Monday, March 5, 2007

From South Grafton to France

For me, it's moving to observe the statuesque facial features and intense melancholy regard of this young man with an unusual Old World name, to know that he grew up in South Grafton at the same time as my grandparents, and to read today a letter about his experiences in France, sent to his parents in 1918. Unlike so many other Great War "Diggers", Verdi Schwinghammer managed to return home, almost intact. Another website has a touching description penned by a descendant:

He was a man who lived alone but was never truly alone. Living frugally and simply, Verdi’s life encompassed friendships with bishops and other churchmen, writers, actors, singers, musicians and returned servicemen and their families from both wars. He seems to have successfully reconciled the life of an impecunious bohemian bachelor with a deep spiritual commitment to his fellow men.

The Internet is a fabulous tool for picking up these small, almost private but precious fragments of our past.

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