Random Acts of Living

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

This is My Aunt & Uncle!

65 years later, widow receives war medals

By Michael Doyle
McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — Roy John Spencer died when his bazooka blew up. He left behind a teenage bride and some unfinished business.

Sixty-five years after Spencer's death, Anna Heinrichs of Coarsegold, Calif., reclaimed a wartime debt Tuesday. With some congressional help, the retired educator secured the medals for which her first husband paid dearly.

"I just can't fathom it," Heinrichs, 83, said Tuesday. "It's almost like it isn't real, after so many years."

Accompanied by family members — including her second husband, World War II Marine veteran Wes Heinrichs, 86 — Anna received her due Tuesday morning on the Speaker's Balcony of the U.S. Capitol. A combat-proven Army officer presented her with a Silver Star, a Purple Heart and other medals that Spencer earned long ago.

"I've got chills going down my spine right now," said the soldier, Army Col. Timothy McGuire. "We are so proud, our generation, of the sacrifices you all have made."

A staffer for Rep. George Radanovich, R-Calif., helped Anna Heinrichs track down the missing medals. This is standard-practice constituent service, though made more pressing as World War II veterans fade away.

Spencer, when he died, was a private in the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the original 82nd Airborne.

On Jan. 12, 1945, the Colorado native was advancing with his company through the woods outside Flamizoulle, Belgium. Shrapnel ripped his bazooka, rendering its use potentially suicidal. Nonetheless, his fellow soldiers reported, when German tanks appeared, Spencer fired.

The bazooka exploded, killing Spencer, 26, and his teammate.

His wife was kept in the dark. Married at 16, she was working in a Colorado munitions factory while her husband was overseas. She wrote him. After a time, he didn't write back.

She finally learned of her husband's death several weeks later from her sister, who'd been notified. Roughly a year later, she met Wesley Heinrichs for the second time.

Their first meeting was when she was about 12. She was at a rodeo. She made such an impression that Heinrichs said he kept thinking about her through the battles of Saipan and Tinian.

"I didn't remember him," Anna Heinrichs said, "but he remembered me."


Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Cause of My Blog Neglect

I think this has been the longest stretch I've gone without posting with no really good excuse. It's not like I've not been home. My mornings are pretty occupied. First thing I do of a morning is go out to the garden. The garden LOOKS good, for the most part. BUT it has not been a good harvest this year. The squash started to do well till the squash bugs took over. And all the other plants are green and pretty, they're just not producing.
This was my harvest today and is really more than what I've had many days. The arugula has been my best crop so far this year. Last year about this time I was blogging about a Bountiful Harvest.
When I finish in the garden I get on my bike. One of my grandson's rode with me one day earlier in the summer. He asked if I was going to take "that", meaning my cart. I inherited this cart from my son and didn't get the attachment to connect it to my bike, so it is bungee cord strapped and not easily removed. So, YES, it goes with me. I carry all sorts of things in my cart. My bike is old and is a challenge to ride. I have two of 10 gears, 1st and 6th. I don't use 1st. The brakes work, but really squeak, so I try not to use them.
Here is my route. The X in the lower right hand corner is my house. My daughter assures me that this route is two miles. They checked it with the car when she started walking for exercise several years ago. The route is a challenge because the roads are paved, dirt & chert. There are also slight inclines along the route. Currently I ride 3 laps.
When I get home I scratch on the back window to let dh know I'm home then I go out to the pool, turn the stereo to NPR and get changed into my swimsuit to cool off, stretch and relax in the pool. Here lately the water has been REALLY cold getting in, but once I get used to it, it's really nice. I'm going to miss the pool when the weather gets cold.
And then there's yard work. Mowing and trimming and just general keeping things looking nice. The grass has stayed green all summer and I haven't watered it once, which is odd for as hot as it was.
This shot is from the backyard shooting just opposite from the front diagonal. Lots of work I still need to do, especially in the back. The sandplum thicket needs to be cut back so I can cut the trees out of it. And I need to clean things out from behind the shower house. I still want to build a leanto on the back of it.
My flowers were sure pretty. The loofah haven't produced anything yet, though they have had plenty of blooms.
My giant sunflower have gotten very heavy heads. I need to get them before the birds and other animals do. The birdhouse squash was suppose to have grown up over the top, but the heat stunted it's growth. I do have one squash though. You can see it hanging at the bottom of the sunflower toward the center of the picture.
My container plants on the porch didn't get all bushy like they did last year and the morning glory are thinner than I've ever seen them. I need to sand and paint my stair handrails yet this summer.
But I'd say the biggest cause for my neglect of my blog is this...

...way too much time on Facebook!!!

Hope everyone has had a wonderful summer. Kids are back in school here, I wave at them when I see them on the playground as I ride my bike. Into another season we go.