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Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-26-2007, 10:20 AM   #1
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Stories from Grandma..............

My grandma is 96 years old, and she's smart as a tack. Lately, she has decided she wants us to know some of her life stories "in case one day I don't wake up"............

Story #1 When she was a little girl, she lived in Phoenicia, which I believe was the precursor to Lebanon. Her parents were farmers, and the nearest neighbors were about 2-3 miles away. In the winter, they would walk over to visit the neighbors and check in on them. The children and women would walk in a group in the center, and the men would ring them on the outside and carry torches. I asked if that was so they group would stay warm and be able to see where they were going. Her reply? "well, I suppose that was it, but we were more afraid of the PACKS OF WOLVES that would come down from the forest and occassionally catch someone and eat them"...............

Story #2: Her mother used to read the paper everyday to the kids. When she was 2, she found her mother crying uncointrollably in the kitchen. She asked her why she was so sad, and her mother said: "There's been a terrible accident, and many people died". "How did they die?", asked my grandmother. "A big boat sank". That boat was the Titanic............

Forget the Internet, screw cable, books are boring...........I need Grandma's stories.................
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-26-2007, 10:27 AM   #2
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

Wonderful story. We can occasionally catch my FIL in a lucid moment and get him to tell stories about the Great Depression, or WWII (a subject he hates to talk about).
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-26-2007, 10:29 AM   #3
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

Grandma died some years ago, but when I was about 12, visiting her for Sunday 'tea', she told me that at one time she'd worked as a midwife's assistant. Apparently it was standard practice at the time to smother (i.e. kill) new babies that obviously had something seriously wrong with them.

She said that the mothers never knew, and in any case losing a child at birth was much more common then.

We got on to this subject because of a TV news item on thalidomide deformities.

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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-26-2007, 11:40 AM   #4
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

Since my Dad was old enough to be your grandfather let me share with you a story I learned shortly before his passing. Were he alive today he would be 98.

His high school principal was a difficult person (a one high school town). The students had an active dislike of the guy. An assembly was scheduled near the end of the school year at which the principal was to speak. My father (future engineer) rigged up a bucket of white wash in the fly loft right above the speaker's podium. At the right moment he tipped the bucket. A suspension followed, but Dad proudly said that it made the paper and got the attention of the School Board. The principal was gone the next year.
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-26-2007, 11:52 AM   #5
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat
Since my Dad was old enough to be your grandfather let me share with you a story I learned shortly before his passing. Were he alive today he would be 98.

His high school principal was a difficult person (a one high school town). The students had an active dislike of the guy. An assembly was scheduled near the end of the school year at which the principal was to speak. My father (future engineer) rigged up a bucket of white wash in the fly loft right above the speaker's podium. At the right moment he tipped the bucket. A suspension followed, but Dad proudly said that it made the paper and got the attention of the School Board. The principal was gone the next year.
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-26-2007, 12:03 PM   #6
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

My Grandmother was one of the most unique people I've ever known. She was born in 1900 and move to Arizona as a child, via a small covered wagon train (I saw the pictures). She was the oldest of four sisters and they were all "characters", Lucy, Ina, Mattie and Fannie.

During WWII, she took a job as an airplane mechanic at Thunderbird field in Scottsdale, AZ, and used to sneak rides with the student pilots and instructors in those old Stearmans. As a child, (1950's) I loved to read her maintenance manuals for the engines.

I'm told that she and one of her sisters took off before the War, on a "jaunt" up to the NW. Then they and ran out of money getting home. So they developed a song and dance act and passed the hat in taverns to get home.

Year's later, probably about 1984, the extended family was together and one of her sisters, Fanny I think, told another funny story about Lucy and the elevator in the Westward-Ho hotel in Phoenix. To appreciate it you have to realize Fannie had had a stroke and picture her as a tiny little white-haired lady in a wheel chair, listing to one side. Anyway, they were just cracking us all up their stories and Fanny said,

"Lucy... do you remember that time on the elevator in the Westward-Ho dutring the War?"

Grandma said no... she didn't recollect anything about that hotel.

Well Fanny chuckled and said, "Really? Remember we were at the back of the elevator, headed up to the ball room, with those cute sailor boys standing in front of us. Then that hoity-toity sweet young thing got on and stood in front of the sailor boys"

Grandma, in the midst of her many grandchildren holds steady and says.... "No don't think I recall."

Well sweet Aunt Fanny says, "The hell you don't. And you damn well remember reaching between those two sailor boys and pinching that girl on the butt, too."

I guess Grandma DID remember, because she chuckled and said "Yeah, and she turned around and slapped hell out of that poor sailor, didn't she."

Grandma died of a stroke in 1986 while living at the Arizona Pioneer's Home in Prescott. She had been up late the night before, playing pool with the old men and developed a headache. Next morning, on the way to breakfast, she went out like a light turning off. I hope I'm so lucky.
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-26-2007, 12:06 PM   #7
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joss
My Grandmother was one of the most unique people I've ever known. She was born in 1900 and move to Arizona as a child, via a small covered wagon train (I saw the pictures). She was the oldest of four sisters and they were all "characters", Lucy, Ina, Mattie and Fannie.

