A Glimpse Into My Family’s Past

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Yesterday was my birthday, so I went to visit my granny(on my mother’s side) and asked if we could look through old pictures of my grandpa. He passed away when I was ten but I still remember him as the single most stable, respectable male/father figure to have ever been in my life. These were just a few she had on hand but she promised to pull more out so we could go through them on my next visit.

 

They were childhood sweethearts. When he got out of school, he went into the Navy while she went into school for nursing. Although he chose not to re-enlist after his time was up, he did continue working with the government as an engineer. He worked on several classified projects that he wasn’t allowed to discuss with the family. He even helped work on parts for one of the satellites NASA sent up! My grandmother has a letter outlining his accomplishments that was sent to her after his passing(apparently the projects were declassified because enough time had passed?), I’ve asked her to see if she could find it because I would really like a copy.

 

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My grandpop joined the Navy thinking that it would be his ticket to seeing the world but never left the states during his service. So he saved and traveled a lot with my grandmother as a civilian. When I was little, he would bring home the spiciest ground peppers and sauces he could find. He loved daring me to try them and even though there were many a tongue burning, teary eyed experience, I loved rising to meet his challenges. Here he is wearing the spiciest shorts he could find on one of his trips. Look at that face, you know he knows he’s rocking it.

 

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He was an incredibly well rounded individual. Not only did he work full time, he was a Free Mason, a talented woodworking craftsman(my favorite project he ever made was a collection of fists he’d carved that were proudly showing their middle fingers, stained in different skin tones but sadly I lost these in a move many years ago), a technology enthusiast with his own computer lab in the basement, and still had time for the family. He would take them on road trips, camping, and always helped out with big family reunions. In this picture above, he and my uncle are whipping up some of his famous homemade ice cream for a get together.

 

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I love these pictures of my grandparents in their younger years. He was an engineer, she was a nurse. They didn’t have much but they knew how to make the most of what they had. I spent a lot of time with them in my early years and like to think that some of that rubbed off on me.

 

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These are my grandmother’s grandparents. So my great great grandparents? This was taken on my grandparents’ wedding day.

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And here’s the bride and groom. My grandmother didn’t have much money for a wedding dress but she found this one in a shop. It was marked down to about $20 because it was dirty, which was still a lot back then, I’m sure. But she was able to afford it and scrubbed it clean by hand. The bouquet and veil, along with most of the decorations, were handmade to save money. So it was a simple/low budget wedding but still beautiful.

 

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And here’s my grandmother with her mother. I never had an opportunity to meet her but I’ve heard a lot of great stories over the years. She lived right down the street from my grandmother and helped her raise my mother, aunt, and uncle. She was also a nurse.

Interesting fact: my great grandmother, grandmother, and mother all worked at the same psychiatric institution at some point in their lives. I would have loved to carry on the family practice but over the years, budgets have been cut, buildings have been close, and the institution is a ghost of its former self. I have been inspired by their work and do carry on the role of caring for people with physical and mental disabilities. Like my mother, I’m passionate about therapeutic recreation, art therapy, and vocational therapy.

 

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Last but certainly not least, these are my grandmother’s baby shoes. I just thought it was awesome that we still have them.

I look forward to learning more about my family’s history and hope to find more photos/stories to share.

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