(I am the grandson of Warren and Bonnie. I will be answering the questions for them as they sit next to me.)

Warren was born in 1926 and Bonnie was born in 1927. Warren joined the Navy at 18 and spent two and a half years aboard the U.S.S Alabama. In that time, he went to Japan during the Battle of Okinawa, where he nearly lost his hearing after large sixteen inch guns (Warren: That's what I call them...I don't know.) went off not even ten feet away from him

(Warren) After WWII, I came home in June of 1946, and went to college at Gonzaga University. I met Bonnie in 1947 in Hermiston, Oregon, got married, and then we built a house on ten acres of land where we lived for the next sixty-three years until 2013.

I have had six children, and now forty-seven grandchildren (Including great-grandchildren).

Bonnie was born in 1927 in Texas. During WWII she was in California. Next to her house, there was a small shack that had a red telephone in it that people were assigned to call the government in case planes flew overhead that could have been suspicious.

(Bonnie) I moved to Hermiston during WWII and then met Warren in 1947, who I married in 1949.

Feel free to ask us any questions you have about the U.S.S Navy in WWII, life in the 40s-present, building our home, ect.

Proof: http://imgur.com/gallery/9mBo2

Warren when he enlisted at 18: http://imgur.com/a/XaORw/

Bonnie at 19: http://imgur.com/a/o39Ew

Warren and Bonnie together at their wedding: http://imgur.com/a/3hy3Q

(Update: They are taking a break and taking naps now. Keep the questions coming though, they will answer more when they get up in an hour. Thanks.)

(Update 2: They're done now. Thanks for the questions!)

(Update 3: I'm not with them anymore, but I know them well enough that I could answer some of your questions by myself. There are a lot of unanswered ones that I'm sure many of you would like to know, so I'll give it a go.)

THERE IS SOMETHING THAT NEEDS TO BE SPECIFIED: WHEN I SAID 47 GRANDCHILDREN, I MEANT GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN INCLUDED. There are 25 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. Each of their kids did NOT have like 8 children haha. I only have 2 siblings.

Comments: 913 • Responses: 56  • Date: 

jafbm528 karma

Next year, my wife and I will have been married 45 years. How does the next 22 years feel?

Grandma_Grandpa674 karma

(Warren) (Laughs) Great!

(Bonnie) You should be well acquainted by then!

T0tallynothigh479 karma

Holy smokes man you are like the ultimate old guy. You like the Grandpa all the other grandparents hope to grow up and be someday.

If you could only give one piece of advise to a person in their thirty's what would it be?

Grandma_Grandpa713 karma

(Warren) (Laughs) Get married, have a family and build a home. Have a good diet, and don't gain weight. Set a goal and keep it.

(Bonnie) Live good so you CAN be 90. Work hard.

kissmybacon358 karma

Hi Warren and Bonnie, what's the number one key to staying happily married for 63 years?

Grandma_Grandpa823 karma

(Warren) Listening. To. Your. Spouse. Oh, and good food.

(Bonnie) A marriage is not a contract, its a negotiation. It's just too hard to break up a family. You don't want to put your entire family through that. Making a good family is one of the key things, one where there is a good home for everyone. You have to work at making a good home, it doesn't just happen.

Ohalrightmate341 karma

Hello Sir,

How should I get over a totally broken heart caused by a woman? Is time the only answer?

Grandma_Grandpa1457 karma

(Bonnie) Just wait it out. You'll meet somebody new. (Sighs) I had a broken heart many times. Then I met Warren. After that, it was smooth sailing.

(Warren) When my dog died, I had a broken heart. (Me: How did you get over it?) I got another dog.

adarkfable336 karma

who better; drake or wayne?

edit: they throwin' shade.

Grandma_Grandpa794 karma

(Warren) Who?

(Bonnie) What does that even mean? Wayne Gretzky?

flammablepenguins335 karma

Have you visited the U.S.S. Alabama since it's become a tourist attraction in Mobile? If so how did it feel?

Grandma_Grandpa611 karma

(Warren) Yes. Along with my son and a grandson. It wasn't weird, it was just kind of great. I was anxious to look at the old gal. It felt familiar. There were certain places I had been on the ship when certain things happened that I recognized.

vl99314 karma

How long did it take you to build your own house? Is there anything on the build you would have done differently if you could do it all over again?