During WWII, she took a job as an airplane mechanic at Thunderbird field in Scottsdale, AZ, and used to sneak rides with the student pilots and instructors in those old Stearmans. As a child, (1950's) I loved to read her maintenance manuals for the engines.

I'm told that she and one of her sisters took off before the War, on a "jaunt" up to the NW. Then they and ran out of money getting home. So they developed a song and dance act and passed the hat in taverns to get home.

Year's later, probably about 1984, the extended family was together and one of her sisters, Fanny I think, told another funny story about Lucy and the elevator in the Westward-Ho hotel in Phoenix. To appreciate it you have to realize Fannie had had a stroke and picture her as a tiny little white-haired lady in a wheel chair, listing to one side. Anyway, they were just cracking us all up their stories and Fanny said,

"Lucy... do you remember that time on the elevator in the Westward-Ho dutring the War?"

Grandma said no... she didn't recollect anything about that hotel.

Well Fanny chuckled and said, "Really? Remember we were at the back of the elevator, headed up to the ball room, with those cute sailor boys standing in front of us. Then that hoity-toity sweet young thing got on and stood in front of the sailor boys"

Grandma, in the midst of her many grandchildren holds steady and says.... "No don't think I recall."

Well sweet Aunt Fanny says, "The hell you don't. And you damn well remember reaching between those two sailor boys and pinching that girl on the butt, too."

I guess Grandma DID remember, because she chuckled and said "Yeah, and she turned around and slapped hell out of that poor sailor, didn't she."

Grandma died of a stroke in 1986 while living at the Arizona Pioneer's Home in Prescott. She had been up late the night before, playing pool with the old men and developed a headache. Next morning, on the way to breakfast, she went out like a light turning off. I hope I'm so lucky.
Great stories.....keep them coming..........
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-26-2007, 12:21 PM   #8
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

OK, this is one from my Mom (90). 

Her Mother was the family character.  She first married at 16, normal for that era, and had an infant daughter at the time of her husband's passing.  She told everyone that her first husband died as a result of the influenza epicidemic.

In the 50's my Mother happened to meet one of her Mother's old friends and the subject of my Grandmother's first husband came up.  "She told you that?  No, he didn't die of the flu.  He shot himself after loosing his crew's payroll in a poker game."

My Mom responded, "Saved Mom the trouble."
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-26-2007, 01:44 PM   #9
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by FinanceDude
Great stories.....keep them coming..........
Better still, write 'em down ! (Ok, I guess that's kinda what you're doing).
Best of all, get her to write 'em down.

We finally persuaded my Mom to let us buy her a Mac after she had a hospital
stay and was laid low awhile. And she wrote her memoir. It's amazing, especially
now that she's gone.

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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-26-2007, 02:03 PM   #10
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyShackleford
Better still, write 'em down ! (Ok, I guess that's kinda what you're doing).
Best of all, get her to write 'em down.
I've been doing that as I do the genealogy thing. Card games seem to have ended more than a few lives way back then. Great Grandpa did a stretch in the Missouri State pen for killing some guy when serious disagreement broke out during a card game.

Lucky for me that I share relatives with a lot of other people who record our family stories. Interesting stuff, like the account of how one group went to California in 1860 in a wagon train - meeting indians on the way, trials and tribulations, etc. Learning the stories and realizing "that person" was my g-g-g-great grandfather or whatever has really made history come to life for me.
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-26-2007, 02:11 PM   #11
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

financedude, your still lucid 96 year old grandma is a rare living repository. you might consider sitting with her with a tape recorder--if she doesn't mind--or better yet get her to tell her stories on video. what a great opportunity to learn about her life and your ancestors.
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-26-2007, 02:17 PM   #12
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

We never knew a whole lot about one of my grandfathers until he was in his late 80s and my cousin started quizzing him about his life. We knew he came to the US with his parents when he was fairly young and my father had memories of his grandfather.

In his old age my grandfather told my cousin that shortly after his family came to the US, his mother decided she hated it here and went back to the old country, never to be heard from again. It also turned out that my grandfather had two older sisters. He had never told anyone about them. One apparently went to Minneapolis as a young woman and became a "lady of the evening" as grandpa called her. Another "joined a cult" and moved to California. Neither sister were ever heard from again. My father was very surprised to learn that he had aunts. Probably were long dead by the time were had heard of them.
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-26-2007, 02:51 PM   #13
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

martha. you have to be careful with some of those "lady of the evening" stories. on my mother's maternal side we always heard that my greatgrandfather was a horse thief and it wasn't until we cornered my wonderfully funny great aunt in her 90s and questioned her before she died that we discovered he wasn't a horse thief at all. they just called him that because the kids didn't like him.

needless to say when we learned the truth we were all very disappointed.
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-26-2007, 05:05 PM   #14
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

One good great grandma story: she worked at the palace in england as a cook and one day took a fancy to one of the palace guards. Of course, dating another worker at the palace was strictly forbidden, but one thing led to another and they ran off together to live in canada. In fact, pretty darn northwestern canada, so I imagine someone with a long reach was verrrry upset at one or both of them. I vaguely remember her from my earliest youth as a quiet little old lady. Seeing photos of my great grandfather in his guard outfit and the two of them later on, in their 30's, obviously very much in love. Clearly they gave up a lot to be together.

