This week my Grandfather (Dad’s Dad) passed away. He was raised in a coal mining town in Pennsylvania. Like most of his generation, he fought in WWII. The stories he told about his time in France were especially fascinating.
One of my favorites was about a time that he and two other men were separated from their unit in France. They had a jeep and were driving frantically through some back country roads searching for any friendly forces. As they drove through one small village they were swamped by a growing crowd that eventually pulled them from their jeep. The people of this particular village thought that they were being liberated by the three lost Americans. My Grandfather said that there was dancing, speeches, and an even an impromptu parade in their honor. As none of the Americans spoke French and none of the villagers spoke English, they had to stay until the crowd thinned enough that they could drive on.
After WWII he came back to the states and found a job as a stock boy for Hallmark Cards. He worked hard and managed to earn promotion after promotion in the company. When he retired from the company in the 80’s he had earned the title of Vice President. It isn’t often that someone moves from the lowest to one of the highest positions in a Fortune 500 corporation.
Not bad for a coal town kid with no formal education.