IN THE LEAST LIKELY OF PLACES
by Leonard Guzinski
In the summer of 2017, my wife called and said that an estate sale was going on a few blocks from our house. I decided to drive by and look around. As a collector of antiques and military items, I was expecting the “You should have been here 5 minutes ago” response.
Most everything was gone or spoke for, so I turned my attention to a pantry type shelf unit. My wife likes old country kitchen items and jars. With this in mind, I saw what looked like an old wax paper box. When I opened to examinethe contents, I found many documents rolled and stored inside.
One of the sales party was nearby, so I asked if the old papers were for sale. While he said that they were, no one seemed to know or remember anything about them.
When I got a chance to look at the papers and documents, I realized that they were all related to a soldier in the 5th Nebraska Infantry, USNG, who joined in 1914 and served on the Mexican border. The papers documented his promotions to corporal and sergeant, and later, while in France, to second and first lieutenant where he served with the Quartermaster and Motor Transport Corps. In 1920, he joined the Regular Army, serving in the 2nd Cavalry as a corporal and sergeant before being discharged in 1921. These papers — 25 pieces, in all — showed that this man had “been there, done that.”
One of my hobbies is photo and document preservation. These items are now preserved. A lot of times, paperwork of our military ancestors is overlooked since most collectors want uniforms, patches, medals, etc. I feel that paper items, like this collection, are also important elements of history. My hope is this collection will survive for a long time.