That’s my aunt Anne and my mom in the top picture and my uncle John and my dad in the bottom one. I doubt they planned for the Polacheks to stand on the left and the Lowenburgs to stand on the right in each picture, but that’s just the way it worked out. Also interesting is that when I think of these family gatherings, I always remember my mom talking with my aunt Annie and my Dad drinking beer, smoking, and talking with my uncle John. The spouses rarely conversed, and when they did it was things like, “Did you remember to bring the pickles?”
I prefer the vertical shot to the horizontal one, because it shows more of the house in the background. I like the way the men are framed against it, the vertical corner line between the two upstairs windows running down between the two buddies, their suits contrasted against the strongly defined white aluminum siding with its horizontal slats.
Both guys were World War II veterans and had served in Europe. My dad landed in France shortly after D-Day, got frostbite in the Battle of the Bulge, and afterwards rolled all the way into Germany on the heels of Patton's army. I still have a piece of stained glass from the bombed out Cologne cathedral he sent home to my mom. Dad was on a ship headed for Japan when they dropped the A-bomb, which allowed him to return home to Jersey City. My uncle John was with the infantry in Italy and his unit liberated the town Anne’s parent’s lived in. Can you imagine the reception he got?
Sometimes after they’d had a few beers around the dining room table, my Uncle John would start to talk about army life and my dad would say, “Tell us how you won the war John.” Everyone would laugh and that would be the end of that. My dad never spoke about his war experiences except in the most general terms or about day to day Army life. He was in the medical supply corps and spent a lot of time around battlefields after the fact, so he probably saw some grisly things. Here, on this sunny spring day twenty years after they did win the war, things looked pretty good.