Papa’s World – honoring those who have served past and present – Memorial day.

My stepfather John Soules

My own father passed away when I was nineteen years old – ten years later – my mother remarried

and John Soules Jr. became my stepdad.

I knew he was in the war – but he never talked about where or what he had done.

I knew he had been wounded – but I did not know how serious.

I knew he captured a German SS officer out of uniform in a castle.

But I never knew about all the meadals.

After my mother passed away – I came across this write-up of him in her box of memories.

I was once told by a friend if the family named SKEET –

“You know your stepdad is a real-life war hero”!

After reading this I understood what he was talking about.

Thank you John “Jr” – for what you did – RIP. A true WWII hero.

Sherry’s mother and father – Barb and Bill.

He became like an older brother -father to me after we were married.

He made me promise to never tell anyone what he told me about the war.

So – I have not said much of anything except what he said I could.

One story was about him and several men in fox holes in the darkest hours of the night.

It was very cold and snow on the ground.

They could see movement across the span of white snow.

They were scared and thought the Germans were going to creep upon them.

They spent all night watching and waiting – barely breathing and so cold.

Any moment they expected an attack and were so scared.

In the dawn, they could now see what they thought were German soldiers

was leaflets that had been dropped from planes on the ground.

Some had been caught on bushes and were fluttering in the breeze.

This was a story he said I could tell and later it was funny to him and the other men.

But for that period in the night – it was hell waiting.

William “Bill” Overbeck

In the end, he was in Berlin and was a driver for a general.

He told of going to a movie theater and watching newsreels.

I wish I could say more but he made me promise so I will honor that

as I honor another WWII hero.

Thank you Bill for your service and RIP.

You have my word.

Our decorations to honor all who have served this country
Thank you for reading Papa’s World –

Honoring those that have served – past and present – on Memorial day.

Papa’s World – In Winchester Va. A tribute to Vets – flags – for all who gave – remembering.

For all in the history of our country – remembering those who gave all and those who gave for our freedom.

In Winchester Va. a open yard – full of flags for vets.

We came across this as we were driving around the town – this was for Memorial Day!

For all our vets who gave – for all our vets who have gone before us and to those yet to come – THANK YOU!

UNITED WE STAND – for God and Country – Freedom and Courage – Family and Friends – Loved ones – USA!

It was beautiful – standing there – pride and tears – THANK YOU Sherry for the pictures!

Freedoms – blessings – church – books – words – lives – inclusive – caring – family – friends – immigrants –

ALL – everyone – big – small – what the moral fabric of what we are made of.


Winchester Va. Memorial day salute to VETS!

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Papa’s World – Growing up – Eldred Pa. part four

The men of Eldred

I remember each and everyone of these men –

This was the volunteers for the fire department –

In every facet of my life growing up –

I most likely came in contact with them all at one time or other.

GROWING UP ELDRED PA. part four of Papa’s World.

Fire department
just down the street from my house

This was a busy building – where the men came together –

all volunteers and the ladies auxiliary also met.

And just across the street next to the Post Office was “SLAVINS ” !

Local hangout bar and meeting place for most of these people !

Run by Russ and Tootie Slavin – a local family –

who in each Slavin branch – all very good athletes

and known through NWPA !

I can remember every year – the firemen would come along the curb

in front of our house on North Main Street –

and with chalk would write and mark where each unit was to line up

and this would go all the way back to the Kendall bridge !

The MEMORIAL DAY PARADE marked the end of the school year

and the beginning of Summer !

The Kendall Bridge

I was always told that this bridge was one of only two –

The other I think was in Japan.

It was a two lane bridge – with a road coming off in the middle –

Spanning a railroad track – another road –

and a river running under it !

I do not know if that was true or not –

with a gas station ( Kendall) across from the entrance.

but it is still there today !

The parade back then and today – is always led by the veterans of the town

It seems like that number down through the years never dwindles.

