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View Diary: * New Day * — Memories of Your Grandparents? (144 comments)

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  •  Great question (22+ / 0-)

    I never knew my mother's father; he died when I was 7 months old, and her mother died when I was 6, so I have almost no memory of her either, except she lived on the 6th floor of her apartment building and my sister and I loved to go out on her balcony because it seemed so high.

    My dad's parents I knew much better, because they both lived to 90; Nana was only 2 weeks from turning 91 when she passed. They lived in Ohio, while we were in Massachusetts, so we didn't see a lot of them growing up, but when they both retired and began spending 6 months in FL every year, we made regular trips to see them and enjoy the beach.

    As I grew older I really learned to appreciate Grandpa. Grandpa had left school after the 9th grade to help support his widowed mother; his father had died when he was only 7 or 8. They were very poor and I've only recently discovered, through Ancestry.com, that she actually ran a boarding house to make money after she was widowed. She died when Grandpa was only 17, so he was on his own from then on. He joined the Navy and nearly died of disease in the Philippines, leading to a lifelong phobia about hospitals. His family continued to struggle during the 30s and it was only when he got a job with the military in the build up to WWII that he had any financial stability; it was that job that took my dad's family from Massachusetts to the midwest.

    The most interesting thing I've ever learned about my grandparents, though, is that my maternal grandmother actually dated both of my grandfathers. During the 20s, when Gram was single and working in a silk mill to help pay for her younger siblings' school, she was known as the best girl dancer in town. Grandpa, the eventual father of her son-in-law, was known as the best boy dancer, and she wanted to check out the hype. The only problem was she was Catholic and he was Protestant. So she risked excommunication by sneaking into a Protestant church dance to meet him. They went on to have a summer fling, where they could only meet at speakeasies because that's the only place no one would rat them out for dating across religious lines.  She eventually married another Catholic and had 5 kids, including Ma, and was shocked to discover nearly 40 years later that her daughter's new Protestant boyfriend was the son of her former fella. I'm convinced to this day that's the only reason my mother was allowed to date him (he eventually converted so they could get married).

    A government that denies gay men the right to bridal registry is a fascist state - Margaret Cho

    by CPT Doom on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 08:06:43 AM PST

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