The GI and the thrift store


My husband is one of those obsessive types. You know, the kind of person who gets a laser focus about something and is unable to process anything else. The kind of person who’s obsessive about stuff he wants to do. Stuff he thinks he’ll be good at.

In other words, a typical man. AGMA male readers excluded of course…

He’s gotten so engrossed in a project before that it seemed as if he’d lost his sense of sight, hearing and speech. Doc Brown’s whole space-time continuum was suspended. He was oblivious of his surroundings while his children played with Mainway toys (Bag o’ Glass or Johnny Switchblade:Adventure Punk maybe?) or put the cat in the microwave.

Got the picture? Hubs still gets freakin’ crazy about things

In our nearly 40 years of marriage, four obsessive themes have emerged. Chess, duplicate  bridge, golf and genealogy.

All things I pretty much could give a rat’s patoot about. But it keeps him out of trouble. Most of the time.

We have multiple plastic tubs of his genealogy research done over the past 20 years. In the early years, before everything was on the internet, he’d travel all over the Eastern U.S. visiting county courthouses searching through, and copying, historical records about his family.


He’s done some work on my family too. Hubs debunked a myth that my father’s father’s family was from Ireland. He found definitive proof from multiple sources that they were actually German.

Damn it.

Round about 1914 when my father was born, it wasn’t too popular to be German. So poof, they became Irish. “Sure and begorrah, we’re from the Emerald Isle. Anybody seen a leprechaun?”

Hubs is still at it, but now he’s using DNA. I had to spit into a tube and he send it off for analysis. It’s gross to do. I can’t imagine being the one who digs the spit out of the tube.

Last week he found a 3rd or 4th cousin of mine living in St. Louis. Yawn… Unless it’s George Clooney or one of those yummy professional men’s cyclists in spandex, I’m not too interested.

My worst fear is that he’ll find some connection to Donald Trump. There are some skeletons with small hands best left in the closet.

But I did call on his expertise a couple of weeks ago.

In my hunt to find crap…eh…treasures to sell on eBay, I came across a WWII era postcard in a thrift shop. It was only 49 cents. Sold. Original WWII era “stuff” is popular with some folks. I felt like I could probably turn a big profit and sell it for at least $1.

AGMA’s nothing if not a shrewd business woman.

But my crusty heart melted when I read the back after I got home. It was a sweet love message from a GI stationed in Florida to his young wife back in Cleveland. We’ll call them Adam and Eve. Like I did the lions last month. The postmark was December, 1944.

My three uncles served in WWII. I’m lucky enough to have a couple of letters one of them wrote to his sister, my mother. I cherish those letters.

Suddenly a beam of light shone down on me and I heard a voice from the heavens saying, “You know what you have to do!” And I did.

AGMA needed to try to find the family of this couple and return this postcard to them.  I just prayed the GI survived the war.

Unfortunately the GI’s writing wasn’t all that great. His last name was hard to read. And Google Maps shows the address in Cleveland is a vacant lot. Now what?

Genealogy Man to the rescue!

When Hubs got home that night, I set him to the task. He was elated. With in 15 minutes he had found this couple’s eldest son on Facebook.

Kinda creepy in a “it’s way too easy to track somebody down on the internet” way…

I sent Adam’s son a message on Facebook and waited. And waited. Clearly he isn’t too much of a Facebooker.

So AGMA did a little social media research of her own. More like social media stalking.  I’m good at that. Did I say that out loud?

Because her FB security was nonexistent, I was able to get into Adam’s son’s wife’s FB page and read her posts. Which lead me to her daughter’s FB page which, again, had nonexistent FB security. Great for me in trying to track down Adam and Eve’s relatives, but still, kinda creepy…

Their daughter had a website listed for her business. Bingo!  I filled out the contact form, asked if Adam and Eve were her grandparents, and gave her my email address. Within hours, she replied.

She gushed with excitement. Yes indeed, Adam and Eve were her grandparents. And please send the postcard to her. She was going to have it framed and give it to her father as a gift.

Uncharacteristically, AGMA felt a sense of total and complete satisfaction with herself.

But I hesitated when I put it the postcard in an envelope on Monday. The whole thing seemed alive with the spirit of these two young people who were in so love so many years ago. AGMA wanted to feel that for just a few more minutes…

I sent her an email yesterday to let her know I’d mailed the post card. I also made the suggestion that she may want to delay framing it. Her father may actually want to touch the postcard; to make a physical connection with it. It could be a powerful way of reaching out, across the years, to his parents.

I get goose bumps just thinking about it.

Not sure she’s planning to listen to the wisdom of AGMA or not, but I’m just happy that Hubs and I could return a bit of family history rescued from a thrift store.

Turns out this eBay thing isn’t a bad gig.

Even if I missed out on my massive 51 cent profit.