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Gott Amit Uns
Gott Mit Uns

 

A Pack of Camels

Camel cigarettes, how important are they? In the grand scheme of life, they are not important at all. In fact, many say that they are harmful to your health. Ok, what do Camel cigarettes have to do Rancho Monterey Furniture? Well, let’s begin with a family story.

My father was a veteran of WWII. He enlisted just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He even had my grandmother alter his birth certificate so he could act on his new founded patriotism. So, he was seventeen and in the Navy and that’s where he began smoking Camels.

He spoke little of his service time, but it truly defined him as a person. He was stationed in the Pacific Ocean Theater. One of the great fleets in Naval history. He spent time in Pearl Harbor after the Japanese attacked. He never ate pineapple, because it rotted on the docks in the harbor when he was on leave there. And he never ate turkey, as he had it every day for lunch and dinner on the naval ship. I guess Camels might have been a small personal escape from rotten pineapple and dry turkey that he endured daily.

I don’t remember how old I was, but one evening at dinner. I began asking my dad questions about his Navy days. He got up and quietly left the table. He returned moments later with a rolled up leather German Officers military belt with a high relief aluminum buckle. Complete with the Third Reich symbol and the words Gott Mit Uns. He told the family that he traded it with a German soldier for a pack of Camel cigarettes. That evening was truly definable for everyone in the family.

This story was held sacred with our family for many years. My sister wore the belt with her bell bottom jeans. My sister passed the belt to me. I wore the belt with my faded Levi jeans to school. I told everyone that my dad traded it for a pack of Camel Cigarettes in WWII. It was truly a cherished object for many years.

Recently, while in the shower; I do my best clear thinking there. I went over the story in my head. To my surprise, l discovered the story had a fatal flaw. My dad was stationed in the Pacific Theater Fleet. There were no known German troops or ships in the Pacific Ocean. There was no way my father would have met, befriended and traded for the belt during his time spent on a military supply ship. So the pack of Camels story, is just that; a story. And the German military belt? When my parents were younger they would attend barn auctions. The belt most likely was acquired during their many trips. So this beautiful family story was no longer. I recently sold the belt online to a seventeen year old boy who has a passion for military history.

Now, what does a pack of Camel Cigarettes have to do with Rancho Monterey Furniture? Some of the information we hold sacred surrounding Rancho Monterey are stories, just stories. This publication has additional information regarding Monterey furniture that may challenge the curious customer, the seasoned reseller or even the serious collector of Rancho Monterey.

First up?  The different divided time periods which break up the fifteen years of Monterey furniture production.

All content otherwise noted is copyright CirCA, 2019.

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