Sunday, August 22, 2010

Remembering Grand-Paw

We finds it helps us a lot to look at the past. Today we are going to look at Grand-Paw's life. Grand-Paw was born in November 1918, shortly after the end of World War I, the Great War. There was only him, his sister Mary and his Mother because Great-Grand-Paw died in the great influenza epidemic of 1918.

His mother remarried but passed away when Grand-Paw was 13 during the Great Depression. Grand-Paw, his six brudders and two sisters were then sent to an orphanage. He went to school and played on the baseball team. He was pretty good player too.

Grand-Paw School Picture 1932-33

Grand-Paw's High School Baseball Team
With his six brudders
He then served with the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC). In 1939, the war set Europe ablaze once more. Grand-Paw entered the 5th Armored Division. He trained in Kentucky, California, Tennessee and New York. On 11 February 1944, he and the other soldiers departed the Port of New York destined for England. Eyes constantly swept the seas for the sight of a U-Boat periscope. He was assigned to a Catholic Chaplain and was called Deacon Joe by the other soldiers.

The 5th Armored landed in Europe several days after D-Day. Grand-Paw saw some of the most bitter fighting on the Western Front in a place called the Hurtgen Forest. This action took place between 14 September 1944 to 10 February 1945. The American Army suffered over 33,000 casualties, while the Germans were at least 28,000. Ernest Hemingway compared the fighting there to the British Offensive in Paschendale during World War I. The weather was bad, shells burst in the tree tops sending splinters and shrapnel down on the soldiers. It was better to hug a tree than huddle in a fox hole. Dad's unit, CCR, saw action during the Battle of Hurtgen Forrest from 20 November to 8 December. CCR was awarded the "Distinguished Unit Citation" for this action and French Croix de Guerre for 14-20 September 1944 action at Wallendorf and Our River. The 5th Armored was the first to cross the Siegfried Line and the closest American unit to Berlin at the end of the war.

Grand-Paw liked dogs back then

Grand-Paw, a Sherman Tank, Hurtgen Forrest
Grand-Paw and Sister Mary

Grand-Paw came back to the states after the war and went to work at the Ford Motor Company. He fell in love and married Grand-Maw in May 1948. They raised a family of three girls and two boys. It was a good family. He was grief stricken when Grand-Maw passed away in January 2008. Then in November 2008 he was admitted to a hospital to never return home. Unfortunately he never fully recovered and he was destined to spend the rest of his life in a nursing home saddening both us and Dog Dad.

Grand-Maw, Grand-Paw and Chaplain from the War

Reading Sunday Funnies to Young Dog Dad

At Work

After Grand-Maw Crossed the Bridge

Grand-Paw was a good kind loving man. A man with a twinkle in his green eyes and quick to smile at strangers. What he went through would have destroyed many a man but he became stronger. He loved God, his family and baseball. We are sure Grand-Maw and Pudgy were among those to meet him. We will always be proud of him, and given his beginnings, we do not see how you could have asked for a better man.

Dog Speed Grand-Paw,

Essex, Deacon & Dog Dad

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Grand-Paw Crossed The Bridge

Around 1130 AM Grand-Paw crossed the rainbow bridge. We are both happy and sad. Happy he is no longer in pain and because he has been bed ridden for about a year-and-a half. Sad because we enjoyed being around him, visiting the nursing home and seeing his eyes twinkle.

We were there right by Dog Dad's side when Grand-Paw crossed. We felt Dog Dad's hand stroke our fur and gather strength from us. We were all ready for this, so we are okay. We will know more what is going on with all the different hooman rituals late tomorrow.

When Grand-Paw crossed the bridge, we can imagine Pudgy came over to lick his face. Grand-Maw was probably the first to greet him.

We are okay cyber-paw pals. We are only a little bit tired from everything.

Dog Speed,

Essex & Deacon

Monday, August 16, 2010

Grand-Paw Update

We arrived safe in Northern Ohio yesterday. Grand-Paw has lost a lot of weight but is fairly lucid at times. My Dad's three sisters and his brudder were there at the nursing home. We even sniffed him and Grand-Paw gave us a weak smile and we could see his eyes light up.

We got to walk around the nursing home and we visited several people. Deacon got a lot of attention from strangers, while I just don't trust strangers.

We even visit our collie friends Cassie & Hattie last night. The weather here is a lot cooler than Key West. We'll it is time to go. It is time for a walk.

Essex & Deacon

Thursday, August 12, 2010


We haven't been posting lately, but Grand-Paw has been in bad shape and Dog Dad has been worried. We are going to be going on an emergency trip to Ohio. We fully expect Grand-Paw to be crossing the rainbow bridge soon.

Don't worry about Dog Dad, he is okay with it as Grand-Paw is 91. It has hard seeing Grand-Paw in the wheel chair and not be able to talk much when he visited in June. Dog Dad remembers a much younger and happier Grand-Paw. We traveling with Dog Dad as he refuses to leave us behind during herricane season. Besides Dad will need us for emotional support. Nothing like a face lick to make someone feel all better.

We are sure Dad's nickle dog Pudgy will be waiting to greet Grand-Paw when he crosses the bridge.

Dog Speed,

Essex, Deacon & Dog Dad