Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Trip Back in Time

On Memorial Day morning, I went to an auction held here locally.  I sat with a lady from Tonganoxie (we are two miles east).  She told me she did not recognize but one or two people at the auction.  It was clearly the odds and ends from several estates, and there were a lot of coins there, that collectors were paying BIG money for. 

I sat for three hours, patiently waiting to bid on some old pictures, which you know I collect.  When it came time to bid, only one other gentleman, about my age, seemed to be interested in the conglomeration of tin types and old photos.  I had set a mental price of $20.00, but went to $30.00 to get them.  I felt okay, because I had spent very little money over the weekend.  I wish now that I had spoken to the man who bid against me, because I think I know why he was wanting them.

When I got home, I placed the tin types on the kitchen table to look at under the light.  They were remarkably clear for such old pictures, because you know that they deteriorate many times.  With the tintypes came many old pictures that had been detached from an album. Happily, someone had written captions on them, and even though some are very small, they were very clear.  I will share those with you at some point, too.  Many of them dated from World War I, and were so interesting. 

Underneath this pile
 was a plastic bag.  I had no idea it had come with the tin types.  In it were 27 negatives, and as I held them up to the light, I was really surprised at what I was seeing.  I suspect that they were what the other gentleman had wanted.    I showed them to Keith, and then sent them off to a processing plant in Topeka.  They called me the next day with the cost.... gulp.... 100.00!  Yes, you probably think I am crazy, but I told them to go ahead.  The negatives were 3 x 5, and the man asked me how large I wanted the pictures, and did I realize some were damaged.  I told him to go ahead, and to call when they were ready. 

I got them Thursday, and now I want very much to find the family to whom they belonged.

Here are some:

This dapper seargant is in most of the pictures. He wears a wedding ring.  He looks like a young Van Johnson. (that was an actor, for those of you too young to remember!)

I made this one extra large, so you could see the details.
The pictures are of Occupied Japan.
The 8th Army was the occupying Army.  They had been a combat-hardened Army, but over the course of the occupation, were no longer combat-ready.  When they were deployed to Korea during the Korean conflict, they suffered huge losses.

As you can see, this area suffered huge devastation. 
Hangin' Out outside the PX

Obviously the Japanese were having to make-do for living places

This little guy was the unit mascot, named Butch.
Here he is with all his dads, this was one of the damaged negatives. He is laying in the door of the doghouse.
We don't think of World War II as being so far ago, but it was... D Day was 67 years ago this week. This mother was in traditional dress.
I would give anything to know about this handsome young soldier, and what happened to him after the war.  Some family, somewhere, let these wonderful photos get away from them.


  1. I finally got caught up on your blog. The pics from WWII are great. I remember it well. Mary G.

  2. Really neat find! Thanks for sharing. You have me wondering now also.

  3. Wow, I hope you are able to find the family of that soldier. The photos are wonderful. What treasures!

  4. As you probably already remember, my Mom was Japanese.

    She was very young on D Day.

  5. When I find old pics like this, I'm always so sad and want to take this family home. They are lovely photos, it would be fun to try to track down who they belonged to.

  6. If I may? I just stumbled across this website of yours...

    As you correctly deduced, he was attached to the US 8th Army. My dad was also 8th Army and was stationed at Eichelberger's GHQ building in Yokohama.

    If you sincerely wish to attempt to track this young soldier down, my thought is the image with the fire truck is the most likely candidate to start from. On the bumper are markings; one I surmise to be 8 (A)rmy. On the right is HQ 23?. Also, he has firearms; the other ones do not so it may be this photo was taken not long after the Occupation began. Good luck.


I love comments!