Grandma_Grandpa477 karma

(Warren) Well, we had a little house that we built when we first moved onto the property, which was just one bedroom. We started getting a larger family, so we had to build a bigger one. It took about six months to build the bigger one. We just turned the smaller house into a junk shed.

(Warren) Married three times (laughs). No, just kidding. But, I should have gotten a better education. I would have liked to have been a veterinarian. I love animals.

(Bonnie) I would have gone to school to be a nurse or a teacher. I didn't finish school because my family moved around a lot. Do not quit on education! You need an education. If you love it, it's not work.

Zigzaglife143 karma

Whichever grandson you are(because I don't know your name), you are doing a great thing for your grandparents. I appreciate whole your efforts. Thanks.

May we all know your name?

Grandma_Grandpa206 karma

(I'm 19, and my name is Stuart. Thank-you for asking.)

ferengiprophet275 karma

Thank you for your service to our country. I have three questions:

  1. Which decade had the most interesting music for you (considering that you got to see the likes of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, etc.)?

  2. Since the brewing methods and quality of coffee beans has changed over time, has coffee gotten better or worse since the 40s?

  3. Technology has really improved throughout your lives, what was the most interesting invention for you?

Grandma_Grandpa408 karma

(Interesting question)

(Warren) I loved the forties time when it came to music. The big band era. Western and Country music are all I really listen to. (He doesn't drink coffee) Coffee is absolutely terrible, gross stuff. Don't drink coffee- its just gross! I think electricity was the most interesting invention.

(Bonnie) Forties, there is no doubt about that. But I like all kinds of music. I don't really think coffee has changed much taste-wise. The television was very interesting. The telephone was interesting- they were around, but you had to pay so much money to call long distance. Now you can call anywhere! I think the telephone was a big plus.

Erroon274 karma

What has so far been the happiest point of your life? Most relieved?

Grandma_Grandpa493 karma

(Warren) Well, when I got married and our first child was born. That was a really happy moment.

(Bonnie) In the 1950s were good years. Raising a family was the happiest.

chipman75267 karma

You know how young people today always make fun of or have no patience with older people? For example don't know how to use a smart phone or drive so slow. When you guys were young in your teens and twenties what did you think of older people as far as using the new technology of the times?

Grandma_Grandpa654 karma

(Warren) Well, my grandpa would go out into outhouse and would come back in with his pants on backward.

(Bonnie) We didn't dare! We had respect. We would have gotten in trouble.


What is your biggest personal regret?

Grandma_Grandpa565 karma

(Warren) That I didn't finish college.

(Bonnie) I wish I had been more understanding of my kids, and kinder to them. Usually it was good, but there were times when I shouldn't of...shouldn't of.

BradZiel233 karma

Were you on-board the Alabama during the typhoon that hit the group? If so, what were your experiences?

Grandma_Grandpa469 karma

(Warren) It was awful. It was real, real windy. We did a 45 degrees roll. All of the planes that were on the ship came falling off when things got real bad. (Me: What were you doing during that?) Praying! (Laughs) No, I was doing my duties, I had responsibilities. You couldn't just say, "Ohhh I'm scared!" You had to do what you were told.

BradZiel141 karma

My father was involved in the Manhattan Project operations and testing at Los Alamos and Alamogordo, and, from what I understand, the Alabama may have been just north of Tokyo when the first atomic bomb was dropped. Did he, or anyone else on-board, see/hear/experience anything?

Grandma_Grandpa331 karma

(Warren) I didn't hear it or see it. But we did see the planes that carried the bombs.

(Bonnie) I saw it on TV later on in documentaries. That must've been awful for the Japanese people, just absolutely awful...it put an end to the war though- as terrible as it was.

chiefinspector2226 karma

What life advice do you have for the current generation of teenagers who would never understand the sacrifices you made?

Grandma_Grandpa1023 karma

(Warren) Well, I would say...go to church, love the Lord. Don't use dope, and find yourself a loving companion.

