We went to visit Kev's family this past weekend for Kristina's high school graduation and celebratory par-tay!
We also got to spend a lot of time with Kev's grandpa, George, seeing as we did enjoy a guest room at his "retirement community for active adults!"
Over breakfast our first morning amongst the active seniors, Grandpa introduced us to a strikingly tall, thin woman (her name has left me) that had (what I think was) a thick German accent. She was instantly welcoming and so sweetly affectionate to Olivia.
As it turns out, this tall, sweet woman was living in a section of France at the same time that Grandpa was there fighting in WWII.
She held Grandpa's hand in both of hers and smiled at him as she and Grandpa stood beside our breakfast table, and she told us that the Germans were "so bad," and she was so "happy to see the Americans."
I got this surprising lump in my throat as I sat and listened and watched. I think it's heart-touchingly amazing that these two people were in the same place at the same time (on the other side of the globe almost 70 years ago) witnessing the same terrible war, and, now they enjoy peace and happiness together in the same retirement community in Georgia. It's truly a lovely thing.
I find myself drawn to stories of WWII--I can't really explain it. That's why I find Grandpa to be such an extraordinary human being. He doesn't share his war stories very often, but when he does, I find myself hanging on every word.
While we enjoyed the sunshine out on the back deck at Kev's parents' house during Kristina's graduation party, Grandpa went through his war binder with me. It's a three-ring, black binder that a friend of his put together--one for each of his three children. It's full of stories that Grandpa has written of his time in WWII and newspaper articles written almost 70 years ago that mention Grandpa or news about his battalion. I soaked up his stories while soaking up the sun and enjoyed every minute as he recalled some pretty amazing memories.
The following article featured Grandpa back in 2008 and recalls his role in the Battle of the Bulge in December of 1944. This is just one (but a very important one) snapshot into Grandpa's life all those years ago.
So, this Memorial Day, I am saluting Grandpa, Mr. George Anderson--a man that is truly fascinating to me.