Behind the Uniform

In honor of Veteran’s Day, I thought today would be a great day to chat about our window display, which many folks have asked us about.

For those of you who may not know, the theme for the Winchester Christmas Parade this year is “I’ll be home for Christmas; A salute to Clark County Veterans”. Long title, great concept. Do you know how much veterans and pottery have in common? Nothing. So I came up with the idea to create two windows with matching looks but different themes. The veterans window is decorated with a hanging ornament representation of the American flag, alongside Carvel’s grandfather’s Air Force jacket with his shirt and pants in a chair. His grandfather (James Guy Norman) was one of 6 brothers, all of whom enlisted into the armed forces. Guy was the eldest, and went to the Army first, where he served in WWII. After, he retired and tried working back in the states. He decided that the military was for him and then enlisted with the Air Force, where he served in the Korean War and was also stationed at a base in Libya for a while. (Side note: that’s actually where Carvel’s dad graduated high school from. How cool is that?!) He rose to become a Drill Sergeant: a title that gained him a reputation throughout his life for being a stern man to everyone but Carvel, who was his only grandchild and therefor the impenetrable to the harsh façade. He passed away in 1997.

When we found his uniform in the attic of Carvel’s childhood home, I instantly felt a kinship to it. I had looked at many photos of him in this outfit, heard the stories and even saw some silent home videos of him from the 1960’s-70's. But to be able to touch this uniform, to feel the metals and patches that he had worn so proudly; it was a whole new level of understanding the Norman family. In the box was an envelope containing some of the most important documents he owned; his marriage certificate to his first wife who died 20 years before him, the death certificate of his father, and the one and only letter that his father had written to him while he was away in the service.

My own family has its history in the military as well, but we unfortunately we do not have a uniform. My grandfather, Calvin Combs, was a Corporal in the Army. His main station was in Alaska around the time of the Korean War, watching over the Bering Strait to make sure Russia didn't invade. He was born and raised in Clark County, and passed away here in 2005. We have some photographs of him in his uniform, as well as his discharge certificate (which will be added to the window this weekend). I would give anything to be able to display his jacket alongside Guy’s in our window, but some things are lost to the past.

Keep a lookout for our next blog about the stories of Dirty South!

Ashley Norman

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