I sent my mother the link to my grandfather's enlistment record online. I explained to her that Dad was unsure about the truth of both the age and marital status discrepancies. I thought she would find it interesting, as I did. I received the following email in response:
I know for a fact that Me-Mom and Pop-Pop didn't get married till he got back from the service, (Uncle Jimmy was almost 2) which is why there are no wedding photos. It was a shameful thing back then, and I discovered it the summer we visited Uncle Eddy and Aunt Betty in California (Aunt Betty told me -- ) Me-Mom never spoke of it to me, and I'm not sure if Aunt Grace even knows...your Dad didn't till I told him...years later...
So...tough news to be getting, eh?
I think that's when Uncle Jimmy and your grandfather had their falling out when he 'had' to get married, and Mom-Mom told him the family secret...but it's still pretty closeted...
I don't know who knows and who doesn't know...yikes!
Love you, we'll talk soon...face to face, no less!!!
This news isn't tough to get. What's tough to get is why I haven't heard this before. My grandparents are dead, and we live in a time and place in which this is not shameful as much as it is a frequent occurrence (especially in my family). I don't understand why this has been kept from me.
I had confronted my father with this and his answer was ambiguous. I'm an open-minded adult who can keep mum.
I think I'll dig around Aunt Theresa's basement soon.
And I really wish they had taken pictures.