Happy Birthday Grammy Alice!

My paternal grandmother, Alice (Holden) Lindall “Grammy” was born on this day, December 28th, in 1901. She died on December 6th, 1985–just shy of her 84th birthday. She was married to James B. Lindall (1898-1972), also known as “Grampy”.

The picture of Grammy below was taken in 1975.

Below is a picture of Jim and Alice in 1919.

As I remember it, Grammy was never very idle. In the evenings, while sitting in her chair, her hands were always in motion with knitting or crocheting. She made all kinds of things with yarn: afghans by making squares and then lacing them together; covers for throw pillows, slipper socks, baby booties and blankets. One time she made me a beautiful purple poncho shawl, as seen in the (slightly blurry) picture below, my dad standing in back of me–I still have that shawl.

Grammy was also quite the seamstress, she made most all of her own clothes. She also took in mending, I remember people dropping off and picking up items she would repair or hem. Back in the early days, I can remember her using a vintage treadle sewing machine for quite some time before upgrading to a newer cabinet electric model. Also, I remember the day she sold it–must have been bittersweet for her.

When I was young, I can remember Grammy working full time which was not very common for women at that time. She worked for Leviton Mfg. in Warwick and retired in 1962. She was active in the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) and I can remember she worked at the polls on Election Day.

When Christmas came around, we looked forward to Grammy’s individual homemade pork pies on Christmas Eve and her traditional plum pudding after dinner on Christmas (and usually on Thanksgiving, too). The plum pudding was made the year before and left to age for a year, served warm with “hard” sauce which was usually made by Auntie (sister to T. Wm. Watts). There was a recurring family joke for many years after Auntie fumbled with the brandy bottle one year, adding a bit too much to the sauce she made that time–she never lived that one down and it made for yearly laughs.

Every year on Christmas, Grammy would make an array of homemade candy, fudge, individual fruit cakes and cookies, everyone would get their own little parcel of goodies. Other times of year she would make special things like daffodil or angel food cake. So much work goes into things like that and how I miss them so.

Our Christmas gifts from Grammy and Grampy were always wrapped in the thin-style curling ribbon around both sides, usually soft-sided, no boxes. She would typically give each one a new sweatshirt or other items of need. I always had a red sweatshirt because I like wearing red coats–still do. My dad’s was usually the gray sweatshirt.

My family was big on fishing and the sweatshirts came in handy down by the water. During these fishing outings, I can remember that Grammy usually had her portable transistor radio tuned in to the Boston Red Sox game, she was a huge fan.

There was always a special candy dish upstairs at my grandparents with nice hard candies. My middle brother and I used to go back and forth with each other trying to figure out who was going to be the one to ask if we could have a piece of that candy. It seems that we always had to muster up the courage to ask–not sure why.

My grandparents had a dog named Lindy, shown below, I still remember her pretty well. She was a puppy of our dog Domino, the first dog that I remember in my family.

When traveling, Grammy liked to keep a journal as a record memory of the trip. Recently, I have found several of them. My plan would be to focus on some of these travel adventures in future writings. In addition, Grammy loved to take photos so I have a ton of them. She was very good about labeling the backs so most are easy to identify. The picture below is of my grandparents, taken in 1964, in New Hampshire.

Grammy was a daughter of John Holden (1865-1942) and Elizabeth (Wilde) Holden (1864-1938), shown in the photo below. Both of her parents were born in England. Alice had several siblings. Since I wanted to limit my focus today to this birthday introduction to Grammy Alice, I will explore more of her family tree in future writings.

John and Elizabeth Holden are buried in the Apponaug section of Warwick, RI. They were living in the Pontiac section prior to death. A partial photo of their headstone is shown here below.

Grammy grew up in Providence and at some point moved to Warwick where she remained the rest of her days, in various sections of the city. She and my grandfather never owned a home of their own. Although I am unsure of the exact timeframe, my grandparents and my dad lived in the Oakland Beach section of Warwick; it would have been during the 1920s and 1930s, prior to the 1938 Hurricane. Over the years, I have found items related to my dad’s school days that indicate he was living in Oakland Beach during part of his school years, at least. They moved from there to the Pontiac section.

Grammy Alice in 1959

My featured postcard image, which is also shown below, is of the King’s Daughters Cottage, in Oakland Beach, RI; also known as the Emily L. Chace Memorial Home. This postcard was from about 1910 and was published by the B.Y. & Co., made in Germany. I chose this image because of the Oakland Beach tie in. After a brief search, I was not able to find anything of substance to share regarding this house. Since I did not want to focus too much time and attention on that today, it is possible that I may find something of interest to share in the future; if so, I will make reference back to this postcard at that time.