(Bonnie) Be kind to your mother! You owe your mother so much. Many of them get rid of their lives to be a mother.

southernliberal159 karma

Have you been keeping up with the presidential election? If yes, does it remind you of any previous elections?

Grandma_Grandpa490 karma

(Warren) I hope we get a good democrat in there.

(Bonnie) Ha! Well, it kind of reminded me of Obama. I was devastated when he was elected- and then elected AGAIN. It just crushed me.

(He's Democrat, she is Republican.)

ScribebyTrade342 karma

I smell a sitcom

Grandma_Grandpa369 karma

(Warren) I'm a registered Democrat!

(Bonnie) (Laughs at your comment)

power-cube146 karma

Hello Miss Bonnie. How many boys and girls did you have? Do you have a feeling for which it was easier to raise - the boys or the girls?

Grandma_Grandpa357 karma

(Warren) Neither!

(Bonnie) Five girls, one boy. The girls were easier to raise! At least I think so. It wasn't that he was hard to raise, but he always had so many women in the house. He was always upbeat and happy though.

SmootherPebble138 karma

What is something society doesn't pay enough attention to that you think they should?

Grandma_Grandpa355 karma

(Warren) The welfare of older people. We are very lucky for what we have.

(Bonnie) Safety of children. I wish we could teach the parents. That's where all of these kids end up on streets from. If they had good parents, we wouldn't have all of these shootings going on. There are probably millions of children that have no home life to speak of- dirty house, drugs. I really think how a child becomes as an adult starts with the parents. They are the ones who are going to run the nation one day for goodness sake!

queendweeb133 karma

Great, I can't just comment. My grandfather served on the same ship as you during WWII.

Okay, maybe you knew him, he was a radioman, from what I recall. Last name was Barkan? I don't remember his rank. He would have been older than you-he was in his 30s when he enlisted.

Grandma_Grandpa183 karma

(He says no. There were 2,000 men on board and he can barely remember a lot of their names)

ethanGeltan125 karma

Do you know all the names of your grandkids/could you identify them in pictures? I think after about 35 I'd give up.

Grandma_Grandpa243 karma

(Warren) No way I couldn't. Not the great grandchildren.

(Bonnie) I could. I think I know all of them.

ethanGeltan57 karma

Follow up - any Bonnie Juniors or Warren Juniors? Those would be easy.

Grandma_Grandpa131 karma

(None, surprisingly. There is one with a middle name as Warren though.)

djenuch121 karma

Hi guys!

First of all, Warren, thank you for your service! My Grandfather was a CWO on the USS Alabama! You two probably met at one point! My fiancé fought in Afghanistan and I truly would like to thank you as a veteran.

I'd like to ask you how long you and Bonnie knew eachother before you got married. Also, what is each of your number one tips to a happy marriage? I truly admire a marriage that lasts. That really means something!!

Many thanks, AW

Grandma_Grandpa212 karma

(What is your grandfathers name?)

(They knew each other for about two years)

(Warren) When the wife says what to do- do it! Say okay to everything! She wouldn't know, she didn't have a happy marriage (laughs).

(Bonnie) (Rolls eyes at what Warren said) Be optimistic. Know that tomorrow everything will be better when there are problems. You go through times when you think everything might fall apart, but hang in there and things get a lot better.

IWolfyUs110 karma

Were there any big quarrels during your relationship and if so, how did you fix them? Basically, what advice do you have for all the young people concerning relationships? Much Thanks. :)

Grandma_Grandpa210 karma

(Warren) Sometimes but not a lot. I would drive off if I was ever mad.

(Bonnie) Oh...there have been quite a few! Mostly about his family! I had to drag him out of the house sometimes! Everyone has arguments though- some of them pretty fierce. (About relationships) Get married! (Warren) (Laughs) Get married? (Bonnie) Yea get married!

Azilem22108 karma

How did you two meet?

Grandma_Grandpa428 karma

(Haha, I know this story really well. He went to a diner that she worked at, and asked to go out with her, but she said she was working. He waited all night for her to get off, and gave her his keys beforehand so that he couldn't leave unless she gave them to him. When she got off, she threw them at him and drove away and then he followed her home. Her step-dad told him to get off the property, but he kept coming back until she finally would go on a date with him.)

sharkbait76105 karma

Why did you join the Navy instead of one of the other branches and what drove you to join the armed forces in the first place?

