Sunday, July 15, 2018

Happy Birthday Arthur Homer Mylott - you're 100! My visit to Omaha Beach in June 2018

Arthur Homer Mylott is 100 years old. He died almost 12 years ago but is not forgotten.  Born on a Champlain canal boat near Chambly, Quebec during the busy shipping season on the canals of New York and Quebec, his family always thought he was born on a boat but never knew the details. He was the youngest child of seven and only he and two brothers, Edgar and Milo lived into adulthood.

 His father died when he was 18 and soon afterwards he enlisted in the US Army.  Sent to the Panama Canal Zone, he developed malaria while serving there.


1940 US Census, Fort Clayton, Panama Canal Zone

In 1941 when preparing for discharge and listening to the radio he heard the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. On that day, his life and countless others were forever changed.  He was now in the 1st Division of the US Army and was in the North African Invasion as well as the Sicily and the Normandy Invasions.  He survived it all. Eventually, wounded in Belgium, he was sent to a hospital in Paris and in the last days of the European conflict returned stateside.

A photo sent home to mother, Edith Mylott

Arthur Mylott never spoke to me about his time in those invasions.  Eventually, he allowed his grandson to interview him for a school project. Below is the video originally recorded in 1998.  His eleven year old grandson prepared some questions.  Arthur has some difficulty hearing and responding but answers while I recorded. 

Standing on Omaha Beach in June 2018 recalling that 74 years before my father came ashore with the 1st Division chilled me more than the cold strong winds blowing the sand in my face that day.  The vastness of the empty beach and the silence despite the winds crept into my body and I was moved beyond words. 

After the invasions, Arthur was discharged with medals and the Purple Heart but the experience made him a pacifist and he never condoned US troops in Viet Nam and US military actions anywhere.  He came back to the Waterford -Cohoes area, married and worked in breweries in Troy, the D&H railroad and other various jobs until he landed a job at the US Federal Arsenal in Watervelit.  Although he paid dues to the VFW post, he would never march in a parade with veterans.  He just did not believe in war.  Something had happened to the young man who went to war. He never handled stress well and was content to do the little things. He apprenticed at the arsenal as a  tool and dye marker retiring in the 1970s. 

Below are several photos of Arthur's life after the army and the war... it was a quiet life.  The medals, including the Purple Heart, were put away and forgotten. The shoulder stripes have a few moth eaten holes; the leather case is moldy.


Transgender Dressing at Murphy's Friend's Lake Inn: from left to right - Arthur, one of the Chards, Irene Chard, Pipere Rivet, Dorothy Mylott and Al Rivet. Circa 1948.

In his later years, after retirement from the Watervelit Arsenal, he worked in the antique business his wife created and developed a special niche collecting early science fiction paperbacks and selling them in the store in Bolton Landing. At Christmas time, he was St Nicolas with a long white beard

He was a faithful husband, a good friend, a true father, and a very good grandfather. I miss him everyday!

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