World War I Army Locket

In Attire

My Dad kept this button locket from my grandmother Juliet’s belongings when she passed away in the summer before I was born. The button, brass with an eagle crest and ‘E Pluribus Unum’ stamped on the front, opens up to reveal two small photographs. Juliet looks out from one side of the locket, and her suitor Dave (not my grandfather) appears on the other. Born in New York to a mother from Posen---a then German-speaking region of what is now Poland---Juliet's mother moved her daughters back to Posen when Juliet was three (after a marriage fell apart), then back again to New York when she was a pre-teen. Juliet got married late, when she was 33, and dated Dave before that. Dave was stationed in France during WWI, and presumably, he attached this button locket to his uniform. She was a teenager at the war’s start, and I wonder how she felt, or didn’t feel, sending her boyfriend off to fight against people who spoke her language. Juliet spoke fluent German and English, and later ended up translating for German Jewish refugees during WWII. In the stories my Dad tells of his mom, I learn vivid fragments of her life: a job working at the department store Gimbels, where my Grandfather sent her love letters; an annual Santa visit to their Jewish household so my dad and his sister wouldn't feel left out. Of the many objects I now have of hers, this button opens up the most questions. 

Year: 1917

– Kathryn Lloyd

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more