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Some of the facts I learned about Buddy since I was six.

April 16, 2012

Carl Ralph Bonde Jr., came into the world September 15, 1923. His father was Carl Tosten Bonde, so the boy was not a “junior” in the usual sense. His name with “Jr.” stuck, though; it is on his birth certificate, Army records, and on at least seven monuments that list the names of dead or missing World War II soldiers. Carl’s mother was Ellen Margaret Wickstrom, and Carl was also named after her brother Ralph. If he were alive he would be 89. If so, I imagine I would be better at fishing and a hunter like him. I would be better at making wise cracks like him.

This is what I learned of his childhood story, briefly.

Carl Jr. would have had four big sisters but one died before he was born, during the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918. His father was an easygoing, affable Norwegian wholesale grocery salesman in Kalispell, Montana. His strict mother was a homemaker, 36 years old, when she bore him at home in her bed.  She, unlike her husband, had earned a college diploma.

My aunt Corinne told me that when Bud was born they didn’t even know that their mother had been pregnant.

Two of his sisters were teenagers when he was still a small boy. One of them, my mother Helen, had him write in her high school yearbook when he was five. Underneath the scribble, Helen drew an arrow and wrote, “Buddie’s signature.”

His sister Ruth Carol, closest to him in age, left the house before Buddy got to the eighth grade. Before he entered puberty.

That’s why my grandparents probably got to know Carl Jr. better than my mother or my aunts did. His school friends seemed to know him well; they called him Carl when they wrote in his 1940 Flathead County High School annual.

This photograph on the wall of my grandparents' was one of the few bits of evidence that Uncle Carl R. Bonde, Jr. had lived there before us. There is nothing on this photograph telling when, where or what Army unit is pictured. Bud's friend Bill Moomey identified this as probably a basic training unit.

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