Random Recollections
by FQC Gardner

Copyright, all rights reserved

With my 72nd birthday rapidly approaching, I suppose it is but natural that I should, by now, have developed some sort of a mental, as well as an optical presbyopia. For I find that I am inclined more than ever before to recall to mind recollections of what, to you, would doubtless seem to be the very distant past.

In turning over some of the early pages in my book of memories I have been brought to realize, perhaps for the first time, how very little I really know about my own grandparents, and, in fact, perhaps how very little most people really know about their grandparents -- what kind of people they really were, what they thought about, what they sought to accomplish, and, in general, how and where they spent their lives.

In my own case, the fact that I know practically nothing about the lives of my grandparents is attributable to several factors. Thus my paternal grandparents both died before I was born, my parents moved from Mississippi (where both my father's and my mother's families lived) to Arkansas when I was too young to remember any of their relatives, and during the life of my own parents I was never sufficiently interested in the matter to appreciate how much they could have told me about their forefathers (and foremothers).

It is quite possible, if not probable, that you also will not be particularly interested in such matters until you are much older than you are now, and that by that time it will be too late to ask your grandparents about these (or any other) things. Indeed it may well be that by that time you will have but a very indistinct recollection, if any, of these grandparents.

It is in the hope that when you too reach the age when you will become interested in such matters you may possibly find it somewhat interesting to read these pages, that I am taking advantage of the fact that, for the first time in my life, I have some spare time on my hands, to set down, in a very sketchy and informal manner, some of the things that you might possibly have wished to ask about had you thought about it in time.

It is not my purpose to attempt to discuss any matters of National policy, either military or International, nor do I seek to attach undue importance, in recounting them, to any of the incidents of my life, which has been a singularly uneventful -- though a thoroughly happy -- one.

I realize, furthermore, that I have doubtless reached that time in life which Disraeli once referred to as the anecdotage. I notice that it now takes very slight encouragement for me to launch forth into some reminiscence or other which is doubtless much less interesting to the hearer than it is to me. Moreover I am inclined to believe that it is one of the inalienable rights (or rites) of a grandfather to reminisce to his grandchildren, and that the grandchildren are sometimes interested enough (or polite enough) to ask their grandfathers to do so.

Realizing that my age and the exigencies of your life in the Army may, in combination, operate to minimize, or to prevent entirely any favorable opportunities for such a situation to arise, I plan to recount also in these pages some of the stories or incidents that I probably would, if the opportunity had presented itself, have included in my reminiscences to you. Those items will be included, not because they have anything to do with any of us, but in the hope that they may perhaps be of some interest to you.

I plan to make a copy of these pages for each of you -- to be kept here in Summerville until you are older, and some day to be given to you if you so desire.

table of contents