A Quick Phone Call Uncovered a Family Treasure


“Hello?” My great-grandpa answered his cell phone when I called him yesterday. “Who is this?” 

“This is Jennifer!” I nearly shouted. I wanted to make sure he could hear me on the other end of the line.

“Oh, Jennifer! Hello!” He said with his tickled chuckle. “Yes, I talked to Joy Lynn the other day!”

Joy Lynn is my mother, and her mother is Joy (my grandmother, his daughter). It can get a little confusing but it’s awesome all the same.

Any chat with my 97-year-old great-grandpa, no matter how short is such a joyous occasion. He’s so eager to tell me about himself and ask how we’re doing. And I’m eager to soak in every bit of history he shares with me. On this call I managed to talk to him a little bit about his service in the military. He was in the Army during World War II. I asked if he had any photos of himself in his uniform and he passed me over to his son (my great-uncle) who happened to have just popped in for a surprise visit and he was able to text me a photo right then.

He told me how his job was to travel and find soldiers who were AWOL.

“Wow Grandpa, this is a great picture!” I told him. So crazy seeing him probably around my age or not much older than I am now.

I called my Nan and told her her brother was visiting their dad, and it really just boggled my brain and warmed my heart thinking how blessed I am to have so many branches of my family tree healthy and strong and to feel so close to them. I know so many people don’t have that experience. My kids know and love their great-great-grandfather and you just don’t hear that often.

I taught my great-grandpa how to Skype

Having a little more understanding about Veterans since our trip to Washington D.C. my daughter and I are sending a special package to our (great)great-grandpa for Veteran’s Day. Now and then we send him photographs of us with him to keep with him, but I thought a wifi picture frame that we could all digitally send photos to would be an easier way for him to keep him up to date with pictures of the growing kids.

We’re also volunteering at a local senior home in a couple days. I imagine we’ll meet some more veterans there and maybe hear some cool stories. I’ll let you know how that goes.

When I think of a veteran my mind automatically goes to an older person, but my brother-in-law, and several friends served in the military and I’m so thankful for their service. According to the 2014 U.S. Census there are over 21.8 million veterans in the United States. Do you know a veteran? Thank them and their families, not just on Veteran’s Day this month, but the next time you see them.

Capturing the beauty of childhood: Tips for photographing children. How to photograph kids.

To do its part in thanking the brave men and women who have served, Sears recently launched “Heroes at Home for the Holidays.” Now through Nov. 19, you can donate when you check out at any Sears store, via a link at sears.com/heroesathome, or by purchasing limited-edition products that benefits the cause. One hundred percent of funds raised will go to Rebuilding Together to fund immediate accessibility ramp builds in November and December to military families in need.

Do you have a veteran in your life you’d like to shop for this year? What would you want to get for them? Tell me about them in the comments and you’ll be entered to win a $100 gift card to Sears! This giveaway closes November 15th, 2016 at 11:59pm. I’ll use Random.org to choose a random comment. Good luck!

Supporting our troops is important to my family and I, which is why I partnered with Sears on this blog post.

Interview your relatives and uncover special family stories.

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  1. I love that picture of your great grandfather. And how wonderful to have a great-great grandfather for your children! He looks just as good today as he did in that photo of him as a young man. Thank you to him for his years of service.

    And I just learned a couple of weeks ago that one of my coworkers was a veteran. I had no idea! Your post is a good reminder to people to look to our younger generations and to honor their military service.

  2. Both of my grandfathers were veterans. One passed when I was almost two, and the other when I was in college. I listened to a number of his WWII stories over the years and at one point a couple of his kids recorded them. Someday I hope to track those down and listen to them again. A couple years ago my mom came across a couple very scratchy, hard-to-understand records (as in vinyl) that were audio recordings my other grandpa sent to my grandma and his family when he was in the service. It must have been some sort of government program that recorded the messages and sent them. Like I said, it’s hard to understand parts of them, but it’s cool to hear them nonetheless. Oh, how I wish I had the chance to buy gifts for them…though both would probably not want a single thing!

  3. My daughter Maggie is a proud marine having served our country for the last 5 years. I am so proud of her but i do miss not being able to see her smiling face every day. I would use this gift card to buy my daughter some clothes for when she is on leave. She has more marine clothes than regular clothes.

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