Sunday, March 22, 2009

Old Navy

I must have met my Uncle Tanny as a boy, but I have no memory of him.

Stanford Wheeler Kleylein (that's my Uncle Tanny) lived most of his life in Indiana. He had met and married Harriet Copple and Harriet and her family were from Indiana and you know how that goes.

Here's a photograph of him from November of 1942. I can see from close examination of his rank and rating (the insignia on his sleeve) that he is a Machinist's Mate First Class. That means he could have worked on anything to do with ship propulsion or any other kind of shipboard engines that need looking after by a mechanic.

Here's what the Machinist's Mate rating designation looks like. I guess he could have worked on propellers too. A naval rating is like an occupation, you can glance at anyone's sleeve and instantly tell what their job is and what their rank is. There's no guessing in the Navy.

I don't know why he joined the Navy. It may be because his step-father, Avner Hoffacker Wareheim had been in the Navy. That's probably a pretty good guess. Avner's daughter, Violet also married a Navy man, Raymond Alt. But blind and dumb as I was when I was a kid, all this was lost on me. I was actually surprised to learn all the Navy connections later when I got into the whole genealogy thing.

Here's Avner holding my brother Dave. Look how stiff my brother looks. I think there's something wrong with him (Dave I mean) and Avner's probably trying to wake him up or something. Maybe he's in a coma, although I don't know how anyone could ever tell.

Avner was also a Machinist's Mate, but he was a Chief which is a higher rank than Uncle Tanny. In civilian life, Avner was a plasterer, I guess they didn't have too much call for plasterers on board ship. Or maybe he just wanted to do something different.

When my brother outgrew his little Navy suit, it got passed to me. Boy, there was a long history of that. Here's a photograph of me in the suit with my brother Dave and our cousin Audrey. Isn't she cute?

I guess wearing that suit as a little kid is another example of that foreshadowing thing.

1 comment:

Dave said...

I wasn't in a coma, I was scared. I thought he was a cop!