Thursday, November 11, 2010


Regina & Frederick Sweinberg, Jr.
My mother and my father together after the war.

Taken from something I wrote a few years ago....

My father works in the post office, as a mail handler. He is a World War II vet. He receives a small disability for what is known as shell shock, the PTSD which results when your mission is to detonate and disarm land mines. Sometimes people are maimed or killed when they miss the mark and the bomb explodes them into oblivion. My father was one of the lucky ones, although slowly becoming deaf in one ear as a result of the damage .

Emotionally was another story. He refused to talk about the war. He just said he did not like to talk about the war and left it at that. He refused to talk about the war. After he passed, my brother Boyd discovered the manuscript of the diary he had kept while traveling through Europe, only 26 years old. It was pretty long too. I guess he thought he had said what he felt he needed to in the diary. He wanted to leave it at that. He never said a word to anyone about the diary.

I include excerpts from the personal diary of Captain Frederick Sweinberg, Jr., my father, kept during his tour of duty to his country, serving in WWII, September 14,1944-August 8, 1946. He had been part of the troops that disengaged the land mines. If you didn’t do it right, you were maimed or you died. He was 26 when the war had ended and my father was coming home. He refers to my mother as Jean. Her given name was Regina. This must have been his nickname for her then as I never heard him call her Jean. It was part of my name now, Joyce Jean.    

July 25-August 2, 1946: All aboard was the cry and you can bet your boots we were all more than ready to leap on...About 3pm we shoved off and took our last look at the never to be forgotten shores of Germany. It’s hard to describe the feeling that one felt but it was just a prayer thanking God that we finally were on our way home to our loved ones....

The trip as a whole was not too bad...The chow was terrible because all company grade officers sleep in the troop accommodations and ate in the troop galley. It’s a crime they allowed such food to be served. The first-class passengers ate rather wholesomely but then we were glad to be going home and that overwhelmed any discomfort we encountered...The big day finally came when we arrived in NY harbor at dawn on August 2, 1946...Boy that NY skyline looks swell and the feeling of being on American soil again was hard to take. It is a wonderful feeling.

August 8, 1946: I sure was sweating it out until we finished processing but finally on the 8th we finished at 12 noon...I fortunately made good connections to Philadelphia in time to get the 1:30 Martz bus...Old familiar scenes were like a dream and the changes that took place seem so strange. Then about 5:15 we started to comedown the East End Boulevard and my heart pounded like the devil...I got home and just seeing mom and dad and everyone again was a thrill I’ll never forget. But then I called Jean and told her I’d be over as soon as I cleaned up and believe me I couldn’t wait. About 7pm I left to see her. Gosh, the happiest day since I left home was when I held her in my arms again and kissed the only girl I ever wanted. I wish I could find the words but they say there is no ending like a happy ending and I can that it was the happiest moment of my life-so far. I hope the Lord will never cause us to part again and we can live a bright happy future together. And so ends the story I hope I won’t have to relive again...