My grandfather taught me to be honest. As a young child I remember being a passenger in his car and on our way home to my house. On the way he stopped at a local store to buy something. We were in the car ready to go and he noticed the change the clerk gave him was too much. Grandpa said he needed to go back into the store for a minute to return the extra change, so he walked back in, returned the extra change, and then took me home. I don't remember how old I was, but the memory of hearing him tell me that the clerk gave him too much change and then watching him return to the store to give the extra change back is as vivid today as it was over 50 years ago. A small moment in time for me, but a very valuable lesson was taught that day. I will always be grateful for his good example of honesty.
Aldred Erskine was born at Superior, Douglas, Wisconsin on 30 January 1896 (1). He completed grammar school on 30 June 1914 (2) and four years later filled out the WW I Draft Registration form (3). He served in WW I as a cook and was assigned to Camp Kerny, California (4). At the end of the war and while waiting for his discharge papers, he wrote a letter home to his Aunt. The letter (5) was dated 28 February 1919:
Received your kind and ever welcome letter and was glad to hear from you. Am in the best of health and hope these few lines finds you the same. I haven't heard anything about my discharge yet, I expect to be out within a month anyway. I sure do wish I were home, this kind of life sure gets tiresome. I got a letter from home the other day, they are all well, only wishing I were home with them. It sure did make me feel blue when my brother left and nearly all of my friends from around home have gone also, well I guess my turn is coming some time. I signed the pay roll yesterday, expect to be paid Monday. When we are discharged we get $60 paid too us by the Government, that will help out a little bit. The time seems to pass so slow here waiting for my discharge to come, but sure will injoy [sic] it when I do get it. The Knight of Columbus are moving over close to us, they are moving in one of the mess halls just a few steps from my tent. It is nearly time for the mail to go so will close as ever yours.
Your Loving Nephew, Aldred
P.S. Give Jossie and all the rest my best regards. Love to all.
Two months later, on 24 April 1919, Aldred was honorably discharged (6). After his discharge, he returned to Provo, Utah and met a young lady named Frances Berniece Hartley. They were married 28 December 1920 at Provo, Utah (7) and then moved to California.
Aldred and Frances raised their family in Burbank, California. Aldred was a police officer for the City of Burbank (8). In 1935 he completed his Scout Master training and was awarded a certificate for the training (9). Unfortunately we do not know if he ever served as a Scout Master in the local community. He completed his WW II Draft Registration in 1942 (10), so we find him in both the World War I and II draft registration records. He loved the pies his wife made and often brought home his fellow-workers from the Police Department to enjoy a piece of pie. On 1 November 1951, Aldred officially retired from public service as a police officer for the City of Burbank, California (11). His monthly retirement benefit was $183.10, which continued until his death in 1964 (12).
My grandfather, Aldred Erskine, had a full life. I will forever be grateful for the lessons he taught me through the way he lived his life each day. Honesty will always be my special memory about grandpa.
1) "Wisconsin, Births and Christenings, 1826-1926," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XRNB-HDD : accessed 12 Jan 2014), Erskine, 30 Jan 1894.
2) Mendocino County, California Board of Education, Pepperwood District Grammar School Diploma of Graduation for Aldred Erskine, 30 June 1914, privately held by Dorothy Johansen [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Riverton, Utah, 2014.
3) "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-26276-49431-91?cc=1968530&wc=M9W1-SYF:n1828462159 : accessed 12 Jan 2014), Utah > Utah County; A-R; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d).
4) United States War Department, Certificate in Lieu of Lost or Destroyed Discharge Certificate for Aldred Erskine, discharged 24 April 1919, privately held by Dorothy Johansen [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Riverton, Utah, 2014.
5) Aldred Erskine letter to his Aunt, 28 February 1919, Letter to "Dear Aunt", privately held by Dorothy Johansen [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Riverton, Utah, 2014.
6) United States War Department, Discharge Certificate for Aldred Erskine.
7) "Utah, County Marriages, 1887-1937," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VRLY-17K : accessed 12 Jan 2014), Aldred Erskine and Frances Berniece Hartley, 1920.
8) City of Burbank, Office of Chief of Police, Los Angeles County, California, Aldred Erskine, certificate of appointment to police officer 27 January 1930, privately held by Dorothy Johansen [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Riverton, Utah, 2014.
9) National Council Boy Scouts of America, Verdugo Hills Council, Elements of Scoutmasterhip-Part 1 Diploma, Aldred Erskine, 4 December 1935, Burbank California, privately held by Dorothy Johansen, [ADDRESS FOR PRVATE USE,] Riverton, Utah, 2014.
10) "United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-16367-4192-13?cc=1861144&wc=MMRW-1VP:n1454227852 : accessed 12 Jan 2014), 004669303 > image 691 of 2807.
11) State of California, Board of Administration, State Employees' Retirement System, City of Burbank, retirement notification for Aldred Erskine, police sergeant, 1 November 1951, privately held by Dorothy Johansen, [ADDRESS FOR PRVATE USE,] Riverton, Utah 2014.
12) State of California, Board of Administration, State Employees' Retirement System to Aldred Erskine, Burbank, California, 5 February 1952, privately held by Dorothy Johansen, [ADDRESS FOR PRVATE USE,] Riverton, Utah 2014.