Now that I know what they are, I’m finding sycamore leaves everywhere in parks and forest preserves. These beauties are from Sand Ridge Nature Center in South Holland, Illinois. Although they’re turning brittle, they look like shiny leather.
Autumn color lingers through early November, even at Wolf Lake in northwest Indiana.
A few years ago I did a search on my dad’s name and found an old auction for V-Mail (“Greetings from Britain”) from Private Ralph Schirf. I hadn’t known about the auction, long since over, in time to bid. Here are the clues that it’s from my dad:
- Ralph Schirf is a unique name. Schirf is rare, and we’re all related. Ralph Schirf is one of a kind.
- He was from the Altoona, Pennsylvania, area.
- He served as a private in the Army Air Forces during WWII in England (artillery, I believe, although he didn’t talk about it). He was honorably discharged as a corporal.
- That’s his block printing.
- His beloved sister Marjorie married a Way (Ellis G. in the obituary of one of their children).
- He once signed a birthday card to me “Father Ralph.” It’s not a stretch to imagine him signing “Brother Ralph” to his sister.
I would love if the buyer found this post and offered to sell me Dad’s V-Mail, but in lieu of the physical pieces I’ll have to be content with small digital photos.
Here’s more from the Postal Museum about V-Mail.
USPS PDF about the history and process of sending V-Mail.
And his grave in Bellwood, Pennsylvania, outside Altoona:
Autumn Sunday morning promenade around Promontory Point.
The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring by Richard Preston. New York: Random House. 2007. 320 pages. In The Wild Trees, Richard Preston delves into the lives of giant trees, primarily coast redwoods, and some of the people … Continue reading →
Enjoy it while you can. It’s about to get bare and gloomy out there.