Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

A Faded Picture This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
I open the rusty screen door and go downstairs. The basement has its usual musty smell, and the floors are cold. I see him fidgeting with his old toys and gadgets and organizing his tractors and tools on a shelf. My 90-year-old grandpa is wearing his usual faded blue pants with a short-sleeved button-up shirt, his silver hair slicked back out of his eyes. I sit on the couch and look through his old books and photo albums. He walks over to a ­picture hanging on the opposite wall, motioning me to come over. It's a clipping from a newspaper during World War II. The image is old, and the corners are slightly torn. It shows President Eisenhower visiting Africa, riding in a rather small jeep. My grandpa explains, “My older brother, Doyle, was there when that photo was taken, even though you can't see him.” My grandfather then begins to tell his adventures and his brother's during the war.

My grandfather was assigned to go to Europe and keep Hitler and the Germany army from invading France. Doyle was also in Europe, but they were assigned to different naval bases. My grandpa, Weldon, worked on planes, helping stock them for battle, while Doyle was a sergeant and went out on duty. Passion burned in Grandpa's eyes when he spoke about the pilots and their duties. Serving his country meant a great deal to my grandfather.

Later in the war, he was sent to Paris. He rode with several other men in a Jeep, and during their journey they came to a fork in the road. My grandpa recalled, “They told us it was a straight shot,” so they went right and shortly after the group realized they were headed the wrong way. So, they went back but then hit another obstacle: a flat tire. My grandpa found a Frenchman and convinced him to lend supplies to fix it – a ­challenge since they couldn't understand each other's ­language.

Later that night they reached Paris. My grandpa was relieved that they had finally arrived, but he was in for another surprise. One of the men said, “Your brother was just here,” but unfortunately he had left. My grandpa was ecstatic to know Doyle had been in the area and, most of all, was safe.

Shortly after, he learned that his brother had been killed in the Battle of the Bulge. He went with a group of men to identify his brother's body. As my grandpa spoke, he held back tears. He said there was so much destruction that his brother's body could not be found.

Once my grandpa finished recounting his experiences during the war, obviously the toughest and most memorable years of his life, he told me something astonishing. In 2008 his other brother Lloyd decided to see if he could figure out the exact cause of Doyle's death. He found an article about a 90-year-old man who was speaking of his experiences in the war for the first time. His first account was about Sergeant Doyle Frysinger. They were in battle when they realized they were the only ones left. When this man was injured he was taken home for surgery, so he was separated from Doyle. Years later, this survivor questioned another veteran about Doyle, and was told, “He ­didn't make it out.” My grandpa learned that his brother was determined to attack a German tank nearby, and when he did so, he was killed by another tank that was camouflaged.

As I take in these stories, I see my grandpa wipe away a tear with his handkerchief. It is almost as if this tear is all of those memories slowly emerging from him. If they hadn't gotten that flat tire, or hadn't taken that wrong turn, my grandpa would have seen his brother one last time. That article from a random stranger meant the world to my family because it proved that my great-uncle was a hero. The faded picture my grandpa showed me holds a meaningful story from the past, and it is now my job to pass it on.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

ChelseaB said...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 12:52 pm
Aw, Kelsey! I love it! It's absolutely touching a beautiful. Makes me wish I had a grandfather! <3
 
Site Feedback