Grandma_Grandpa245 karma

(Warren) I didn't want to go in the army that's for damned sure. I lived next to the army and I didn't want any of what they were doing. I wanted to see the world and explore what there was out there.

jagmeetsingh98 karma

What is your daily routine?

Grandma_Grandpa242 karma

(Warren) Wake up, get dressed, feed the animals.

(Bonnie) (Laughs) Not much. I get up about 8:30 and just sort of relax. Watch the news.

mvaneman89 karma

My Grandfather was in the Navy during Korea (boiler mate), and he credits it with saving his life. After he got out, he had about a million jobs, changing when someone made him mad, or he got bored (whichever came first).

My question is, what did you do after you left the Navy, and did what you learn while in service help you at all?

Thanks for your service, and keep being awesome.

Grandma_Grandpa112 karma

(Warren) Went to school, and then got out of it after a year, which I regret. And then went to Hermiston and worked as a construction worker. I didn't learn much in the Navy (laughs). I learned to do what I pleased afterward, not what I was told!

bloodstainer84 karma

On the U.S.S Alabama, much time was spent on deck and how much was spent "indoors" so to speak?

And how much of the war in Europe did you hear about when fighting on the pacific side of the conflict?

Grandma_Grandpa119 karma

(Warren) I was below deck most of the time doing my duties. We heard the local news all of the time. Someone always had a radio going on- we were so concerned about our own squabble going on though!

The-language-freak72 karma

Are you supportive of wars which occurred after 9/11? if so, why?

I will understand, if you choose not answer it.

Grandma_Grandpa226 karma

(Warren) No.

(Bonnie) No! Especially Afghanistan, why are we even there? They are even sending people to Iraq still! They send all of these kids that are so young, that barely know what they want to do with life, that end up coming back with PTSD at such a young age. I think its horrible.

Sword_and_Scholar71 karma

Thank you for your service and thank you for doing this AmA! I was wondering what its like to live over such a long time period with all the new technologies being developed. What do you like most about present day and what did you like most about growing up in the 1930's?

Grandma_Grandpa162 karma

(Warren) I was just a young man...so there was many things that I liked. But I am a guy of nature, I liked going out into nature. Since then they have closed off a lot of things that you can't do anymore. It's a shame. I really like the cars now, and having grandchildren. I don't like being old though.

(Bonnie) Medicine is so much better now.

morianna162 karma

Sir, and Madam-Thank you for your service. May I ask; What has been the greatest change in your lives? What astounding achievent has humanity made in your lifetime?

Grandma_Grandpa148 karma

(Warren) Television! Transportation.

(Bonnie) Electricity. Technology. There wasn't any when we were growing up, and that changed the entire world. Having lights in the house, was just amazing. The moon landing was amazing, but in terms of things that actually affected us- really electricity, all of those household things that helped to have a little more leisure in life were really nice. Our parents did their laundry by hand!

omgwtf56k58 karma

What was your occupation during the battle? Did you discharge your weapon?

Grandma_Grandpa113 karma

(Warren) I was an electrician. "Electricians Mate Third Class"

MaoMeowed58 karma

What are your thoughts on Donald Trump's candidacy? What about the comparisons between him and Hitler?

Grandma_Grandpa239 karma

(Warren) There are no words. You could never type out what I have to say he is too awful. That Hitler comparison is the silliest damn thing I ever heard. Absolutely idiotic.

(Bonnie) Oh man...I just don't even know. He will never do all of the things he thinks he can. I don't trust him as far as foreign policy. He knows nothing. They will chew him up and spit him out in Washington D.C...where as Hillary knows TOO much about policy. She's crooked.

McD0naldTrump57 karma

I feel like you might get a lot of questions with serious/tragic answers, so in light of that I'd like to ask: what is your happiest memory of the war?

Grandma_Grandpa224 karma

(Warren) Went on liberty, which is when they let you off the ship and let you do what you want. (Me: Wha'd you do on liberty?) (Laughs) Let's not go there! When I returned, our ship went under the Golden Gate Bridge, and there were just thousands of people! All of these girls were throwing down little parachutes with their names and numbers on them- but I couldn't pick them up because we were at attention!