For such a small town – ( 800 to 1000) people

It has provided the military of scores of men

in all the conflicts fighting for their country.

Terry – Ron – Freddie -Paul and Skeet
my brothers close friends

Two are now gone – three remain – four played baseball with my brother

Freddie was in the little league World Series.

Four played for my father

Ron and my father
Clarence Russel Fitzsimmons
known as Bob or Fitz

I was too young – I never went –

But there were families of friends who went every year

To far North in Canada fishing !

We had a old red barn down back –

three stories tall and a stable underneath –

I can still see in my mind

The red front and the big sliding gray door –

and to the left

DOZENS of fish heads nailed up on the wall

Muskie – Pike

Fish that they caught and brought home.

Roger went but I was born ten years younger

I never went but looked at hundreds of pictures !

Thank you for reading Papa’s World part four.

Growing up Eldred Pa.

Part five is next !

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Papa’s World – 1999 – we first saw it – 2019 – the last one “ROLLING THUNDER”


Memorial Day weekend – 1999 –

e had just agreed to a transfer to work in NVA –

the Three of us – Sherry – myself and our youngest daughter Tammy –

Had just come up on the street in D.C. at Foggy Bottom –

George Washington University –

we were going to tour Washington – when we heard the ROAR !

MOTOR CYCLES – a lot of motor cycles – what was going on ?

Thousands of Motorcycles

There were bikes everywhere – parked – every place you could fit one –

and flags – black leather – tattoo’s – noise – vendors –

As we walked down hill and closer to Constitution Avenue – the crowds were huge !

Our grand daughters – Ella and Maddy

2019 – Memorial Day weekend – 20 years to the day later –

we retraced those steps –

this time with our two oldest grand daughters – Ella & Maddy Myers.

Just across the 14 th. street bridge the Pentagon parking lot.

They had come to stay with us for a couple days –

these two laugh and giggle all the time –

but across the bridge – from the Pentagon – came the noise

The ROAR – thousands and thousands of bikes – riders – flags on the rear –

And lining the street – sometimes 10 deep –

the whole of Constitution Avenue – Tens of thousands of people !

We met up with family

We met up with part of our family who had come from afar – Pa. & N.C.-Va.

To see what is to be the LAST RIDE of


It has gotten too costly – and I guess some ill will from the Pentagon –

Too bad as they are riding for our VETS – POW’S and MIA’S !

Ella- Sherry – Maddy and me

What we first saw 20 years ago – we were able to share with these two.

A beautiful day to walk around –

see DC as you never see it with Bikes everywhere !

And to share this with family !

Nathan – Mr. “B” – Lindsey from Pa.

Kristy & Casey from N.C.
Mia & Olivia from NC

We spent the day watching the ” ROAR” which went from Noon –

and was still going at 4:00 PM.

Cousins – with the Balsis and Jones family

Kyle and Bethany from Manassas Va. – their five children and a guest .

Casey and Tom- PICK A PAIR ! LOL
They parked everywhere they could find a space
Ella – Maddy and Sherry
Our oldest grand daughter Maddy – a American Elm tree planted in 1850
The Capital from the Mall

My happy place when we visit and walk DC – THE MALL !

It says it all

20 years we have been doing this –

bringing family – friends and sometimes just ourselves –

riding in on the Metro or driving in –

Wishing everyone a great Memorial day –



The “ROARING THUNDER ” was established for the VETS of the Vietnam War.

Today – it is a symbol for ALL VETS –

let us not forget those Vets –

And each day forward –

let us remember the NAM vets in a war no one wanted –

but they served –

They were not welcomed home –

politics has a way of doing that –

” ROLLING THUNDER ” was for them –

and my memories go back to that day in 1999 –

I am forever grateful for them –

for by the grace of God – it could of been me.

Sherry & Tom

I hope you enjoyed our little trip down memory lane –

many times we have stood right here.

Thank you –

#livinglifetotheplus #homeagain