Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Pass to Visit Nome

Photo from

One of the great things about Permanent Record is that sometimes I'll write about something evocative — a report card, a photo I.D. badge, or whatever — and a reader or commenter will do follow-up research to help tell that object's story. Something similar happened to the Alaska novelist Dana Stabenow when she came across the 1945 military pass shown above, for a soldier named Norman Rambo.

Stabenow found the pass in an old copy of Ernie Pyle's book Here Is Your War, which she purchased at a local Salvation Army thrift store in Homer, Alaska. She was intrigued enough by the pass to blog about it on her website but didn't take things any further than that.

But one of her readers, Bobbi Schirado, did. She posted the following comment on Stabenow's blog post:

Checking on there were at least three and maybe four possible Norman Rambos — but using several other sources I’ve narrowed it down to this one:

Norman E. Rambo was born in 24 March 1915 in Iowa, enlisted at Ft. Lewis, Washington, graduated from high school, was single and as a civilian worked as a clerk. He was a resident of King Co. Washington. In 1930, he lived with his parents, Haven H. and Pauline Rambo at 8119 Latona St. in Seattle. His father was a policeman and his mother a saleslady in a department store. His SSN death record shows he died 19 May 2001. He played football and graduated from Ballard High School. A family marriage record indicates he married Marjorie Lou Christie in Nome, Alaska on 30 June 1946. A divorce was asked for by Marjorie L. from Norman E. Rambo in 1965. In 1970 the Seattle Times says Norman had a wedding license to marry Rita M. McSharry.

Newspapers from the 1950s thru the 1970s show that he sang tenor and was very active with the Seattle Chorale.

And it gets better. Just yesterday a new commenter chimed in on Stabenow's blog post. His name is Doug Rambo, and here's what he had to say:

Norman E. Rambo was my dad. How cool that you found something from his youth which I now found on the internet. He and my mother were married in Nome at the end of the War.

Now that's cool. I've had a few similar experiences during the course of Permanent Record, and I can tell you that they're amazing. Congrats to Dana on her find, and to Doug for following the trail of breadcrumbs that led him to connect with her.

(Big thanks to PermaRec reader Maureen Wynn for letting me know about this one.)

1 comment:

  1. As a history teacher I like stories like this! I have all kinds of ephemera that I use in class but have no idea how to answer the "who is that" or "what happened to them?" questions. But, that also allows us to talk about what history really is compared to simply learning facts from a textbook.

    Oh, "Doub" in the last paragraph