Wednesday, April 29, 2009

G-8 in Dorchester

World War I, the War to End All Wars, is a memory preserved in textbooks and on granite monuments in Dorchester and Boston. We talk about "being in the trenches" but is was nothing compared to the men who actually lived the battles and boredom that gave birth to this phrase. Even today, three people won't light their cigarettes off the same match, two is the limit, in Dorchester. This custom became common in WWI, the first Big One.

Tiffany Peabody is preserving part of the legacy of the war that defined modern times. She is the great-great-granddaughter of the renowned battle ace, G-8,who isn't known by any other name. Peabody is this lady's married name and she doesn't give her maiden one. As she explains, "Everyone called my great-great grandfather G-8, his fellow legionnaires, the people at Saint's Diner, his children and grandchildren. Even his wife. During and after the war he was G-8 and no one ever said any different."

Ms. Peabody has a roomful of G-8 memorabilia stored and sorted in a walk-in closet in her apartment off Dot Ave. G-8 was born and raised in Dorchester and, after the Armistice, he returned to live a life that was uneventful save for watching his children grow and a next generation take the reins from them. G-8 passed away at Carney Hospital in 1963, though there aren't any obituaries on microfiche to commemorate that detail. Perhaps his exploits seemed too fictional to grace a newspaper of record.

That said, Ms. Peabody has shoe boxes full of medals and mementos that offer testimony to G-8's courage and daring in defense of liberty. They are a treasure trove of memorabilia that reflects the values of Dorchester in days long past that still have relevance today. Many little G-8s are growing up in Dorchester in the 21st century. It would do them well to know of the brave men who went before them.

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