My father was born in 1930 in the Netherlands. He was just over 10, on May 10, 1940 and lived in The Hague, when they were woken early in the morning by very loud explosions. German Fallschirmjagers started to fall all over the place and my Opa spent his time trying to keep his 3 boys under control as they ran to see what it was all about. The kids were obsessed with all the action and the parents terrified at the danger of it all. The occupation was horrifying with families mistrusting each other, split over Nazi support, people hung from street lamps left to die, my father was injured when the British bombed the wrong part of The Hague and finally one night he was caught after curfew with a radio tube in his pocket by the Nazi police. They beat him to a pulp and left him for dead face down in a duck pond. But my dad survived and the family sent him the south of Holland. On September 17, 1944, my father was once again in a parachute drop zone but this time it was elements of the 501 PIR of the 101AB. So for my father the war began and ended with parachute drops.
My mother was born in 1930 in Fallriver, Mass. My gramps, her father was a WW1 Navy vet, Democratic boss and air raid warden. Her war was uneventful other than shortages.
After the war my father went to Harvard University and met my mother at a party.
When I was a little boy we lived back and forth in the US and Europe. My father worked for Monsanto Chemical and though he didn't want to live in Europe any more, we would end up there because he spoke 10 languages.
When I was 8 we were living in Brussels, Belgium. There were reminders of WW2 everywhere but I was facinated with Waterloo, having been to the battle field with my dad several times. During this year my Oma, in the Netherlands, passed and we went to clean out her house. This was officially my first (of hundreds) house clean outs. I found my dad's toy soldier and vehicle collection, hundreds of pictures he drew of the war and a box with Nazi insignia they stripped off of uniforms, that they died a different color and wore, since clothes were hard to come by at the end of the war. Needless to say something happened instantly in my brain and I became stupid crazy obsessed with WW2 from that moment on.
At the age of 8 I started to ask everyone my dad did business with if they had anything from the War with limited results. When we moved to the US I continued to ask which led to my first big score. Colonel Robert Robb was G-2 for the 9th ID. and a train commute friend of my dads. One Saturday morning my mom got me out of bed, it was 7 AM, telling me that Col. Robb wanted to see me. The trunk and back seat of his Cadillac were full of his WW2 German relics, 50 reels of Signal Corps WW2 movies and all his uniforms. I got a newspaper route when I was 11 and would ask all my customers if they had anything from the war. On my first day of my route, 1967, I got a Spanish uniform from the Span-Am vet who brought it back. Other highlights were the hundreds of Nazi flags one vet brought home all found in the basement of a school. Colonel Weavert was an engineer and when the war ended his unit took over a German warehouse with unissued uniforms. Everytime they unpacked a crate the Col would fill it up with uniforms and ship them to the US. I bought over 100 Nazi uniforms from him until the late 70s. In 1981 I went to his house and he and what was left was all gone. I learned how to buy and sell things that didn't intetest me so I had money for militaria.
After college I went into the corporate world like my dad. I was a good sales manager but I hated it. All during this time I continued to start conversations with strangers everywhere I went and bought more and more including antiques, jewelry, old toys, watches and fine art. That is what I really loved so in 1994 I quit my job and became a full time picker. Started an estate liquidation business with a friend and then on my own for 20 years. We had an ad in the yellow pages but my forte was knocking on doors.
Still looking for groups if you have one to sell.