My grandfather also told many a tale of finding ways to put food on the table, all confirmed by my dad. While he shoveled coal, delivered furniture and drove delivery trucks by day, he found several rather creative ways to make a few extra bucks in the evenings. For a while he did the "professional wrestling" thing wearing a mask as...The Masked Avenger! He always got stuck playing the bad guy who gets beat up in the end, as I hear thats where you start out and only the guys that have been doing it a while get to be the good guy.

If times were really tough, he'd go down to the local bar and engage in that eras version of "toughman". You put a dollar on the bar, if someone thought they could take you they'd put their dollar down next to it and the two of you would step out back. The guy who came back in got the two bucks.

Clay would regularly come home with 5-6 bucks in his pocket, which would feed the family for a week. Which is about how long it'd be before the bruising went down.

While my wife was pregnant with Gabe, I sat down and made a chronology of all the relatives and family tree information I could think of. Amazing what you can find with free public records once you have some social security numbers. I gave it to my dad and he filled out quite a bit more information, but was surprised to find that one of his brothers was only a half brother. According to the records I found, his brother Joe shared the same father but not the mother. After thinking on it a while it occurred to him that Joe had sort of "just shown up" and started playing with him and his other brothers when he was around 3, but he didnt think much of it at the time. A few phone calls and a little poking and it turned out that my grandfather had a bit of an affair and Joe was the result...Joes mother wanted nothing to do with him, so after what I imagine was an interesting conversation (and some fresh bruising) my grandmother and he took Joe in and raised him as their own. Joe had already passed away, struck by a car when he was in his late 50's in front of the boston library...and never knew.

After I showed them my family tree effort, complete with some old pictures and a few bits of information, my mother in law did the same for my wifes side of the family. So now Gabe has two looseleaf notebooks full of names, places, pictures and other tidbits to look through when he gets old enough to wonder about his roots.
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-26-2007, 05:41 PM   #15
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

One of my great-great-grandfathers left Germany for a better life but he was rumored to be pretty picky & obstinate (easy to believe from his pictures).

He got off the boat at Ellis Island and walked to Pittsburgh. Didn't see anything there he wanted to do so he walked to Cincinnati. Found a job and lived the rest of his life there. Three generations later my father found something he really liked in Pittsburgh so he married her.

We have a lengthy document written in flowery late-19th-century German that's been handed down over the years. When we finally had it translated it turned out that my GGGF had returned to Germany for a family visit and been arrested for evading the draft of the Franco-Prussian war.
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-26-2007, 06:15 PM   #16
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
martha. you have to be careful with some of those "lady of the evening" stories. on my mother's maternal side we always heard that my greatgrandfather was a horse thief and it wasn't until we cornered my wonderfully funny great aunt in her 90s and questioned her before she died that we discovered he wasn't a horse thief at all. they just called him that because the kids didn't like him.

needless to say when we learned the truth we were all very disappointed.
Could very well be, clearly there was no love lost there. I always wondered about the cult. thing. I was surprised Grandpa even knew the word "cult." Grampa was not religious and the cult could simply have been organized religion.
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-27-2007, 05:54 PM   #17
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

I once overheard my grandfather telling a story on a New Year's eve about how he met my grandmother. Apparently, they were both orphans and woke up naked on a park bench one morning after a drunken night together. He introduced himself and they ended up married.

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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-27-2007, 06:36 PM   #18
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

I am, unfortunately, the only of four brothers who really enjoys family stories. Dad always had some doozies.

Dad grew up in Jersey City, born in 1930. One day, when he was about 12, he snuck up to his cousin Mike's apartment and picked the lock on Mike's new bicycle. Showing off for some floozie (his word not mine) and really wrecked that bike. Well he snuck it back up and locked it back in it's chain. About 40 years later, at my grandparents 50th anniversary party one of his brothers laughingly said, "Hey remember when,,,,," LOL, it was the first time anybody but the two of them had ever known what heppened to Mike's new bike.

They used to go to an old stone quarry to go swimming. Of course, there were no facilities, so the way it worked was the guys stood in front of the car while the girls changed behind the car. Then they traded places. One day the girls were all in their suits and the guys were changing when the car sllipped out of gear or the brake let loose, but somehow there was this brand new '47 Ford rolling down the hill toward the quarry with all these guys in various stages of undress chasing down thehill trying to stop it. Nope, didn't make it. Worse, all of their clothes were in the car.

Every year when I make my pilgrimage to FL I pester him for more stories.
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............
Old 01-28-2007, 03:44 PM   #19
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Re: Stories from Grandma..............

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