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The other day I was going through my closet and ran across the World War One uniform my mother had given me so many years ago. I was feeling somewhat in disbelief at its presence. It brought back many vivid memories of mother's last days. My mother, Victoria, had been ill for sometime, and I believe she knew she was coming to the end of her time on this earth.
I was born and raised in Illinois. I moved to Texas in 1977. When mom's health began to fail her I visited her frequently. It is my recollection that on one of these final visits she gave me the World War One uniform. She gave me a box that contained the uniform, and a few other items. I can still hear the sound of her voice as she stated "I think you should have these things." At the time the items in the box had little meaning, in contrast to the emotion of the moment. I new my wonderful good mother was saying goodbye. So little mattered in this conversation but her words...It just was not important enough for me to quiz her about the content of the box or why she was giving me these things. Nor did it seem that she wanted to go into details on how the uniform had come into her possession. I had not given the uniform much thought until recently. I will never know why Mom saved it through all these many years. The family never spoke of anyone that served in World War One or of anyone that the uniform may have belonged to. So its only speculation on my part as to who the uniform may have belonged to.
Mother's maiden name was Victoria Eva Rouch. She was born and raised in East St. Louis, Illinois, where she met and married my father. My father, Marion Aloyisis Borowitz, migrated from Germany in 1923 to East St. Louis Illinois, along with his older brothers and sisters. My parents met as coworkers at the Armor&Co meat packing company, located in St. Louis. My Dad was a sausage maker by trade. After their marriage they moved to Belleville Illinois. I believe the uniform most likely belonged to one of my mothers relatives or acquaintances, probably from the St. Louis area, due to the fact that mothers family all settled in St. Louis and lived there their whole lives. Father and his family lived in Germany at the time World War One was being fought. I believe this fact rules out my Fathers family. I feel the uniform is in some way connected to my Mother or a member of her family.
The uniform is in good condition, considering its age. With all its buttons and collar pins still in place. After some research, I found that this type of uniform was worn by Army Medical Corps serving with the French Allies. It has four stripes.One red stripe on the upper left sleeve, and three silver stripes on the lower part of the left sleeve which are turned to face down. The three stripes indicate it belonged to a sergeant.
You might be asking yourself , why would I sell this uniform? I find it sad that it has been hidden away in a closet for so many years....first by my mother, then by myself. I have hopes that the uniform will be purchased by someone that collects military antiques, and that they will display it and take great pride and pleasure in owning it. I believe this is a great piece of America's history, and should be displayed and enjoyed by many. Not kept in the back of a closet.
I don't know if the mystery of who owned the uniform can ever be solved? But I do know when I look at the uniform, I can't help but wonder what have you seen, where have you traveled, and most of all I wonder, what has become of the man that wore you serving his country on far away shores, in World War One.
or send comments to the author, Ted Borowitz.