needy children and families. He taught me how to play dirty pool and even when I was younger, he'd tell me stories about his childhood and life and I'd listen like you wouldn't believe. My father loved him like he was his own dad.

During WWII, Max served in the Army Air Corps and from what my father could tell me, he served for many years actually, retiring. That's when he ended up in Cleveland and became a locksmith until he made his way down to the Dayton area. My father doesn't know much about Max's military life, he only recalls conversations from the past in snippets.

Max died in Dec of 2000, just months after my mother's passing. He death devastated an already crushed man, my father, and it was indeed a sad day for me. Max was part of our family and he loved my mother almost more than I did. We were all very close. His wife disappeared soon after his death, their children, both adopted, surfaced after many years and took her away I think. I don't know his children, didn't even know he had adult kids until his passing. Unfortunately, I'm beginning this project blind, and probably won't ever come close to finding out any of the info that I think will complete the project, but there are still avenues I can take to try to make it as complete as possible.

In the fall, my father handed me this box that he had stored in his garage. It was a box that Max had given him a number of years ago. In this box are things from Max's WWII days. What I know so far is that Max flew in the Army Air Corps, and for a period of unknown time (at this time) he flew with Jimmy Stewart, yeah, the actor from "It's a Wonderful Life." I also know that Max spent time in Japan and Germany. This box my father had contains Japanese artifacts, see photos, along with many of his ribbons and pins, and pins and "things" for lack of a better word that Max either collected from German soldiers or German people. There are also two Kodak cameras and a roll of film. If it was used, I don't know, the film I mean.

I think I can do research on the cameras easy enough. I'm not sure what to do with them per se, but I have some ideas. I think I can try to find out what his ribbons and pins all stand for, having worked at the Air Force Museum when I was a kid helps, but deciphering the German stuff and tracing the Japanses things are going to be tough. My father basically asked me to take the box and research it all. He's curious to learn or know if anything is worth anything or if we can even place where exactly any of this stuff came from, and or what any of it means. My father kept, and I don't have a photo of them yet, but he kept these little glass coffee cups that pilots apparently kept on them. You made the coffee in the upper half and drank it from the bottom half. Need a photo of those.

Well more to come on this. I'm reading about Jimmy Stewart right now. 

So here's just a few photos I took of some of the stuff. More photos will come.  I might have to make this a separarte blog!


  1. Very interesting article. My husband was in WW2 and I found a few things that he had saved. I was told to send them to Washington DC Museum of WW2.

    I might just do that since my grandkids do not seem much interested in having them.

    I just got a camera. I will take pictures of them as well. Nice to meet you sondraC

  2. Hello, Sondra! Nice to meet you as well and thanks for reading! I'm so sorry your grandkids don't seem interested in having their grandfather's things from WWII. I got interested in WWII in general when I was researching my father's father's time spent in WWII and our Cherokee heritage. He was my grandfather by blood, but I never knew him.

    I'd love to see photos of the stuff you have! Hopefully, you'll keep reading as I plug along on this research journey. My blog is more focused on writing and such, so not sure you have an interest in that, plus I write about my recent divorce and all that jazz, which is sooo therapeutic, but I'm finding instead of creating a dozen different blogs which I just couldn't maintain and keep up with regularly, to put everything all in one is easier. Plus, it all relates to my writing in some regard or another, but if I get into info on this project as I go, I can always make another blog.

    You might like this post I did a while back; it's WWII oriented:


I'd love to hear from you!