» BBTW 21
Tell us a story that is “family legend.”
Well, good grief. I frequently tell Jim that we should write up our family histories (using a pseudonym, of course) and publish it because it would be GOOD reading. I’d rather not go into most of those, though, just out of privacy for my family.* But my grandparents’ lives are, by far, the most legendary of all of our family members’. (Hey, Sisters, now that I live in Oregon it’s up to you to get Papa’s story on tape. I’ll transcribe and write up. But throw me a bone, okay?) Not sure if it counts as family legend, but here’s a couple of interesting things about my (90 year old!) grandfather.
When my grandfather (Papa) was growing up in the 20s and 30s he was on a farm outside of town. WAY outside of town. He and his siblings were able to go to school through 8th grade locally, but unless they made special arrangements they didn’t go to high school, let alone college. My great aunt had married a man and moved to the city, where they ran a grocery store. Papa and his siblings took it in turn to move off the farm, work in their sister’s grocery store, and sleep on her covered porch, just to go to high school. Lots of drive to succeed in that family!
Papa joined the army in WWII (he fought in the Battle of the Bulge!) because he didn’t want to be drafted into the Navy. He spent most of his time in Europe, and his primary duty outside of artillery was agriculturally related. In fact, he lucked out in a lot of his positions in his three years in the Army by showing a propensity for agriculture, farming, etc. Of course, he didn’t bother to tell those who out-ranked him that he was a farm boy. He didn’t want them to judge him on that alone. He just pretended to be catching on quickly.
Papa met my Nanny shortly after his return from the War, and they were married in just a couple of months. When my great uncle was home on leave he met a nice girl he really liked, who he knew to be his new sister-in-law’s sister (though he hadn’t yet met Nanny), and fell in love with her. She was quite a bit younger than him, but a few years later they got married. (Isn’t it the dream of every close sister duo to meet nice brothers and get married?) So Frances and Helen Maxwell both married Smith boys. My mom, her brothers, and their cousins call each other “double cousins” because they are squared on one side. (Helen and Nanny had a brother, too, so they all had regular cousins, too.) Weirdest thing to try to put together when you’re a kid.
My sweet Papa with his great grandchildren (mine being a brat, obviously) and my mom last September.
*I guess the real “legend” in the family is that Jim and his brother (and now Eriana and me) are the only family members with our last name. It was a fake name, but it was on their birth certificates. Kind of fun and crazy. (I won’t go into the whole story on the blog, but I’d be happy to convey it to you in real life.)