We can all agree that family history is important and interesting. Looking at all the census info from generations ago strengthens our ties that bind us together. The one part of our genealogy we need to put down in records before we are too old to remember are the day to day things from our own childhood and stories of our parents youth that our children would have no way of knowing.
My father spoke often about the fact that his parents divorced when he and his siblings were relatively young. His Dad moved right across the street from his Mom’s house, which made it very convenient for him to hit up both parents for a nickel to see a Saturday movie. He also had great stories of his “feats of ignorance” when serving in the Army in Germany during WWII. He laughed as he told of leading his troop of men through a field and straight into a mud bog that sunk all of them up to their shoulders. Following this huge blunder, his Officers readdressed their faith in his leadership abilities and put him in charge of vehicle care and maintenance. These men failed to estimate my father’s lack of knowledge which, when combined with his large curiosity, turned out to be a costly misstep. Having never ridden a motorcycle, my Father felt that this was a great opportunity and proceeded to wipe out a perfectly good Army issue Harley-Davidson on his first day.
My mother shared many stories about growing up during the Great Depression. The lack of food was buoyed by the fact that her step-father was in charge of the local A & P Economy grocery store. According to her, my Grandmother was able to do amazing thinks with the potatoes that were slightly past their prime. To this day, if I am picking up a certain soup or canned vegetable, I get four identical cans of each, surely learned from my Mother’s pantry hoarding – a direct response to the fear of going without that she grew up with.
One of the things that my Dad felt was wasteful was not using items of clothing until they basically fell apart. By the sixties, my mother felt that this was something that her business man husband should be taken to task for. Whenever my Mother noticed my Dad putting on a “perfectly good” holey tee shirt in the morning she prepared the troops for his arrival home in the evening. My Dad was ordered to remove his shirt and tie and his children were allowed to smother him with hugs and kisses as we reached into the holes and ripped the worn undershirt off of him with our bare hands. This is one of those tales that is not recorded anywhere but in my memory, but can surely put a personality to my children’s extended family.