Monday, November 27, 2017

Searching for a piece of history

About a decade ago, dad mentioned that — of the things he left behind in a storage locker when he left his childhood home — he wished he'd kept the war medal my grandfather got for his service in "The Great War". My grandfather was wounded by shrapnel during World War I, a fact which my recently-deceased aunt claimed left him struggling with discomfort, pain, and foul moods until his passing when my dad was a young child.

So it was that about a decade ago, I presented my father with a "scrubbed" British War Medal for WWI that I purchased off eBay. I know it's statistically unlikely that it's the same medal and, allegedly, many people melted them down to sell as scrap silver until people began to give historical and sentimental value to them. I wouldn't be surprised if my grandfather's medal suffered that fate, 'though I'm hopeful that it was sold or given to one of the many Laushway families that would have still lived in the vicinity of the storage locker.

Still, that didn't stop me from setting up a default search notification on eBay for new "British War Medal"s all those years ago, when I first learned of the existence of a medal for my grandfather. Sadly, I have never encountered a medal with my grandfather's name on it.

This leaves me in my current dilemma — checking the listings daily for this medal, knowing it's likely that finding it will mean nothing to dad, soon. Do I give up the search and admit that finding it, at this point in time, might do little to give dad a memento from his past, or do I continue looking for it, despite that fact?

Of course, this all plays into the issue that the man who looks like my dad is rapidly ceasing to be my dad — a subject which I've been wanting to write about for a while now, but which I've yet to explore fully. In the meantime, here's a melancholy post about treasured items from the past, and their increasing lack of significance to people who are quickly losing their sense of self.



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