What A Character!

Over my 50 some odd years on this earth, I’ve met a lot of people. Plain vanilla people are fine, but in my adult life, I’ve always been fascinated by people who are different, people who might be labeled as strange, weird, eccentric, or people that just plain march to a different drummer. We sometimes refer to these type of people as characters. My dictionary lists the following as one of the many definitions of character;

…a person of a specified kind (usually with many eccentricities); “a real character”

Rip and Five Cousins

Six young Polish kids in the early days of Houston, descendants of the Polka, Maduzia, Kloc and Steshaczynak families from Bremond, Texas. These families immigrated from the Debica and Pilzno areas of SE Poland.

Left to right, Clara Mae Stash, Mary Ann Stash, Dorothy Riess, Lucile Riess, Walter ‘Sonny’ Smock, Fred William Stash
Houston, Texas
circa 1927

Maria Jacob letter to Rip Smock

Pancho, Maria and Rip

January 1949 photo of Pancho Polka with my parents Maria Jacob and Rip Smock before they were married. The photo was taken at 1102 Omar Ave in front of the house that Mom grew up in the Heights.

Pancho Polka, Maria Jacob and Rip Smock

Maria’s Letter To Rip

The Post Office used to be a little more lenient on how you could address a letter. My mother sent this letter to my father in 1947 when he was working in El Campo and he got it just fine. Here’s the translation;
Mr. Walter A. Smock “Rip” (Rip was his nickname)
c/o Bell Telephone Company
El Campo, Texas

Maria Jacob letter to Rip Smock

Rips Funeral Book

Rips Funeral Book - October 24, 2004Rip Smock died on October 24, 2004 at the age of 81. His funeral Mass was held at St. Jerome Catholic Church in the Spring Branch area of Houston, Texas on October 28, 2004 and he is buried at Forest Park Lawndale.

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Christmas Midnight Mass On A Naval Base

In 1944, my Dad, Rip Smock, started his Christmas celebration by attending a traditional Midnight Mass at a US Naval Base on a remote island in the South Pacific.

Christmas Midnight Mass Program
World War II US Naval Base
December 1944 — at Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands

Christmas Midnight Mass On A Naval Base

South Pacific Hand Grenades

I saw a post on Facebook about hand grenades and that got me to thinking of my Dad and a story he told me. When Dad got out of the Navy after World War II, he took a few souvenirs home like most everybody else who could get away with it. He had no trouble getting home with a few guns and Japanese knives but the Navy nixed his idea of taking home a half dozen hand grenades.

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