Never Leave a Good Friend Behind

The man from the suitcase was buried three times.  First in 1995 at Woodlawn Cemetery, surrounded by his loving wife, Juanita, his extended family, and his remaining friends and colleagues.  It’s a beautiful spot; I’ve shed my own tears there.

I don’t know who presided over his next burial, who selected the much smaller coffin he occupied for a  year after Juanita was put to rest by his side, but I presided over his first exhumation. Continue reading

Here’s to the Happy Old Maids – Amende Honorable

Amende Honorable is a poem typed on thin vellum.  It’s been folded into uneven quarters for so long that the creases refuse to lay quiet and tug at the page, like unfolded origami trying to snap back into shape. Continue reading

Queensberry All-Services Club Programme – From the Archive Library

In the summer of 1944, Glenn Miller and his Army Air Force band travelled to England to play over 800 performances for service men involved in the war effort.  After the U.K. tour, they were scheduled to head to France to begin a six week tour of American air force bases and field hospitals.

That tour never happened. On December 15th, three days after his last performance, Glenn Miller’s aircraft disappeared in bad weather over the English Channel.  He was not missed until his band landed in Orly on December 18th.

Glenn Miller’s last performance before his dissapearance was at the Queensbury All-Services Club in London on December 12th, 1944, and the man from the suitcase was there.

Learn more about the Queensbury All-Services Club and the mystery that surrounds Glenn Miller’s disappearance in the archive library.

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From Girl Friday to Woman of the Year – Meet Juanita Jones

You know, I think everyone has a place in this world which they make for themselves.

-Juanita Jones, 1969

Last week, we set aside John Paul Jones and turned our attention to the Lady from the Suitcase: Mrs. Juanita Jones.   The beginning of the post focused on Juanita’s childhood and her conservative education at the Southern Junior College.  We were introduced to a young woman who, in her youth, met the camera with a bashful blush.  Later in age, we were served up a cool reserve.  Continue reading

The Puzzle of Juanita Jones – The Lady from the Suitcase

You get a new jigsaw puzzle for Christmas.  Excited to start, you extract the box from the hermetically sealed plastic wrap, jostle off the lid and dump the pieces out on the dining room table.  First, you locate the corners and start to build the edges.  Little by little, the picture begins to form and you pretty much know how the rest is going to turn out…you just have to keep plugging away.  Then you realize you have more holes than remaining pieces.

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Flowers for his Grave – Catching up with John Paul Jones

Over the past couple of months, I have been immersed in Armchair Genealogy, researching John Paul Jones from the comfort of my home via the convenience of the internet.  Like my newly found Genealogy pals say, online research only gets you so far before you hit the fabled ‘brick wall’.

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This Old House – An Open Door to the Past

I have an advantage over some of my new-found genealogy friends, I live in the same area as the family I am researching. I can stroll down their sidewalks, visit their houses and lay flowers on their graves. This past weekend, I did all three.

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On the Right Track – One Baby’s 950 Mile Journey Home

How would a family travel 950 miles across the country in 1912?

I recently discovered that my Man from the Suitcase, John Paul Jones, was born in Cedar Springs, Michigan in 1912.  That’s not the interesting part, although I’m fairly sure it was interesting to him.

The bit that’s interesting is that Cedar Springs is 950+ miles away from where his family lived in Lowell, Massachusetts.

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Keeping Up with the Joneses – The Early Years

I’m a collector of things.  I like to have the full set.

I’ve got stacks of postcards I bought at thrift stores. I have over 3,000 postage stamps and a rapidly expanding vinyl collection that will soon require more shelving.  I have an urge to fill my kitchen with canisters…I like collecting.   Continue reading

Day by Day – From the Archive Library

So many of the artifacts in the suitcase are so random, I am going to have to do some deep digging to shed some light on them.  I’ve posted some of these in the Artifact Library, but as I get more inform on them, I’ll be sharing my updates here.

Day by Day – Handwritten Lyrics on Paper

Day by Day

What prompts someone to copy down song lyrics? During my research, I remembered my own reasons.

Before I delve into that story, some background on the lyrics in question:

“Day by Day” was written in 1945 by Paul Weston and Axel Stordahl with lyrics by Sammy Cahn. It was first recorded by Frank Sinatra with Axel Stordahl & His Orchestra (August 22, 1945).

I’m a nut for this genre of music, so I was momentarily caught up in the backstory of Sammy Cahn. While you may not recognize his name, you probably know all the words to the majority of his songs…they are almost part of the human genome at this point.

Read more about this artifact in the Artifact Library