Marian, "Micky" and Charles Gribi

On the Homefront: Marian and Micky

Lili Marleen

Marian came to visit me about the time of our first anniversary in 1943. This song brings teary eyed memories for me as we said good bye when I was leaving Keesler Field in Biloxi Mississippi. The weather there was atrocious, misty and damp but we spent every minute together that we could at the gate as I left to go back to the barracks in time for bed check. Keesler was where I went from Cincinnati for assignment to aviation cadet school and it was the first time that we had been apart so she managed to get her mom and dad to bring her down for a short visit.In fact she managed to be where I was from that time thru cadet school at University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa where she had a dinky apartment where I could come to visit when I could get off base. We would stop at a cafe to treat ourselves to chocolate chiffon pie all the while the jukebox played "give me something to remember you by" we got a kick out of that because she was pregnant with Micky at the time, morning sickness and all.

From there I was sent to Ellington field for bombardier school and she went home. While at Ellington during training we didn't see each other (visitors weren't allowed for security reasons.) I tried my best to get home for Micky's coming but couldn't get a leave from school. I graduated a week or so after Mick got here and I can still see the gleam in Marian's eye as she held out Micky to me while as she seemed to be saying "I can't believe it but look what I did"

Against all rules she came to Casper Wyoming where I got together with the rest of the guys to train together as a crew. She came there with her mom and Micky who was then about three months old. Mick went home with grandma and Marian stayed with me until I shipped out for Europe in April '44. Micky was almost six months old and that's when I made the prophetic statement "Don't worry hon I'm going to be home by her first birthday."

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Celebrating the life of Marian Gribi
July 10, 1922 - September 29, 2007

Micky was only a week or so old when I got there on leave from just graduating Bombardier School in October 1943.

Summer 1944 - the girl I left behind on State Ave.

On State Ave., Summer '44, waiting for me to keep my promise to get there from England for Micky's first birthday.

I knew that after thirty missions I would be considered psychologically unfit for more and that I would be relieved of combat duty and sent back to the states, so I decided to do whatever was possible to get those in as soon as possible. After my fourth mission I was told that I would be promoted to the position of squadron bombardier with an increase in rank. I turned it down when told that I couldn't volunteer for missions when another crew needed a bombardier or navigator. I intended to do this to get my thirty in as quick as possible to get back as I had promised for Mick's first birthday. The guy who took it was killed four days later. I tell Micky that she saved my life.

I walked into the living room at home on the day of her first birthday. Would you believe that she wouldn't have a thing to do with me?

I think this is 1945 in Midland Texas where I was an instructor for Bombardier school and sweating out being reassigned to the Pacific theater when Truman authorized the A bomb.

Midland Texas, 1945

Micky with her great-grandparents. Left to right are Albert & Magdelina "Mert" Hartung (Marian's parents) then my parents Emma and Albert Gribi.

Micky with my mom, Emma Gribi.

I'm not sure where this was taken, by Mom's flowers might mean it was her birthday in July, or Mother's Day. Both 1945.

Time flies when you're having fun!
There are 65 years in between these two pictures.