4. Memories of Daddy — Home from the War
WW1 ended in November of 1918, and Daddy was shipped home the following February. He mentioned “liking” the Germans, so must have been in Germany after the Armistice was signed.
Daddy was discharged from the army May 23, 1919, at Camp Custer, near Battle Creek Michigan.
Pictures of Daddy’s unit and the army band were on the wall of the large bedroom downstairs. When and where the pictures were taken is not known.
In our possession is a small very colorful Millefiori vase. Millefiori means “Thousands of Flowers.” The vase contained a small rolled up paper with the words, “Melli Feri France” written on it. The paper and the vase are now 100 years old! An amazing keepsake that Daddy brought home for Mom.
Whenever we had salmon, Daddy refused to eat it. Mom told us that Daddy’s platoon was caught behind enemy lines, and found an abandoned German boxcar on an isolated side track. It was loaded with cans of salmon. While they waited a week for American troops to break through, all they ate was salmon. Daddy declared he would never eat salmon again.
When they returned home, Daddy and his buddies formed a “Last Man’s Club,” and agreed to meet once a year as long as they lasted. They met at the luxurious Pantlind Hotel (now the Amway Grand Plaza) in Grand Rapids, Michigan; brought in a keg of beer, and played poker until the beer was gone. One of them came from Arizona. Daddy always came home with $30 to $50 that he won at poker. Daddy was the last man, surviving after the friend in Arizona could no longer make the trip, and there was no one left to play poker.