After the end of World War II, my grandparents moved to the Greenwood section of Warwick, to a second floor apartment. My parents moved in to the first floor apartment soon after they married. So, I grew up with my grandparents living upstairs until I was in about 6th grade when they moved into the brand new senior housing (at that time) West Shore Terrace, over on West Shore Road–they were among the first residents.

Grammy was very active at the Terrace and became president for a while of their association. After Grampy died in 1972, she was able to travel more. She became a coordinator for many senior trips which I believe also earned her a free spot if she could recruit enough to fill the bus or plane. One of her trips was to Hawaii and the picture below was taken on that trip.

In the near future, my hope is to explore some of her trip journals here in my blog posts and also to explore more of her family tree.

In the meantime, I am sending out this birthday remembrance with a few memories. She is greatly missed.

Until next time…

My Dad: A Soldier of World War II

Normally, my focus is on my maternal James family and their connections via postal history by exploring the postcard collections that have been passed down to me from this line. My intro posting outlines the normal focus of this blog and can be viewed at Intro to my blog.

Today, being Veteran’s Day, my focus turns to my paternal side as I honor my dad’s memory and his service during World War II.

My featured postcard is a print made of an original painting by V. Mundorff, Chemnitz, No. 102 Nachrichten, published Berlin-Charlottenburg.

Humble Beginnings

My dad was a very humble guy. Growing up, I was well-aware of his service in the great war but never heard many details. In later years, my parents were fortunate enough to attend several reunions held by his service unit from which I would hear various stories upon their return. Sadly, it was not until he was gone that I would really learn the details of his service. Furthermore, I learned he was a great track star in high school, having earned several awards and ribbons for longer distance and hurdles–these I stumbled upon while sorting through old things.

My dad at age 14.

My dad, Earl Francis Lindall (1921-1997) was a son of James (1898-1972) and Alice (Holden) Lindall (1901-1985). My grandfather’s family first came to this country in the early 1600’s and were early settlers in the areas of Salem and Boston, Massachusetts.

Jim and Alice 1964

 

My grandfather was the son of William and Elnora (Bennett) Lindall. He grew up in the town of Coventry, Rhode Island. After he married my grandmother, they lived in various areas of Warwick, including Oakland Beach, Pontiac and Greenwood. In the photos below, the one on the left is of Elnora and the picture on the right is Jim with his sister Claudia and their father William.

My grandmother, Alice, was a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Wilde) Holden. My great-grandfather, John, was born in England 1866 and died on November 17, 1942 while a resident of 159 Knight Street, in the Pontiac section of Warwick, RI. In earlier years, he resided in Providence and was employed as a loomfixer and watchman at various times in the Atlantic Mills and Riverside Mills, in the Olneyville section of Providence. In later years, he worked as watchman at the B.B. & R. Knight Bleachery, in Pontiac. My great-grandmother, Elizabeth, was born in England 1865 and died prior to 1942. She married John, in England, on July 26, 1885.

The picture shown below is of John and Elizabeth Holden taken in 1924.

Reporting for Duty

The date of October 13, 1942 was the day my father became an active-duty soldier reporting for duty to Fort Devens.

Grammy had always kept a journal, and her first service related entry was dated September 1942:

Earl’s Army Life in World War II…Earl Francis Lindall started on his way to become a soldier in Uncle Sam’s Army…We went with him to Union Station. He didn’t seem to mind going and away he went to Fort Devens to report for duty…after 10 days he left for a new post…That being Atlantic City to attend Technical Training School and taking boot training. He resided in one of the big hotels on the boardwalk.

This postcard (shown below) of the Atlantic City Auditorium and Convention Hall is one my dad wrote to his grandfather (John Holden), while he was attending the service technical school.

This postcard was published by the Jersey Supply Company, Atlantic City, N.J. and is a genuine Curteich-Chicago “C.T. Art-Colortone” post card.

It seems John died soon after my dad had written this postcard, and it was likely the last contact he had with him.

Grammy’s journal went on to say:

He spoke of the good time they had walking or marching along by the water singing songs. He spent much of his spare time on the boardwalk by the water. Of course there are not many hours off duty in the Army…He spent 20 days here of his basic training.