(Bonnie) The day the war was declared over. Everyone was screaming and dancing in the streets. I was in an old Ford with a handsome soldier who had just returned from Paris in Long Beach. There were tens of thousands of people in the streets cheering! Kissing, dancing- even though they didn't know anyone. Oh my gosh, it was just such a big party.

techn9neosrs0756 karma

Thank you for your service. And congratulations on such a large family and beautiful life to the both of you!

How do you feel about the Internet and how easily everything is shared instantly around the world?

Also, if there was one thing you can pick from modern times, to be a part of your life growing up, what would it be and why?

Grandma_Grandpa88 karma

(Warren) Very interesting if used properly.

(Bonnie) It's scary but interesting. I wish there was more electricity back then. People take it for granted now- all of these wonderful things we have now. Even hot water!

Olwe153 karma

If you could choose, would you live nowadays or back in the days and why ? And just another one, was the food better at the time ?

Grandma_Grandpa153 karma

(Warren) Well, I would like to be twenty again.

(Bonnie) The 50's were a nice time. 60's not so much. If I could choose between now and then, I would like to be in the 70's as a younger person.

LawSchoolGuy8350 karma

First of all, thank you for your service and doing this AMA.

Warren: What's your favorite dish your wife makes?

Bonnie: Who are some of your favorite musician?s

Grandma_Grandpa92 karma

(Warren) (Laughs) How much room do you have to write? Steak, Tuna Casserole, Rolls,...there are a lot. Oh, beans! Beans with chili and break.

(Bonnie) Gene Krupa.

Zigzaglife47 karma

What shall have been different today if WW2 had never happened? (I mean global effects)

Grandma_Grandpa134 karma

(Warren) Japanese would be all over the U.S! I had some good Japanese friends though.

(Bonnie) (Laughs) Konichiwa!

(They think that the Japanese would have taken over if WWII had never happened.)

yonil947 karma

Have you ever had all 40 grandchildren together at once. Is there a picture?

Grandma_Grandpa86 karma

(Bonnie) Hmm...I think there is one from about seven years ago that has most of them, but not all. It was during Thanksgiving.)

(There is one, I have it, and it does have most of us. It was actually during their anniversary when we all got together seven years ago.)

GimmeBackMyBullets42 karma

For both Warren and Bonnie:

Do you think it's easier or harder for veterans to return to regular society now, as compared to the 40s?

Grandma_Grandpa98 karma

(Warren) People respected you more.

(Bonnie) It was a lot more joyful back then when they came home.

SmugSceptic40 karma

Do think it was important for the US to invade Iraq?

Grandma_Grandpa92 karma

(Warren) Well, yes I do.

(Bonnie) It was important to get rid of Sadam Hussein and his sons, but after that, we should have backed out.

___Redditsucks___35 karma

Are you disheartened by the current generation's abandonment of traditional values?

Grandma_Grandpa77 karma

(Warren) It's discouraging, for one thing.

(Bonnie) Ohh, yes. Especially morality. The thing that appear on TV, you would have gasped and been shocked at 20 years ago. Especially all of these bikini models who just walk around without any shame, they aren't the least bit embarrassed. I am just glad that the church I belong to promotes moral values. It makes you wonder what is going to be passed down to their children. It may just get worse and worse.

PagingDoctorLove33 karma

Wow, 47 grandkids! Just curious, are they all blood related? As in, no step-grandkids, adopted grandkids, foster grandkids, etc...

Both my sets of grandparents had 4 kids, and my parents (born in 1945 and 1950) went on to have 4 kids of their own. Still, my family has always been considered large compared to most of my peers, whereas 4 children wasn't unusual for my grandparents' generation.

Sorry if this is an invasive question, but it's pretty uncommon for baby boomers to outstrip their parents in terms of family size! But 47√∑6=7.8, which is impressive if they didn't adopt, foster, or marry someone with kids from a previous relationship!

Grandma_Grandpa60 karma

(Warren) All blood related...

(Bonnie) Well, there are some step-grandchildren, but including our grandkids and greatt-grandkids, thereare roughly that many.

