Interesting fact about your parents?

Judy Good

My dad was a very talented man, an engineer I guess. Mainly tool and die. He was one of the people that built the machine to produce the Ford Mustang emblem put on cars. We had so many prototypes of the mustang horse at home, I mean he made book ends, lamps and things with them that we had in our home. We were so sick of looking at them LOL. Ford was very fussy about how perfect they were to be, so he took the "bad" ones home. They all looked the same to me LOL.

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aok27502

My father was in the Navy, back in the 1940s. I didn't learn until he was 87, that he started training as a pilot. At the time, they decided they didn't need more pilots, so he was shifted to something else. My dad was going to be a Navy pilot! 😳

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OklaMoni

My father was in Hitlers army. I had no idea, till I was in my 30's. He tried his best, to stay out of the Soviet's forward march, as he didn't want to be captured by them. He was only 18.

He ended up a prisoner of war, caught by the Americans.

Then, his two eldest daughters married American Solders...

Moni

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whatsayyou18

My dad landed at Utah beach and lived to tell about it. Marched across Europe and saw some ugly stuff. Helped liberate a concentration camp. Last three months spent in the German Alps and he loved his time there.

My mother walked six miles barefoot in the snow every day to school and I should count my lucky stars for my good fortune. <<eyeroll>>

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marilyn_c

My mother was Jewish. She was born illegitimate...and given away when she was 4 years old and raised by Quakers.

She lived to be 94 and in her last years didn't know anyone, but the last words she said to me were, "when I was 4 years old, my mother gave me away."

She also told me her name was Emily Cordelia Julia Elizabeth Moore Jobe.

The family that raised her was Williams. I only knew her as Julia Elizabeth Williams, because she took her foster family's last name. I knew her mother was a Jobe.

I asked my brothers and sister if they had ever heard her say her name was Emily Cordelia Julia Elizabeth Moore Jobe, and they said no. But later talking to a cousin in North Carolina, who had talked to my mother and written down her history, she told me that Emily had been her little sister. But the name given to her by her mother was Cordelia Julia Elizabeth Moore Jobe...later she dropped Cordelia and Moore and took the Williams last name. Her father was named Harrison Stuart. We don't know where the name Moore came from. Harrison Stuart was a married man, so maybe her mother gave her the name Moore to protect him.

It is just odd that she never told any of us her name. We all knew the story of her being given away. She talked about her childhood a lot.

She was born in 1904, delivered by a midwife, and had no birth certificate until she was ss age. She was always Julia Elizabeth to us.

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Yayagal

So sorry for your Mom.

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Yayagal

My Dad came to America from Scotland. He was a performer and my Mom had a radio show of her own as a singer. They met at a Highland game and got married. We had music and art in our lives and it continues on. My Dad could make anyone laugh and my Mom sang but could decorate, make clothes, have hundreds of smiles for everyone. We were the happiest family, our legacy is faith and fun.

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Alisande

I love this thread already!

My dad's parents were opera singers. My grandfather traveled with a grand opera road company, and when my father was very young my grandmother went back on the road as well. They put my dad choir school (boarding) at St. John the Divine in NYC. He had blonde curls and a lovely boy-soprano voice, and he led the cherub choir into the church on Sunday. He was miserable there, though, and wanted so badly to come home. When he grew up he became an avid photographer, leaving me a wonderful legacy in negatives and prints. I have digitized thousands of them.

My mother was his favorite model. She was an artist and talented seamstress, very kind, and lots of fun to be with. She was one of those people everyone loved. She died two weeks after her 38th birthday from cleaning a rug with carbon tetrachloride (no longer sold for that purpose).

Here's my dad at choir school when he was a little older. Third row, far right. Blonde curls. :-) And one of my mom having some fun with a costume.





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nicole___

My mother was an excellent seamstress. She'd buy the latest Vogue magazine and make the cover outfit for herself. Some of my best childhood memories are of ME laying under the fabric rack, waiting for her to decide if she was buying the REAL mink fur trim or the sheepskin trim dyed to look like mink. My barbie doll always got a new outfit when she did, made out of the scrap fabric. After 21 years, she divorced my alcoholic father and got a job making Jeep tops, sewing.

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littlebug zone 5 Missouri

My grandfather was a mean old man that didn’t like kids. I didn’t know him well and saw him only a couple of times a year because we lived in another state. He died when I was a teenager.

