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Really Home

June 28, 2012

Besides education, other issues awaited Al upon his return from the war. Life had gone on for his sisters here at home.  They had gotten jobs, and experienced life without big brothers looking over their shoulders. His sister, Isabel, worked in the small wares department of the Budget Shop, and was making $14 week.  His two sisters, Isabel and Jeannette had a trying relationship with some other family members.  Then, there was a family house that was sold.  The sisters believed that the proceeds from the sale  would be split equally among all family members after Al and his brother, Bill, returned home. Actually, the girls felt that Al and one other brother had put more of their own money into the house (and furniture), and felt that perhaps they should have gotten a larger share.  Much to their surprise (and anger), they discovered that some of the family already had their shares and that some family members were not to be included.

There were other issues that had impacted the family during the war.  The girls got by on their meager salaries plus whatever allotments were sent home by their brothers (remember that their father died  shortly after Al joined the Army,  Apparently, at some point the allotments from the brothers stopped and it took almost six months to get it straightened out.    And one brother stopped sending money when he got engaged and quit supporting the sisters.

Another returning veteran talked about another aspect of returning home from the war.  “It came to me as a great surprise that there were few civilians who asked, “What did you do during the war?”.  “Most family, friends,  relatives and acquaintances never asked”.  And as I mentioned previously, Al told me the same thing.  If my children hadn’t asked questions of his time during the War, we would have never known about his time.  Maybe his long membership in the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) and the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) gave him the outlet he needed, or maybe at that time, Americans , men especially, were not so into analyzing such things.

In the prior post,  we followed Al home and watched as he used the G.I. Bill to go to college.  At National Business College, he pursued a Commercial Science degree.  He took courses  in accounting, auditing, income taxation, shorthand, typing (keyboard skills if you are under the age of 30 and reading this).  The degree met the educational requirements to sit for the  Certified Public Accounting exam in Virginia.

After graduation, Al spent 39 years as co-owner and secretary of  GE McDaniel Roofing and Sheet Metal in Roanoke, Virginia.   Besides roofing, they manufactured and installed sheet metal is needed in buildings for duct work and other needs.

In his spare time, he continued to play baseball and coach youth teams.  He did not take advantage of the G.I. bill to purchase a home, perhaps because for awhile, he continued to live with and take care of “Auntie”.  When he did move out, it was to an apartment. While he had a social life, he chose not to marry until 1976.  He told me that he was pretty happy and settled as a bachelor, but his friends started telling him that he should marry so there’d be someone to take care of him as he aged.  Then one day, his cousin and her friend stopped by to visit him.  His cousin introduced her friend, my mother, and they began to see each other.  They dated about a year before they married.

This concludes my story of Al’s War:  One Man’s Journey Through World War II.  I don’t know if there’s a right way to conclude a blog, but I will just say, “A big THANK YOU!” to my fellow Bloggers who followed along, who supported the effort and asked questions along the way. I said in the beginning that I was hoping this would lead to a museum that would value these original documents but nothing has seemed right yet.  I think I may transform the blog into a photo book and make copies for my children.  Al passed away on April 11, 2007.  

If you’d like, you can find me at my other blog, Facets of Lucy a much more varied collection of posts.

  1. I just started to read Al’s story and look forward to finishing it. Thank you for taking the time to share Al with us – the untold stories are the best stories! Blessings – Patty

  2. Thank you for letting me know you’re reading it. I hope you enjoy it. He was a wonderful guy, a humble man and deserving of a little “acclaim”. I think you mentioned once that your dad had been in the service. Do let me know if you see any similarities.

  3. Thank you for sharing it with me! I know that somehow Al and my father’s stories touch.

    God Bless and thanks again!

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