Saturday, November 01, 2008

Adventures in blogging

I was saddened and astonished to receive an e-mail message earlier this week from a man in Miami Beach, Fla., identifying himself as the grandson of Owen Crenshaw.

In December 2006, I published a story in this blog entitled "Tales of the 903rd Signal Co." (That was the Army outfit in which I served in India during World War II.) The posting contained a photo of six soldiers, one of whom was Owen Crenshaw. I am standing next to him in the picture.

"My grandfather passed away two days ago at age 92 in a San Antonio, Texas hospital," the grandson wrote. "Until he suffered a severe stroke three weeks ago, he continued to live 100% independently, including driving himself to breakfast every morning from the house he built for his retirement in 1975."

Out of curiosity, I assume, the grandson Googled his grandfather's name and came up with a reference to my blog piece about the 903rd Signal Co. Unfortunately, when he downloaded the story, all he came up with were the first several paragraphs in which his grandfather's name is mentioned. The group photo also failed to appear. The blog archives had evidently deleted or damaged the material.

The grandson asked whether I could send him a copy of the picture and the full text of the blog piece. "I would love to know if there is anything you remember about [my grandfather]," he added.

I am not very skilled in blogging technology, but after considerable effort, I was able to extract both the full text of the nearly two-year old blog piece and the photo from the bowels of my computer. I successfully e-mailed them to the grandson. He was delighted to receive them. He told me that the photo would be displayed at an upcoming memorial to his grandfather.

I am now in my Florida winter home, not far from the grandson's residence. We are planning to meet so that I can tell him everything that I can recall about Owen Crenshaw. I had not seen or spoken to Owen in 63 years. But I remember him well because of the intimate bond we had formed during our two years of World War II Army service together in India. He eventually became the outfit's first sergeant. I was the company clerk, so we had an especially close working relationship.

The grandson e-mailed a photo to me of his grandfather which was taken shortly before his death. I could not recognize him.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Sylvia K said...

A beautiful but sad post and I know hearing the news from his grandson was hurtful and brought back many memories. I hope you have a chance to get together with him soon.

Saturday, November 01, 2008 3:43:00 PM  
Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

"I could not recognize him." Reminds me of the photos of old classmates that are beginning to appear now that our 50th reunion is approaching. The memories, though long past, are what I do remember - with great fondness. I don't suppose my friends would recognize me either. For more reasons than my appearance! That they remember at all is quite enough.

Saturday, November 01, 2008 4:05:00 PM  
Blogger Colleen said...

How wonderful that you'll be able to meet and talk with his grandson.

Saturday, November 01, 2008 5:44:00 PM  
Blogger Norma said...

What a wonderful gift of memory you've given your friend's family.

Saturday, November 01, 2008 5:58:00 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

This is another proof that it's a small world after all. How inspiring that your blog was the means to Owen's grandson finding you.

Dogwalkmusings, just wait until you attend your high school's 65th reunion as I did. You may not recognize people at first, but when you start talking you see the young face hiding behind all those wrinkles.

Sunday, November 02, 2008 2:46:00 PM  
Blogger Lydia said...

What a marvelous story. My husband read it with me and we both had goosebumps. Your friend's grandson must have loved his granddad very much to begin and follow through with a search the way he has. And what are the odds that he'd be nearby your winter home so that you can flesh out more stories for him!

In the early 1980s I went home to Reno for a quick trip and checked in on a friend of my mother's who had begun a new career as a "Marrying Sam" for the county (not one of the wedding chapels). While I was there a couple came in to be re-married after some years apart. I stood as their witness during the short service and took a photo of them that became a part of my enormous stash of old photos in a picture trunk.

About ten years later the woman contacted the man who performed their re-marriage service to ask if he by any slight chance would know how to contact me, as I had taken the only photo of their wedding that day. Her husband had died and she sought the photo during her time of mourning. Because he was a friend of my mother's he did indeed know how to reach me through her! I luckily found the photo in my trunk and mailed it to the address she had given him.

These kinds of things don't happen just by chance....

Monday, November 03, 2008 4:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Claude said...

A great story! One that wouldn't have happened without blogging and/or the Internet!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008 4:31:00 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

I love your new format.

Friday, November 07, 2008 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous gel said...

This speaks to the long arm of technology besides your human heart to go beyond in reconnecting the grandson to pieces of his grandpa. I'm moved to tears.

(I've been out of blogland a while or I would have been by.)

A very belated L'shana Tova,
gel

Sunday, November 09, 2008 3:07:00 AM  

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