As promised, here’s a little bit more about my Grampa (my father’s father).

Grampa was in the Navy during World War II and stationed in Hawaii.  Navy brass wanted to know who could type and Grampa and his friend (Red) volunteered.  They wanted to stay out of trouble and to stay out of too much work.  They volunteered not knowing anything.  They didn’t know what they were getting into.  Grampa and Red were now a part of Naval Intelligence.  While there, he and Red learned the computers and was part of the team that cracked the Japanese code.

On the lighter side, they were guards on a supply train that carried fresh pineapple.  So they decided to climb on top and started eating fresh pineapple.  They ate, and ate, and ate, and ate!!  He has never eaten another pineapple since then.

After the Navy, Gramma and Grampa settled down in Chicago Heights.  They built a house and started their family.  In the end, 13 children were born.  The last two are fraternal twins.

The next part is what my Gramma wrote:  When we first got out of service, Grampa worked for his Father .  He did grunt work on the building of the big pipe organs.  They lived in an apartment above the “shop”. Then he decided he would use the skills he gained in the service.  In those days, computers were big noisy machines which took up an entire room and was as noisy as  “hell”. They were programmed by the way they were wired.  Grampa was very good at this wiring bit.  He worked for many different companies.  They were mostly start up systems just introducing computers to the company.  One job was with the U of Chicago,  there was the perfume company that made Tabu.  Boy did I smell nice then.  He worked for a wholesale liquor company in Indiana.  He also worked for service bureaus that serviced other companies. I was also told that he had worked for GE, IBM, Stauffers to name a few as well as doing odd jobs here and there.

It is hard to go back that many years and remember where he worked. One thing for sure, He did work hard and gave good service to whomever he worked for.  He took very little of what he brought home for himself.   All he really needed was that six pack of beer.   What a great guy he was.

Grampa passed away October 2006.  Lung cancer spread to his spine.  Now all I have are memories and memento’s.  I had been given one of his Rosary’s (he said it daily), a little pocket knife (which I intend on giving to my son when he’s old enough) and a necklace with a cross and another religious medallion (which I intend on giving to my daughter when she’s old enough).   Also given to me were a collection of stories that he had written and typed up.  I plan on reading these to my kids.

Edited 12/29/07: After Hawaii, my Grandparents lived in DC, then moved back to Chicago Heights. After paydays, he would bring home a bag of candy for the kids. His favorite was “bulls-eye”.

I also just found out last night that Jackie and Johnnie were Grampa’s cousins and that was about the extent of the stories! There was really no beginning and no end. He just told the stories to the kids to get them to sleep!

Edited 12/30/07:  Grampa had a tattoo of a ship on his forearm.  I remember that he would tell us kids that he got it by pressing his arm up to a wall with the picture on it.  His favorite expressions were “Holy smokes” and he called everyone a “Rinky-dink”.

The day that Grampa died, Little Man was playing.  Out of NO WHERE he says “Holy Smokes”.  My husband and I had never really said it.  I was on the verge of tears after hearing it.

edited 1/30/08:  Speaking of my son…  Once they had come up to my Dad’s for a visit while I was pregnant with my son.  We had already picked out a name and I told him what it was.  He had said to me, “Do you know who else has those initials, CJ?”  We pretty much said together “Christ Jesus”.  I’ll have that story to tell Little Man once he gets older and understands it all.

5 Responses

  1. I always knew Grandpa was in a war but, i guess i never knew which one and what he did there. This was very touching Emily, i’m glad i could touch back and read stories about Grandpa!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


    Thanks, Courtney! I knew Grampa was in WWII, and I think I knew that he helped crack the code. The War series on PBS really made me curious and started asking questions. I’m just sorry that I was never able to ask Grampa the questions. ~Emily/Accountable

  2. On the night of dad’s birthday we went to the ellis Island website at and checked out when the ancestor’s came over. You can go look it up yourself. Look up Peter Dorr (wife Caroline), they came over on Dec. 8 1908. You can look up the actual ship manifest filled out by the ship’s is unbelievably cool to look at.

    Very cool! Thanks! ~Accountable/EG

  3. What a heritage! You must be so proud. They were indeed our ‘Greatest Generation’ as Tom Brokaw called them.

    For a time, I was into our family’s history so I could join the DAR. I wish I too had asked more questions from my grandparents and parents while they were here.

    I am so glad I had a close relationship with my grandparents, my favorite childhood memories were with them.

    Thanks for sharing, I would love to read more about Grampa:)

    Thanks, Ang. I am VERY proud of my Grampa and I miss him very much. I want to plan a trip to visit my Gramma just to talk to her and get the stories from her. That and to spend time in Florida on the Island! ~Accountable

  4. This is a really sweet recording of a piece of your family history and some memories. My family did a geneology book at one point, but there just weren’t enough stories in it, it just seemed like pages and pages of names, and they were all too remote to mean anything to me. It is stories like this that will make your grampa live on for generations. 🙂

    I’m not sure if I’ve said this before, but mt only regret is that I didn’t get to hear them first hand. ~Accountable

  5. It’s wonderful that you have been able to save him in memory. I loved my grandfather to no end. He used to tell the funniest stories. I tried to write them down a few times, but could never quite remember then right, and now the stories are slipping away from me and not making it very clearly to my kids.

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