I looked up my grandfather on my mother's side and found (definitely) his World War II draft registration and (possibly) his World War I draft registration. For the first time in my memory, I saw his signature on the World War II document.
More intriguing, I found his town of birth - something I never knew - but it doesn't seem to exist -"Altsandas, Austria" - another mystery for a later date. (I am not sure what country it is in today, but it was Austria-Hungary when he came to this country around 1903). Last year, a blogger did some research, and it appears this town, and its residents, may have been wiped out by the Nazis during World War II. At any rate, I can't seem to find it anywhere online.
I wondered why my mother's father had to register for the draft. He was born in 1878, too old to serve in the U.S. Army in 1942, but I found out there was an event called the Fourth Registration, where all males from ages 45 to 64 were registered. That's how desperate things were in 1942.
I then looked up my father's World War Two enlistment record and found what follows. After the war he worked for several years on Governor's Island, part of New York City, where his enlistment took place. What I know of his enlistment is that he was already considered disabled (a childhood illness destroyed his hearing in one ear) and had tried to enlist without success. But, by 1942, we needed anyone who could serve.
|State of Residence:||New York|
|County or City:||Kings[Brooklyn]|
|Enlistment Date:||6 Aug 1942|
|Enlistment State:||New York|
|Enlistment City:||Fort Jay Governors Island|
|Term of Enlistment:||Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law|
|Component:||Selectees (Enlisted Men)|
|Education:||2 years of high school|
|Civil Occupation:||Semiskilled occupations in manufacture of miscellaneous electrical equipment, n.e.c.|
|Marital Status:||Single, with dependents|
More memories. Why would my father have been single, with dependents? I did know the answer to that question. Because he helped to raise his youngest brother after his mother died. Just as he raised me after his wife, my mother, died when I was 12.
I have so many memories of my father - the walks we took, the movie he took me to the day I graduated Elementary School (West Side Story), and then how life changed for him as he grew older, and ended up in assisted living in Brooklyn.
Right now, of all my aunts and uncles, only one survives - the man who my father helped to raise. I visited him in 2002, and my uncle told me he owed a great debt to my father, who had sacrificed so much for him. It was a debt he felt he could never repay.
And, as for me, I didn't know how much I owed to my father when I was a teen fighting to breakaway from him. But I do know now.
He would have been 103 later this month. Happy birthday in heaven, Dad.
Day 11 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.