From The Storage Unit

There are treasures in that storage unit. In that closet. In that garage. Family treasures.

When my father-in-law, George Pauly, was alive he and I had a couple conversations about his time in the service. A member of the 428th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, he had fought in the Pacific Theater. I found it interesting, like the stories I have heard from other members of the “Greatest Generation” over the years.

Earlier today we moved the contents of my mother-in-law’s storage unit to a larger unit because there are more pieces of furniture, chests, and boxes to go into storage and the old unit is not large enough. When we tried to move my late father-in-law’s desk, we had to remove the drawers to reduce the weight, and in the process of moving the drawers, we discovered a photo album that covered the time he was in the U.S. Army during World War Two.

Years later, I surprised Lisa by filling in the “blanks” about his time in the service. I don’t remember how it came up but I told her the basic facts about his time in the Army. She was surprised that I knew anything about it.

“How do you know that?”, She asked.

I shrugged. “I asked him about it, and he talked about it.”

She was a bit puzzled. “Oh. He never talked about it when I was at home.”

The photos shown here are from his photograph album. The photos in the album cover home life before he entered the service, being stationed in San Bernardino, California after basic training, time spent in Hawaii for jungle training, and the period when he fought in the Philippines.

George was the photographer, so he is not in the majority of the photos in the album. There is only one photograph of him on the island of Leyte. At least it is the only one that I can identify as being him.
I was on the other end of his lens a few times and can easily imagine that it was difficult for him to allow someone else to take control of the camera. It makes me smile whenever I think about it.Having known him, it isn’t hard to understand that 99% of the photos in the collection are of other people. He was a slow and very deliberate photographer. He always took great pains to get the exposure and framing right, even if it meant that his subjects frequently became exasperated while waiting for him to press the shutter button.

The photos shown here are just a sprinkling of the album, but what I found as interesting as the photos themselves were the comments in George’s careful hand script, and the “cover pages” that divided the sections. I also like the choice of black pages with white script, which is a superior way to display the contents in that medium. Considering that the album is likely to be at least sixty-five years old (it appears to have been put together after the war), I’m glad he decided to use the black paper with white ink, rather than the more common white paper with black ink, since white paper would be extremely yellowed by now.

Featured Comments

From Megan: Those are really great. They would be beautiful framed if you could get good scans. I especially love the Philippines page with the trail lines throughout.

From Steve Vaughn: What a well done album. What was you father-in-law’s profession? This was really quite a find to be treasured in the family.

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