A few posts back I told you about a fabulous military footlocker I picked up at the local Goodwill. As soon as I saw it, I knew I just had to have it. As with all the old stuff I find, I became curious about its past and the people in whose lives it took part.
My father served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict, my brother in the Army Reserves for over 30 years, and my husband in the Marine Reserves. Though each in different branches of the armed service, each has stories about his experiences, the men and women who served beside him, and the gained broader view of our world. At some point in each of their memories I'm certain each can readily recall an image of his footlocker and the contents therein.
The rescued footlocker now sits under the window in my husband's home office. I'm certain it feels right at home among the photos of his own military experience and memorabilia of his civilian service in our nation's capital.
The footlocker houses a box full of my husband's photos, a parade saber, and a few mementos.
In the upcoming month, it will be featured in a Memorial Day display in the library. Memorial Day is a federal holiday here in the United States honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Military. With the holiday just a month away, I set out to find some additional military items to be used in my display.
Occasionally I'll come across military fatigues or boots at my typical charity shops stops, but I knew there was a better option for this particular search -
The Military Surplus store.
My husband and I headed over to Banana Bay, one of Austin's military surplus stores, early Saturday morning. It did not disappoint.
I searched through bins of assorted patches, both vintage and contemporary, and found several that caught my eye.
For just under a couple dollars I was able to buy a nice selection for my display.
I purchased the above patch simply because it looked old and unlike any of the others. I haven't yet determined to when it dates, but I did discover it is not American. It is a UK Royal Air Force Queen's Crown and Wings badge with the RAF's motto, "Per Ardua ad Astra" - "Through Adversity to the Stars."
Next I headed to the helmets. I really wanted to find an old one from WWII for my display.
These were all in pretty good shape, but a bit too rich for my pocketbook. I found
a helmet that was greatly discounted as it was beaten up pretty badly, but I felt it would work just fine for my display purpose.
The exterior of the helmet is pretty beat up, but I liked the leather strapping and pads inside.
Next, I looked through this large bin of assorted canvas and nylon bags.
I selected a small two-sectioned canvas bag and an unusual leather-like vinyl messenger-type bag.
Until I'm ready to put up my display, I'll use the small canvas pouch on my flea market cart. It will work well as a handy holder for flea market essentials. There's just enough room for lip balm, change, a snack bar, and even a small bottle of water. I love the bicentennial 1976 date stamped on the side of the pouch.
No special hardware was needed to attach the handy little bag; it's existing belt clip worked perfectly on my cart.
I discovered after several minutes of internet searching that the vinyl messenger-type bag is actually an East German map case. I had a strong feeling that it would be just the right size and shape for my iPad.
Indeed, the iPad fits well as does my notebook computer complete with power cord. I slipped a map of Germany from an old 1967 atlas in the front section as a reminder of the bag's original purpose.
The map case was missing its long strap, but I was able to find a suitable strap with a quick trip to the near-by charity shop. Now this East German map case finds new purpose as a laptop/tablet case.
If you're a junker who's looking for a new place to shop, or for new items to reuse and repurpose, be sure to locate your nearest military surplus store.
Peace be with you and may there be peace in our world.
All photographs taken by Paulette Rodriguez.