My dad, Armand Gabriel Charest, was a US Army veteran of World War II. I knew this growing up as he would talk a lot about his Army adventures. We even attended a reunion of his 41st Division in 1971. He always expressed pride in being a soldier and pride in his role during WWII. But there were things about his army service I didn’t know until he wrote his memoirs in 2002.
Then there were some things about his Army service I didn’t know until after he passed, which left questions for which I’ll probably never have answers.
I had the distinct experience of attending my forty-year high school class reunion several weeks ago. It was the first reunion I’ve been to, and it brought up a flood of memories and feelings I haven’t dealt with since graduation.
I’ve written extensively about the life-changing event that was Hurricane Katrina. However, I haven’t written about another hurricane which had almost as much of an impact. That would be Ivan, which made landfall on the US Gulf Coast early on the morning of September 16, 2004, one year prior to Katrina. Although my home and the community of Gautier, Mississippi, was not directly impacted Ivan had deeply personal consequences.
As the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Ivan’s landfall approaches I’ve decided it’s time to share my story. Continue reading →
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a hammer that I lost over 35 years ago. Rather, I’ve been thinking about losing that hammer and how I lost it. It involves my maternal grandfather, a school play, and a high school teacher whom I still consider to be one of the most inept teachers I suffered through during my entire public school career. Continue reading →
Winnie and I added some new technology to our house this past week. We gained the first landline house telephone we’ve had since moving to Virginia. While this doesn’t sound like that much of an event, it’s gotten me to thinking about the changes in phone technology I’ve seen over the years. Continue reading →
For better or worse, it seems that the vehicles I’ve owned over the years seem to match the phase of my life. From the time I earned to drive at age 18, I’ve now owned twelve four-wheeled vehicles of one type or another. Continue reading →
In early June I had my chance for an intervention. My new job was a normal Monday to Friday schedule, but then one week I was scheduled to come into work on a special Saturday project. Although Marilou had been working every weekend for the past few months, the day after I told her of my Saturday schedule she announced she would have that Saturday off. Continue reading →
This narrative is about my personal experience with Robert (Bobby) Russell Garwood, PFC, USMC, DD. This story, as painful as it has been for me, is written for and dedicated to the many people who served our nation in the Vietnam war. There are many people still today who believe our nation abandoned our servicemen and women after the hostilities between North Vietnam and the US officially ended. For those people who still believe, who still search for loved ones who never returned home, I hope one day they find the answers they deserve.
These are the known facts about Robert:
In the summer of 1965, 19 year old Marine PFC Robert Russell Garwood served as a staff driver for the G-2 Intelligence section of the Third Marine Division in Da Nang, South Vietnam. Continue reading →
This is the second part of Armand’s story about traveling in Albania. In Part I he discussed his first trip there with a private aid group originating in Naples, Italy. At that time Armand was staying with my first wife and I just south of Naples, while I was stationed there with NATO. Several months after his first trip, Armand went back on his own to perform additional relief work and explore. This is his account of the second trip.
Armand wrote and attempted to have his story, “Eyewitness to 1984,” published about 1997. He did get Part I published in a travel magazine that folded immediately afterwards. As Armand retained copyrights and publications rights, he let me also publish it on a travel website I operated at the time. However, this is the first time the second part of his story has ever been published.
This has been edited for obvious spelling and grammatical errors, and formatted for best presentation on this website. Otherwise, this story is exactly as Armand wrote it.