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William Keyes shares personal museum, worried about future

Shares stories from WWII, to Black Sox
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Posted at 12:56 PM, Feb 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 12:56:26-05

Tucked in a quiet Annapolis neighborhood, Keyes' home looks like any other. If you look closer, you notice three large keys hanging over his front window, and an American flag posted in the front yard.

William Keyes, 95, has lived through World War II, hung out with the Black Sox, is a Buffalo Soldier, and has a lifetime of stories to tell.

"She said come on I want you to come meet Castro, so we went to the Cuban embassy up on 16th Street in Washington DC and met Castro," Keyes said.

He pointed at a black and white photo up on the far right wall of his personal museum.

In what many would think is a two car garage, is Keyes' time capsule, overflowing with memories in the form of photos, medals, flags and almost anything you can think of.

"Stuff that I've collected over the years, it came from all phases I used to go to all the baseball games," Keyes said referencing his Black Sox wall, with photos of the baseball players, gloves, and bats.

He told ABC 2 that his father owned a restaurant, that the players would come to eat after practice and games. He said they would leave baseball equipment and sign it as payment for their meal.

Other memories on the wall aren't as happy. There's pictures of him as a young military man, during WWII. He said coming home from was the worst part of that war.

He remembers losing a brother in arms, a dear friend who was African American. He saved up some money, and wore his uniform so he could get a half price train ticket to attend the funeral. 

"So I went down there to the... church yard where he had a funeral. It was devastating. To think that that guy was being put in the ground there," Keyes said disdainfully, implying his brother deserved a place in Arlington National Cemetery.

This scared him, making him aware of what could happen when his time comes.

Right now he's sharing his stories with anyone who will listen, bringing friends and anyone who will visit to his museum.

In the sign in binder there are people from all over the United States, as far away as California.

His museum has everything from a wall of awards, from his years of volunteering at local school, teaching students about history, to collages of all the things he's had a hand in. But like all good treasures, some go missing.

"I've called up some of the people to find out. Where. Are my. Pictures? But somebody hadn't brought it back.," Keyes said he's loaned things to local museums that have shut down and his things were stolen. 

He's also loaned out his treasures to others, and oftentimes they don't come back.

"I'm not going to be tied down to anything I've got to have," Keyes said, knowing he will always have his history and no one can take that away from him.

Keyes knows the clock is ticking and like many World War II veterans, their stories are fading away.

"Just say I'd like to visit, gimme a call, let me make sure I'm here," Keyes hopes to share his treasures and history before it's lost to time.