I love this photo of my father at around 18 or 19 years of age. He convinced my grandfather to sign the papers to allow my dad to enter the Navy at 17 years of age and judging by how much more mature his face appears here (and his various uniform patches and ribbons) I am guessing this is after at least a year or two of service (mostly in the Pacific.) I am not sure where he is here -- but I am thinking France again, after the liberation of Paris in 1944, as other photos (below) from the same time show him posing with cousins. I love the pipe! Not sure what he was going for -- maybe a Bing Crosby look. I only ever saw him smoke Gauloise (a smell one can't ever forget!). [Ok...not so sure about the date of the photo above -- seems like it's summer? and in the other photos they are all wearing warm coats...so not sure where it was taken...]
I have learned a lot more about my father's flight from France during the German occupation of Paris (thanks to cousin Earl!). I have a photocopy of the manifest of the ship, the SS Excambion, that sailed from Lisbon, Portugal, January 10, 1941, along with 180 or so other passengers, many of them Jews (especially children traveling alone) hoping to arrive safely in the United States (which they did January 20th -- ten days at sea, on a ship stripped of everything except bedrolls and blankets to accommodate as many people as possible). Even though I knew they had fled Paris, it never seemed real to me until I saw their names listed as passengers and then again in the registers at Ellis Island. I confess, I broke into tears suddenly realizing what a frightening journey that must have been for the three of them.
And as it turned out, there is quite a bit of history associated with that particular ship and its crossing. In an article from The New York Times, dated 22 January 1941, there is an interview with Ève Curie (Labouisse), the second daughter of Pierre and Marie Curie, the physicists who discovered Radium and winners of the Nobel Prize. Ève Curie wrote the biography of her mother, Madame Curie that won several awards and eventually became a 'hit' movie. As it turns out, Ève Curie was being interviewed on the SS Excambion shortly after her arrival to New York, after having just completed the voyage on the same ship as my father and his sister and his mother.