Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day


My Grandfather, Arlo Taylor, Veteran of WWII.  In the photo above he's posing after a dip in Mussolini's Swimming Pool after they liberated Rome.

He was a Telephone Operator for the 151st Field Artillery Battalion and the 34th "Red Bull" Division.

A farm boy from Southeast Iowa.

He fought in Northern Africa and Italy.

He refused a Purple Heart for a shrapnel wound to the leg in Italy.

He told the officer in charge to "Give it to someone who deserved it more".

He lived to return to Iowa, get married have two sons and one granddaughter.

We believe he was Bipolar, which worsened after his return from the war, his odd and erratic behavior clouding many memories we have of him.

However, he was kind to everyone, tolerant regardless of race or sexuality before it was socially accepted to do so.

When he died he had my school pictures in his wallet.

It wasn't until high school that I found his photo albums from his time in the war.

These pictures gave me the first insight into the man my Grandfather really was, not what a mental disease turned him into.


My Grandfather, on the right, and two of his handsome buddies acting all serious in Italy.

Here are few more of my favorites -
 
On the back my Grandfather (the one on the far right) wrote "Lined up to wash our mess kits just outside the kitchen. We line up to do everything. No, the sweater isn't G.I. but I get by wearing it."

I kind of want to make a sweater like that.

 
On the back was written.

"Oct. 42 "Tiger" Luther the smallest fellow in the Btry with gas mask, gas cape and brush knives, Jack cannon(?) on right"

Just goofin' around.

 
"Sept 42 My afternoon off know my girl."

The mystery is we don't know who his sweetheart was in 1942.

{A repost from last year - I believe it's still an important post to share.  Don't forget those who never came home and those who came home as different people.} - Molly 5/29/12

6 comments:

  1. Amazing photos and stories. Thank you for sharing them.

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  2. Thank you for sharing his story a little further!

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  3. Very interesting insight!

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  4. That's so interesting to read.
    My Grandpa started as a Private and worked up to Corporal. He was always in India and Japan for the war and it saddened him every year when people commemorated VE day in May - his war didn't end until august on VJ day. I love him so much even though he passed 12 years ago. It's important for us to keep their memories alive. Thanks for reminding me!
    Zoe

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  5. Loved this one, Molly. Mussolini's pool! So sweet that he carried your pictures with him. My Dad's father abandoned his family when my dad was 4, but when he died they found a photograph of my dad as little boy, tattered and faded, in his wallet. That he carried it around with him for his whole life is just so heartbreaking.

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  6. This is a really neat post. I love the old pictures!

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