He changed posts again on Nov. 11. He spent the night on the train which landed him in North Carolina now to be stationed at Seymour Johnson Field. He found out sometime later, they were put on the wrong train headed in the wrong direction and their destination should have been New York. But they had to find a place for them there.

He started in school to learn Airplane Mechanics…He had a large picture taken and sent home three, one for Marian (my mom), one for Rosie’s store and one for his mother.

He spent his first Christmas away from home but if he had known beforehand he might not have been able to get home.

According to military records, my dad achieved the rank of Corporal. He spent 10 months in the U.S. as an airplane and engine mechanic. He was assigned to the 461st Service Squadron (later renamed to the 461st Air Service Squadron) of the 9th Air Force, activated from Hunter Field, in Savannah, Ga.

“I have gotten as far as the Psalms in my Bible now,” said one of my dad’s journal entries. At the time I first read this, it gave me greater understanding of his Faith, which must have served as a source of strength in order to endure the face of battle.

My dad sailed across the Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth to the shores of Britain, arriving in Ramsbury, Wilshire, England on Nov. 10, 1943. He served in the European Theatre for 23 months, seeing battle in four locations: Central Europe, Normandy, Northern France and Rhineland (Germany).

His title was Woodworker and according to military papers, he inspected, maintained and repaired wooden aircraft parts on fighter planes and worked long hours under  “adverse conditions”.

A detailed account written by my dad’s unit commander, said they spent the first nine days in England getting used to the money, the customs and the blackout. The unit soon became the nucleus of Team “B” of the 326th Service Group and were assigned for service to the 354th Fighter Group of the 9th Air Force.

During the Invasion of Normandy on D-Day, they were stationed in Kent, England. Allied soldiers invaded five sections of the beach at Normandy, France from June 6 to 25, 1944. After numerous battles, my dad’s group had been reassigned to an air station, Strip A-2, in Cricqueville, France.

A great celebration erupted in the Parisian streets in late August, 1944, marking their liberation from four years of German occupation. There were great parades in the streets including American military marching to the German border. Cheering people lined the Paris streets for 15 miles. Allied forces drove into Germany, leading to the fall of the Nazi regime on May 7, 1945.

My mom and dad

My dad arrived back in the U.S. on Oct. 12, 1945, with his separation from the military taking place at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, on Oct. 20. According to his enlisted record, the U.S. Army decorated my dad with the European Theatre of Operations Service Medal, with four bronze battle stars, and the Good Conduct Medal.

Soon before my dad died, there was a letter and information received about the Regional Council of Lower Normandy offering the Medal of the Jubilee of Liberty. This was a Commemorative Medal, issued by the government of France in June of 1994, upon the 50th anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy. In an effort to get this medal awarded to my dad, a gentleman in his Senior Citizen bowling league wrote a personal letter to Senator Jack Reed, of Rhode Island. Senator Reed, in turn, wrote a personal letter to the French representative in Boston at the time, and he forwarded my dad’s medal application and documents to the necessary officials in France.

As a result, French officials posthumously awarded my dad this medal, received in December of 1997. When officials sent the medal to my mom, she also received a copy of the speech that was delivered on site, in Normandy, June 1994. The unknown speaker represented President Rene Garrec, of France. He spoke of Normandy as being “The Price of Freedom”. He also spoke about the lines of white crosses on their coastlines, “they show the terrible fights in which thousands of Allies gave their lives”.

“Normandy wants to take advantage of the Jubilee of 1944 to pay tribute to the Sacrifices of men who died so that their children live in a free country,” the spokesperson said, “…and at the same time transform this event in a Message of Peace…a place where the memory of future generations is cultivated so that freedom is not in danger anymore.”

Below is a slide show of several of the postcards that my dad brought back with him from Europe. Those cards in color are published Les Editions d’ Art “Yvon” Paris and the black and white “Escaliers” stairs published Editions Mireille, Ets G. Gandini, Marseille, are all images from Marseille, a port city in southern France. A couple of the other black and white postcards are from LIGNY-en-Barrois, a town in the northeast of France, published by Gourzon, Librairie. Also, there are a few real photo postcards from the Liberation of France, in Paris, including pictures of General de Gaulle and General Bradley. The last postcard is similar to the featured postcard and is a print of an original painting by V. Mundorff, Chemnitz, No. 109 Artillerie published by Berlin-Charlottenburg.

On this Veteran’s Day, we are reminded of those who have served for our freedom. Thank you, to those who currently serve and to those who have served in the past, such as my dad. Take time to listen to their stories. If they are no longer with us, take some time to learn about the details of their service.

Until next time…