Happy Valentine's Day! I hope all of you are spreading the love today!
I am in the process of moving to Huntsville with a bed frame, a mirror, and a desk, that's about it. I am faced with the task of purchasing furniture. I want the things I buy now to last, which, has become somewhat of an overwhelming job. I have a clear vision of what I want my home decor to look like with budget and quality in mind.
I made a list of the pieces I needed and went out on the hunt with "buy what you love" on my mind. Last Saturday, I antiqued around Florence with Dr. K. I saw many things I liked, but just couldn't fork over the money because of the love lack. At our last stop of the day, I stumbled upon this deep jade steamer trunk. I loved the color, the wear, and the initials on the side. Coffee table? Yes. Check it off the list.
I opened it up to see that it had Howard Killen Private USMC WWII written on the inside. Hmm...all the more meant to be because of my sweet Billy and his Marine Corps background. I love history and this piece instantly had meaning to me. It was a total steal at $60; I could not resist. A conversation piece for the ages, of course!
I brought it home and decided to do some research on Howard Killen. I wanted the story behind this Devil Dog and I knew Google would reveal something.
Although he passed away in 2004, Killen lived a full life. If he were alive today, I would take my pen and paper for coffee and interview him. We have quite a bit in common, a love of basketball, history, writing, southern culture, dogs, and the Marines at that. Mr. Killen hailed from where else but Killen, Alabama. During World War II, he was a member of the Marines 3rd Division War Dog Platoon in the Pacific. These dogs and their "owners" went forward into enemy lines to scout out potential combat. His dog Jeep, "saved his life a few times." In fact, they became so attached that after the war, Jeep was retrained as a pet and brought back to Alabama where he lived until 1954. In the black and white picture above, Killen's hand is shown holding the dog as they meet famous WWII journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Earnie Pyle. His story is also highlighted in the book Always Faithful, which I plan to read.
I love the history of this trunk! There is much to be said for the rustic, rugged and raspy side of interior decorating. I love the old and the new mixed together. So, when I get things all set, I'll be sure to show you how I've used this gem. In the meantime, remember that more is there than what meets the eye.
P.S. I know that many of you from this area might have known him, which is another neat connection for me. Comment if so!
Read his dog story here: