Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Birthday, Pete (Day 10)

Today is my Uncle Pete’s birthday.  Born in 1914, he’d be 97 if he were still alive.

I forget sometimes about Pete the boy.  That before he joined the navy as a young man in 1934, he had a childhood-not a conventional childhood by any means, (He lived through the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918, losing his mother and an infant sibling, and was a product of the Great Depression)  but still, he was a kid, just like any other- in many ways.

So here are a few pictures of Pete’s childhood-from his first year, through his high school graduation.


Baby July 1 1914_thumb[3]

Pete’s given name was Roland Erich.  The origin of the nickname “Pete” remains a mystery.  He was a cute little guy, wasn’t he?


Roly and Carl circa 1918_thumb[1]

Pete with his older brother Carl, 1918.  I’d be curious to know who gave them the child sized World War I uniforms. Carl  lived a long life,  in Seattle, Washington.


grade school at Christ Lutheran_thumb[1]

Grade School, in Nebraska.


graduation Grant Nebraska_thumb[2]

High School graduation, Grant Nebraska.  I do not know the exact year, but it must have been around 1932. 


I can’t help but wonder what aspirations Pete may have had for his future.  His fate, unfortunately was decided for him,  but had he survived the war I wonder what he’d done with his life.  In any case, he would have been an interesting uncle to know.

Happy Birthday Pete!

And Happy 4th of July, to all of you!


  1. Love all the pics! With his hair slicked down he looks more mature than the average h.s. student!

  2. He did, didn't he! He looks so serious too:)

  3. That influenza epidemic was terrible, so many families lost little children in it. What a sad time it must've been for your uncle's family. From what you know about your uncle, what do you think he would have done with his life if he'd had the chance?

  4. All that must have been interesting to live through. I love that his name was Pete. We called my son Stinky Pete for years, and none of knows why. One day it just came out and stuck. He's probably glad we've left it alone now that he's 18 ....

  5. Joanne, it must have been so hard for my grandfather to lose his wife and one of his children as an infant-and then to lose Pete later on. I wonder about what Pete would have done with his life-I think helping others would have figured in his decision some how.

    Le Chef-Cute story! Thanks for you comment!

  6. There were a lot of those uniforms back then, but those women could actually sew. I'm lucky if I don't sew the fabric to my skin!

    What a sweet story, and lovely pictures, too!

  7. That is too funny! Thanks for you lovely comment!!

  8. If you ever write a manuscript I think he should be your muse.

  9. Isn't it amazing how in this day and age if we had gone through what Pete did, we would likely be telling our story on a talk show and yet your beloved Uncle probably just shrugged and moved on.

  10. Tina-I agree. I feel like it's what I can give back to Pete.

    So true Kim! He'd probably blog about it too;) I know I would have! His generation did a lot of shrugging off and moving on-and I really admire that in them, though it couldn't have been easy. And I know my Grandma Helen in later life was resentful of the fact that she lived through what she did-she felt like she deserved a little sympathy.