I posted these status updates about my family on Facebook, all the way back to my Great Grandfather who fought the Kaiser in WWI on Facebook. It’s not exactly Godaddy’s Marine tributes (which you should see!), but in honor of Memorial Day, I thought I’d share here as well.
William F. Johnston, unfortunately I don’t have a picture on this computer, was Walter Johnston’s son. While Walter Johnston, according to rumors lied about his age to get into the fight against the Kaiser (he was 16 or 17?), William was already of age to fight the Nazis. And that he did. He fought in France and Germany. He fought in Normandy, and fortunately made it through alive.
Many in Warren might be surprised to know that Pelligrino’s factory was his old Meadow Brook dairy. For a brief stint in a college summer, I worked for Pelligrino’s, and Tony said just how appreciative he was of my grandfather’s sale of the old place to jumpstart Pelligrino Peppers. The younger Pelligrinos didn’t remember him, but Tony certainly did.
In the old days of the American Legion, William Johnston was an active member. After the war, he went as far even playing Santa Claus for a Christmas or so. Dorothy Salisbury and he always played host to Christmas Eve when I was growing up. Sue Salisbury Salapek may remember some of the early years with Grandpa and Dottie, especially when Muffy suddenly became a part of the family. That old dog, originally meant for Chris was named Lucky originally. I don’t know how Muffin inevitably ended up to be his name, but thank God it wasn’t named after the Alf TV show.
Christmas time Brandy Alexanders were part of the definition of the holiday season in William Johnston’s family.
I was aboard the USS South Carolina for a brief stint in ’93. My boat was in tip top shape when it left. We were part of the USS Eisenhower battle group. Jason Sawyer’s ship, I say as if my old military buddy will ever see this. We had some grand old fun in Norfolk, with Wally from NC, and Nora from Compton (my favoritest old girlfriend) and a few others!
The Persian Gulf War was pretty much finished. It had been since CNN & Wolf Blitzer made themselves famous for the coverage back in ’90. There were a few old friends who still got sent over to the Gulf on whatever USS Something that got the orders, includng Nora’s ship, unfortunately.
The rest of us, we minded our boats, and kept them ready. Jason was an airman. I went for Damage Control. Best to keep the boat afloat rather than actually have to learn to swim. I never was good at that.
Jason (Tom) Sawyer, Wally, Nora, Ferguson, anyone in Norfolk, too, and anyone in that really messed up road trip to DC… cheers and Memorial Day is for you too! In our case, we’re still alive. My family did well in wartime. Hope yours did too.