It is often said that life is a big book of stories, where people are the authors. World War II veteran Anselmo (Andy) Canova has been living his story for 82 years. During those 82 wonderful years, he has written his own unique book of his life, and those stories are surly ones that are worth telling.
On February 15, 1925, Andy was born in Thomasson, California to two loving parents of Italian decent. (Thomasson is a town that no longer exists, but it was once situated in the Cordelia area.) In addition to having loving parents, he also had two siblings who cared deeply for him. Growing up in Fairfield, life was simple and quiet for Andy. Like any ordinary child, he went to school. Some of the schools he had attended include Green Valley School and Fairfield Grammar School. Life was not always about school, however. Andy did his fair share of living and having fun.
The town of Fairfield was not very big at that time. It only extended from Illinois Street in the south, Kentucky Street in the north, Pennsylvania Street in the west, and Washington Street in the east. It was a pretty small and quiet town. The only exciting thing about the town was that Highway 40 intersected it. To pass time, Andy biked, skated, and went to the movies. Once having huge dreams of hitting it big, Andy sold books. He even worked “in the fruit” during summertime.
The Great Depression was one of the events that swept the country during the time Andy was growing up. He was pretty aware of it. Fortunately, he and his family did not have to worry. His parents worked hard to provide everything that they needed and the family survived.
In his senior year of high school, Andy wanted to join the navy. However he couldn’t. Being a minor still, he needed a signature of release from his mother, who did, in fact, refuse to sign it. Strangely, a day after getting his diploma from high school, his wish was granted. He got a letter from the navy stating that they were taking him in.
Around the time that Andy joined the navy, World War II began. He ended up in Japan. There, he worked as a minesweeper and as a mechanic. As minesweeper, he and his crewmembers cleaned up any mines that were dropped in the ocean. Doing that helped other ships cross through safely. At the end, Andy was also able to go home safely. Overall, joining the navy and being part of the war opened his eyes to realize that he was born to do mechanical things. Andy retired from the navy as a third class.
Life goes on. This goes the same for Andy. During the war, he met the love of his live, Beth. After the war, they married and continued to live together happily. They have one child.
As for Andy, after the war, he did all sorts of things. He became a motor machinist. He worked for United Airlines. He and his wife opened up a natural foods store and ran it for about a decade. He also joined the Highway Patrol. That was his last job. He retired in 1986.
As a retired person, Andy continues life by enjoying life. He and his wife love to travel. They have been to several places in Europe. For a hobby, he restores military antiques. Life is not always about enjoying for oneself. Andy also finds time to help others out by giving back to his community.
As a veteran, people can go up to Andy and ask him all sorts of questions because he has lived a long time and has seen life. For instance, when asked what is the greatest invention of the last 100 years Andy said that the computer was. With the computer, one could do so many things faster and more easily.
Taking down a stroll down memory lane, for Andy, life was spent greatly. He loves life and enjoys it to the fullest. If Andy could pass any advice to the new generation about life in general, Andy said, “Plan ahead. Life is going to give you surprises. Go to school. Find something you like. Be happy.”