Thursday, October 18, 2007
Marine Buddies Reunite
In 1943, my father enlisted in the Marines at the age of eighteen. After six weeks of boot camp at Camp Pendleton in California, he was immediately shipped off to Guadacanal to begin fighting in World War II. He fought in Guam and Okinawa and stayed on to serve during the Occupation of China. During his time in the Marines, my father became friends with a guy from his troop named Albert Aubuchon. The two of them fought together. The majority of the men in their troop never saw home again.
Shortly after arriving home in 1946, Dad stood up in Albert's wedding. Dad and Albert kept in touch for a few years after the war and then lost touch as the years went on. My parents moved from Missouri to Chicago, and then retired up in Michigan.
A few years ago, thanks to the internet, my sister Linda was able to locate Albert's phone number and my Dad got in touch with Albert. Albert called Dad on his birthday, a date he remembered after all of those years. Each of them can still recall their rifle numbers.
The Monday after celebrating Mom and Dad's 60th anniversary, my cousin Marilyn and Linda had another trick up their sleeve. They had arranged for Albert and his wife to meet with them in Missouri. They told Mom and Dad that they were all going to see a new mall out near Farmington that day. Along the way, they pulled into a McDonalds and Linda got the camera ready.
Marilyn turned around and said, "We can't eat a big breakfast, we are having lunch with Albert Aubuchon."
"What?" My Dad gave her a blank stare. Marilyn had never seen him so speechless.
Linda snapped the picture:
After they recovered from the surprise, they headed back on the road to Sullivan where they had arranged to meet Albert and his wife Eva, at a truck stop.
"Dad got of the car then," recalled Marilyn as she retold the story. "They shook hands and hugged each other. It was a very moving moment to watch. They were both so happy to finally reunite after all these years!"
After a nice lunch, they drove around Sullivan and headed back to Albert and Eva's house where they chatted into the early evening.
"I don't think mom & dad will ever trust me again!!!" chuckled Marilyn.