TheOnlyPorcupine32 karma

You have both lived through a drastically changed world through the years.

How do you feel about the world back the compared to now?

Grandma_Grandpa74 karma

(Warren) I feel it was safer then that it is now.

(Bonnie) It was quieter. Lots more people now. It was more depressed way back. We were just coming out of a deep depression, and then a war started right as it ended. The war was an exciting time- not good exciting, but it was still exciting.

IBurnedMyBalls30 karma

How's life?

Grandma_Grandpa66 karma

(Bonnie) Life is good! There are people visiting all the time, which is good. I love having people around.

imdefnotaterrorist29 karma

What is the best country you have visited in your 90 years of life? (Besides the great US of A)

Grandma_Grandpa62 karma

(Warren) Japan was messed up when I was there, it was war time. I went Canada which was nice.

(Bonnie) Good old U.S.A! I haven't really been outside the U.S much. I went to St. Martin Island in 2000.

goin_nil24 karma

Thanks for your service to our country!

ebooks or real books?

Coke or Pepsi?

Ford or Chevy?

Email or real mail?

Grandma_Grandpa47 karma

(This one is kind of funny. Warren LOVES Pepsi. And I mean, LOVES it. When I see Pepsi, I automatically think of him because it's like....his drink. When we were answering these questions he was even drinking one...haha.)

GimmeBackMyBullets23 karma

Thank you both for your service and for answering our questions! I have several for Warren, about his time on the USS Alabama:

  1. How hot was it below deck on the ship? I visited recently and it was toasty, even with air conditioners and no one running the galley or laundry.

  2. Was it constant chaos in the halls? Or was movement well organized? How many men did you have to squeeze past to get from one room to the next? And did you ever just jump over someone to get down the stairs?

  3. With approximately 2,500 crew mates at any given time, did you know just about everyone due to proximity, or was it pretty anonymous? There were a ton of Smiths, but did you happen to know (or remember) Richard W. Smith (he was my dad's uncle)?

  4. How loud was it when someone on another deck dropped something very heavy?

  5. Rumor has it, the ships had the best food. True?

  6. Those toilets... How did chili night go?

  7. Did you ever spend time in the brig?

Grandma_Grandpa35 karma

(Warren) (6.) (Laughs) BUSY! (7.) (He's ashamed) I got in a fight.

djenuch22 karma

My grandfathers name was Clarence (Rick) Walters. He served with my uncles Don Howard and Savior (Joe) Yeo. It would be so cool if you knew either of them!!

Thank you for the marriage advice! I will share this with my soon-to-be husband!

Warren, what was your main thought while you were in the war zone? Were you focused on the enemy/your brothers, or were you fighting for home? Did/Have you had troubles coping with life after the war?

Bonnie, how have you helped Warren cope with the trials and tribulations of post-war life?

Grandma_Grandpa43 karma

(Warren) No, I don't know them. I just wanted to get out safely, I didn't want to lose my life. (On coping with life) (Laughs) Not really.

(Bonnie) I didn't think he had any. Back then PTSD wasn't as known. People didn't know much about it and it wasn't payed attention to as much.

manojadvo17 karma

What physical problems confronted in present day life weaken you? What have you overcome physically in the past? Thank you

Grandma_Grandpa28 karma

(Warren has had two heart attacks in the past, both needing open-heart surgery and a transplant. Those were about nine and twelve years ago though I think.)

saveid13 karma

How does it feel to be lucky?

Grandma_Grandpa21 karma

(Both of my grandparents have said many times that they feel blessed for what they have. Many people their age truly do not get to have the luxuries they do.)

Yossi256 karma

When you lost your hearing, did you develop tinnitus? Did it go away over time?

Grandma_Grandpa9 karma

(Yes, he did. I actually asked him about that a few days ago. He said that he still hears the ringing to this day.)

[deleted]1 karma


Grandma_Grandpa5 karma

(This has been answered twice. They said they didn't want to answer it again. Haha, sorry.)

Soperos-11 karma

Have you ever killed anyone? Did you feel bad if so?

Obviously you have zero obligation to answer.

Grandma_Grandpa8 karma

(He didn't want to answer that. Sorry.)