Monday, March 06, 2006

Sgt. Robert Bayless

Did you ever get the idea that you knew someone although it was impossible to have ever met?

That's the story about me and Robert.

Last summer I was at an auction and I bought a box of old photos and memorabilia. The old fellow whose auction it was told me that the photos were of his wife's first husband, and when she died his sons didn't seem interested in hanging on to any of the old stuff.

In the box were some photos, copies of V-Mail from India and China where Robert served in the Army Air Corps. There were a few .50 caliber rounds, a survival mirror, a compass, a hand tooled wallet that says "RB" on it and some unit patches.

A dutiful son, he wrote the folks at home regularly. Toward the end of 1944, his letters to home were darker-he seemed to think that the war might never end.

Well, it did, and he survived it. Robert landed in Perry, Iowa where he started and operated a cleaners and raised a family.

He died in March 1964. He'd been on his way to work when he witnessed an elderly woman slip and fall on an icy sidewalk and break her hip. He got out of his car and picked her up to transport her to the hospital, when he suffered a massive heart attack and died.

I like to think that that was the kind of person he was. That, and every picture of him in the collection showed that same smile which says something.

He is buried in Violet Hill Cemetery in Perry, Iowa.


At 8:12 PM, Blogger Life and times of CleanersLade said...

I found this very interesting...the name Bayless rings a bell somewhere in my mind. In 1969, my parents bought a cleaners in Perry, Iowa and operated it till 1992 when I took over...Small world

At 8:53 AM, Blogger Life and times of CleanersLade said...

And the world gets smaller!After talking to my mom this morning, I found, that she went to work for Roberts wife shortly after he died. I remember playing outside of Spic and Span cleaners after school. A few years later, Marge, Roberts wife, sold the cleaners and it was moved downtown on 1st Street to Holiday House of Kleen which my parents bought in 1969.

At 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a small world indeed. I work in Mesa AZ and just found out a co-worker also came from Perry. That sent me searching and talking to my mother. She worked at Spic and Span for Bob Bayless (I remember the cleaners well) until we moved elsewhere in the spring of 1959. When we moved he and Marge purchased the house that my parents built. I still remember Bob, Marge and his sons.

At 4:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can it have been that Bob's sons weren't interested? I know plenty about my Pop's service in the USAAF. He was basically "in" from '40 to '46.
I'll see if I can dig anything up on the Hon. Mr. Bayless. Thanks!

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Robert Luedeman, attorney at law said...

As I understood it-this is kind of third hand from his wife's second husband-the surviving son lives out west and when his mother died he wasn't interested in any of this stuff. There were photo albums and such. I would certainly like to be proven wrong about this but for now I keep his memory.


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