A Ring, A Razor, A Pipe
“My focus is The Great War, over twenty-five years ago a seed was planted when my parents cleaned their attic again and sent me home with another box of old family pictures and things my wife would call junk – Pappy’s 82nd patched uniform, helmet, gas mask, and a pipe with names of cities he had passed through in England and France. There were his service razors he must have used as a barber. And, in one of the old pictures of my grandpa in his uniform, there was the black onyx ring I had inherited (and have been wearing since early 1970’s). These key items have become the title of my display: “A Ring, A Razor, & A Pipe.”
My grandfather, Ralph E. Coffman (Co. C, 328th, 82nd National Army), told me on hearing of the death of Alvin York in September 1964,: “Sergeant York, why I used to cut his hair!” As a high school senior it did not dawn on me to “ASK” questions about his time as a doughboy, which I have come to regret.
I do not have any first-hand battle-related experiences but from his unit history book and other records I have pieced together some of his travels. I do have 30-50 picture post cards that were sent to family members with handwritten notes about his location.”