Greeting to one and all. I hope you are doing well. Welcome back to another edition of Flashback Friday. Seeing that Veteran's Day was yesterday,in today's edition you will get to learn a little about the most colorful veteran I knew while growing up. My Great Uncle Charles. He looked a little like actor Jack Albertson (only with glasses).
Uncle Charles lived in Chicago, and would come over to visit my Grandmother about twice a year at her house in Westerville. Everybody loved it when he came because he had a great sense of humor. He also wasn't beyond lavishing everyone with gifts. We kids especially liked him. It was a child's dream to approach a candy counter at a department store and hear the grown-up in charge say "pick out whatever you want".
Uncle Charles was born in Central Ohio, and enlisted in the Army when WWII broke out. He was sent to the European theater. I overheard him telling a story about the fighting during The Battle Of The Bulge. He wouldn't tell combat stories to us kids, so we would have to sneak and try to garner bits of information. He gave Grandma a scrapbook of stamps from all the countries he was in. He also gave her other mementos from the war:
Not only did he like to drop money on us kids, he liked to drop money on the ponies. Central Ohio is home to two large horse racing tracks, and he went to them both every time he visited. Since Grandma didn't drive, and he usually flew in, he would get a cab to one, catch a cab to the other, then catch a cab back to her house. Nobody was allowed to go with him when he went to "play the ponies". Rumor had it, he had some "connections" back in Chicago.
We were saddened when we received the news that he had contracted lung cancer (he was a HEAVY smoker). He wasn't given long. When he passed, he was flown in to Westerville for the funeral. He was interned in my hometown of Marengo.