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Remembering World War II vets and looking forward to spring

Sad news this week as local veterans learned of the passing of one of the few remaining World War II veterans. 

Walt Grajek lived in Bartlett yet spent much time in St. Charles joining his comrades at both service organizations, the American Legion Post 342 and VFW Post 5026. He was not one to dwell on his war experiences yet most knew he had landed with his 29th Infantry Division at Omaha Beach on D Day.

 Reaching out to other vets we learned that he advanced across France to Germany and served in the Army of Occupation. He spoke fluent German.  Walt told his buddies that a high point was the chance to dance with Marlene Dietrich!

 When his civilian life resumed he worked at the Argonne National Laboratory as an engineering specialist.  When Marian, his second wife, passed away he made it a practice to walk to the Bartlett cemetery each day, rain or shine, to visit her grave.

Speaking of The Greatest Generation, the much-respected John Wredling turned 99 this week!
 There are more episodes of “Off-Shore” ready to go.  Got a new printer which, my Geek says, launched a whole bunch of “Trojans.”

Apologies to those folks who got the “Marooned in Spain, send money” emails.  Actually there was a trip to Barcelona on a teacher’s budget 40 years ago but we got by on cheap Sangria and bus rides. Oh, lost my passport in London too. A great trip nevertheless, and no help needed.

 Good news shout out to the pediatric unit nurses at Delnor. Granddaughter Olivia, 3, just spent a week with them. Olivia, who holds a pink belt in Boisterous Resistance, would want me to tell them that she is feeling much better and gives you good marks when she chats with her twin sister, Leia.

There’s no talk of a career in nursing like Granny. They are more likely to do the wild animal aping like Grand-Poppy.

 There are signs of spring everywhere! Curley Burr swears he saw a robin. Nancy McFarland reports a sign counting the days until the Blue Goose outdoor grill lights up. Mister  Z is chasing lots of skunks who are emerging from their torpor (they hole-up but don’t truly hibernate).

A piece of advice: If he stops to chat with you, stand upwind of his truck.

• Joan Arteberry is a long-time resident of St. Charles. Her columns are featured in the Kane County Chronicle’s Neighbors section every other Friday. Write to her at

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