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"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The good news...

The tragedies were great in World War1, but there were some happy times too.
My great grandfather Jack Cairns came home.
He wasn't engaged to my great grandmother May, yet, when he went to war.
But he knew he had a girl back home and sent many letters which my mom has transcribed in a book.
He also sent a few sweet souvenirs.

 These were called 'WW1 Silks' and were embroidered by Belgium and French women to sell to the soldiers who sent them back home.
The message was short and sometimes cryptic...
They were sent at no charge to the families who desperately awaited news from their boys overseas.
He also sent this beautiful, large lace-silk hanging.
I haven't searched my great grandfathers military history yet, but I do know that he was in the war for at least 2 years and survived.
This tender moment captured on film was taken when he first got home...
They were engaged not long after that and were married the same year.
They were married for 57 years and had 4 children, one of whom was my grandma Marge.
He died the year I was born.
To think how fragile the outcome of ones life can be is very humbling.
He fought alongside many who weren't so lucky.
Who never came home to their sweethearts.
So young, that they never knew the love of a woman.
These young men who lived and died through some of the darkest horrors known to man.
My great grandparents were blessed.
And in turn I was blessed.


farmlady said...

What a wonderful story. Life can be so fragile and scary. One comes back and another doesn't. One life continues on and another is cut short forever by a distant war. What an amazing game of chance.
How lovely the silk wall hangings are. What beautiful pieces that have been so well taken care of.
The photo is so hopeful and charming.

the wild magnolia said...

A wonderful story, happy endings are my favorite.

I was able to view all the pictures.

Shammickite said...

My mother's cousin Margery was one of those sad women whose sweetheart never came back from the war. She never married. There just weren't enough young men to go round after WW1. She looked after her parents until their deaths. I wonder what her life would have been if her young man had returned.

Marylinn Kelly said...

This and your previous post bring to mind my mother's parents, who met on a troop ship bound for France. My grandmother was a newly-graduated nurse, my grandfather a cavalry officer who had already served with Gen. Pershing in pursuit of Pancho Villa. The pieces sent home by your great-grandfather, so beautifully preserved, still emit the powerful feelings they must have held at the time for senders and recipients. One of my grandfather's souvenirs was the songs of the era he sang to me as a child, the words of many I still remember. He was gassed and had to be treated throughout his life for TB, but he, they, both came home. It was a war that changed the world, that took the lives and innocence of so many. Thank you for such moving glimpses into your history.

Cobalt Violet said...

Beautiful and moving posts on rememberance ... I'm all teary! Reminds me of when I used to work (volunteer) at the VA hospital here. I have never seen those beautiful silks before. How lovely and touching.