Saturday, March 6, 2010

This is my Mother's Uncle Charles Cummings who served overseas in WWII. He's always stood out in my mind because I never met him (he died either in 1969 or 1970, very close to when I was born). It seems that during his time over seas he was based mostly in India.
Although I enjoy the pictures of him in familiar living rooms and family scenes, his pictures from India are most fascinating to me because being born in 1970, my idea of World War II centers almost exclusively in northern Europe and Japan. I suppose I could read up and educate myself more on the subject but there is soooo much out there to read. It really is hard to know where to start, a couple of old pictures found in a Roslindale cedar chest I guess, is as good a place as any....

The family has many very small ivory figurines that "Charley" sent back ( knowing what we do now about the horrors of the ivory trade, in looking at these objects, I try to remember that it was a different time and his intent in sending these home was not to perpetuate cruelty to animals but to send his sisters something pretty. ) We also have books and letters that he sent home during that time. He may have been a bit of a heavy drinker who never married but it's abundantly clear that he was also, in his own way, a sort of family man.
Amusingly enough, when we were cleaning out the family house in Roslindale, my husband took some old dusty, rusty junk metal from the basement that we figured could be sold and work make the basement look nicer to prospective buyers at the same time. Amongst that stuff were a few small wooden boxes that had assorted nails and screws and such organized into them. Michael kept those to use in our own home and was organizing them one night at our basement bar. I think I was just watching TV or fooling around on the computer when he asked,
"Who is Charles Cummings?"
I told hime that's my Mother's uncle and asked where he saw that name. It was on a label affixed to one of those small wooded boxes that were taken from the basement. The box had been previously used by "Uncle Charley" to send those ivory figurines from India.
You never really know where you are going to find great information, it could be preserved nicely in a photo album or perhaps affixed to back of a box of rusty old nails in the back of a dank and dirty basement...

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