The picture featured here is of my dad, Mike Rantz and his half-brother, Joe Rantz, playing guitars. There are pictures of the Rantz family stuck away in albums which I simply do not recall seeing as a child. This is one of those pictures.

A little history here …

These two half-brothers share a common father, Harry Rantz, Sr. My uncle, Joe Rantz, was born in 1914, my dad, Mike Rantz, was born in 1923.

It is interesting to see this picture because the musical talent in the family came from both sides. Joe Rantz picked up his musical talent from his father, Harry Rantz, Sr., and my father, Mike Rantz, actually had musical abilities drawn from both of his parents, Harry Rantz, Sr., and Thula LaFollette Rantz.

The note on the back of this photo is in my mother’s handwriting. It simply says, “Joe and Mike, 1947.”

When this picture was taken, Joe Rantz was 33 and Mike Rantz was 24. My father had just left the Army and had married my mother, Pearl (Oh, she’d be mad at me for mentioning her given name!) in June of 1946.

I truly wish that these instruments had stayed in the family, I have no idea where they are today.

As an adult I love this photo. Music has always been a big part of my life. To see my uncle and father playing together at this point in their lives is comforting now that they’re both gone. The story told in this picture is one of perseverance — my dad survived World War II and my uncle had won an Olympic gold medal in 8 man crew just 11 years prior.

There was fondness between Joe and his half-brothers and half-sisters which was unmistakable.

This generation of Rantz children had lived through the Great Depression and WWII with tremendous hardships. Through it all, however, there was time to sing a few favorite songs from their childhood as time permitted.

Oh how I would like to know the song they were playing so I could carry on the tradition!