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.