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View Diary: *New Day* How many of your ancestors have you personally known? Take the poll (270 comments)

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  •  Stories going back generations (16+ / 0-)

    But only knew three grandparents, and one great-grandmother.  With the Mormon ancestry on my mother's side, we have genealogy going back, in some branches, a thousand years.  Simon de Monfort is an ancestor, as are "Mrs. and Mrs. Odin, Asgard".

    But, of the ones I knew, I barely knew my mom's grandfather.  I knew her mother very well, her mother's mother a bit, my dad's mom pretty well, and my dad's mom's sister well.  

    On my father's side, Big Mom was the matriarch of the family.  She had supported her family through the teeth of the Great Depression, as her husband, who had been a real estate developer in LA, was unable to work for ten years, from 1932 to 1942.  He used to get up every day, put on a suit, and go to an office that nobody visited and nobody called.  Big Mom had gone to music school in Chicago, and played the organ in theaters and churches to support the family.  Her family had sent her to Chicago from Rocky Ford, Colorado, where they were a prominent family.  She had gotten mixed up with a fellow in Rocky Ford whom they didn't like, so they exiled her to keep her away from him.  My grandfather was a traveling salesman, who met her in Chicago.  They eloped; so much for her famliy's plan.  Big Mom got her nickname (her real name was Alice) from the way she ate.  The family couldn't afford an ice-box during the Depression, so Big Mom ate the leftovers, so nothing would spoil.  I thought she was a sonderful woman.  Turns out my dad was her favorite; she was pretty nasty to the other kids.

    Granny Cook was my great-grandmother.  I don't remember a whole lot about her, aside from her size tiny) and the way she bossed around her two daughters up until the day she died, as age 99.  She had a woman who helped her in her old age.  I remember her, because she had no teeth, and bragged that her gums were so tough that she could eat steak.

    My mom's dad died while a was still a young child, so I barely remember him.  I do know that he was an alcoholic, who could get pretty nasty from time to time.

    His wife, my mom's mom, was a hero to me.  Her name was Geneva, and she asked that I call her that, rather than "grandmother".  Geneva was a bit of an odd bird, fully engaged in New Age, long before New Age existed.  She was the 9th licensed pharmacist in Arizona, and the first licensed woman, running a pharmacy in the '20s.  I found out pretty late in her life that she had been married before she married my grandfather.  Her first husband was an artist, and, like her second husband, an alcoholic.  She left him.  He called and threatened to kill himself if she didn't come back to him.  She said no, and he shot himself on the spot.  I am the youngest of three children.  When I was born, Geneva went to my mother and suggested that, since my mom already had one son, she should give my older brother to Geneva to raise, since Geneva had never had a son.  My mother declined.  After her husband died, when Geneva was in her mid-'60s, she decided to retire and to travel.  She went everywhere in the world.  Her final trip, before she got Alzheimer's, was a circumnavigational tour on the Concorde.  When Geneva died, we cremated her body, rented a sailboat, and sailed out under the Golden Gate Bridge to release the ashes in the ocean.  As my brother was shaking out the plastic bag on the waters, two dolphins surface, about ten feet away from the boat, and watched the ceremony.

    And great-aunt Hazel was a character.  She was skeletally skinny, liked her whiskey and cigarettes.  Hazel's life was a case of joy interrupted.  Her grandfather Terrence, was the patriarch of the family.  He had come over with his brother, while still a small child, from an Ireland wracked with famine.  Only he and his brother survived out of the family.  Edward died at the battle of Pleasant Hill, during the Red River campaign.  Terrence carried on, and ended up as the biggest cattle rancher in southeastern Arizona.  When he finally retired, he and his wife moved to Santa Cruz, to a religious commune.  Hazel's first fiance was killed by natives while prospecting in Costa Rica.  Terrence summoned his son out to visit he and his wife in Santa Cruz.  While his son was there, Terrence drank poison, and committed suicide.  (He had wanted his son there to comfort his mother.)  His son never recovered from the blow, and was dead a year later.  Hazel tried to recover, and actually got married to a Mr. Clark.  While she and Mr. Clark were on their honeymoon to Pike's Peak (we have a photograph of them posing at the summit), Hazel's younger daughter died suddenly.  The marriage didn't last long.  When my mother got "Valley Fever', and was kicked out of school, Hazel, who was a schoolteacher, quit her job, and tutored my mother.  Hazel was obsessed with death.  My mother tells me that whenever she had a dance to go to, she would go into Hazel's closet.  Hazel bought the nicest dresses from New York, so that she would have something stylish to wear in her casket.  After Hazel died, the  bequest she left my mother paid my college tuition.

    Happy birthday to Kimbra:

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 09:10:37 AM PDT

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