I happened to visit with a man I vaguely knew on our area walking trail a few years ago. His ancestors and mine immigrated from New York to Missouri in the mid 1900’s. He asked me if I knew my grandfather helped rob a bank back in New York!! WTH!! Apparently when Grandpa was young, he held the escape horses while his friends nabbed the money.

Well, as a matter of fact, I did NOT know that. 😳

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Annie Deighnaugh

My dad was a tool and die maker and later an inspector. He worked on the heat shield on John Glenn's first space capsule.

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Kathsgrdn

My dad was in the Navy. He was in the Korean Conflict and Vietnam war. He didn't talk about any of it but he did tell me once that he was there during the explosions of the atomic bombs in the Pacific ocean. He told me around the time he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma when he was 72. He was one of those sailors on the deck of a ship. I had no idea. He also told me a lot of his friends died of that and other cancers because of their exposure to the radiation and chemicals in Vietnam. He was a radioman later in his Navy career and my brother got his service records before he passed away last year. A lot of it is blacked out. After all these years I don't understand why.

My mom and dad met in Yokahama Japan when my dad was stationed there. She could sew anything and made all of our clothes until we were in high school. She also picked up a lot of ways to make food from other people she met all over the U.S. and could make anything taste good. I don't think she ever used a recipe but every time she made something it tasted the same every time. She also loved to gamble. Nevada was not a good choice when picking a place for my dad to retire. When I went to Japan my cousin told me when my mom came to visit in the 80s he had to take her every day to play pachinko.


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Suzieque

My dad was one of 3 Navy men to survive a bombing one of the times they were in a camp on land. Several were killed as they ran to the bomb shelter. My dad and two others had grown tired of running to the bomb shelter every few hours at night so stayed in their bunks. Those running to safety were all killed. A very emotional story that he didn’t share with me until near the end of his life.

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glenda_al

All I can say is WOW! Love this thread.

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patriciae_gw

My mother could fix anything. My father learned some electronics in the military and thought he was qualified to fix the TV. He would take it apart and lay all the bits out on the floor, get a headache and go take a nap. My mother would not only put it all back together, she would fix it. She could read wiring diagrams and replace elements on the stove or the timer on the washer, repair our watches or cobble together a new one from parts of the old ones. She fixed our music boxes, was a good seamstress with bad taste, and so on. She was completely self taught.My dad got the credit for fixing the TV every time though.

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bpath reads banned books too

My father and my husband’s father had vastly different WWII experiences. My dad graduated from high school at the end of the war, was drafted, and shipped across the Pacific for the Occupation. En route, he was standing in the chow line when an officer asked him “Private, do you like ice cream?” He answered Yes Sir! He was pulled from the line and spent the crossing making ice cream for the brass that was also traveling on the ship. He got to eat some, of course.

DFIL was in the Polish army, so he started the war as a POW. Over the course of the years, he and a buddy escaped, were recaptured, and escaped again. Ultimately made it, with the help of the underground, to Spain, where the underground sent them to England to join the DDay invasion preparations.. He was part of the wave that crossed the channel in August and went on to liberate the Netherlands.

DFIL had a good story, but I’d rather have been in Dad’s shoes.

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whatsayyou18

bpath, that's an amazing story!!


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liira55

My parents were from Sicily. My father was in the Italian Army and was a prisoner of war. He survived on potato skins. He was Mussolini's body hanging upside down after he was shot and killed. My parents met at one of my dad's brothers wedding. They married in 1950 and had 3 children in Sicily. My dad left for Canada in 1956 to Montreal. He and his brother were working and saving to buy a grocery store, but the 3rd man who was in on it stole all the money and took off. My dad heard about a small Northern Ontario town that was hiring for their Iron Ore mine. He saved enough money to send for my mom and three siblings in 1959. We found the ticket from the ship for the 4 of them that docked in Halifax, $594.00 was the cost. From Halifax, they took a train to a small town called Franz since the TransCanada highway wasn't opened yet. When they arrived in Franz and my mom saw all the bush and trees and very little homes, she said Oh God, he brought me to the end of the earth. It was by the Grace of God that they were able to build a house with only $13.00 in the bank and by that time my dad was 47 years old and consider to old for a mortgage, so he had to apply with a high interest rate company. In 1963 he was paying 13% interest on his mortgage. My dad worked shift work underground in the mine til he retired in 1981 and my mom was a chamber maid at a local hotel. After they both retired, they spent Oct-May in Sicily. They barely spoke english, my dad never learn how to drive a car, walked everywhere. Another interesting fact is that my dad always told us he was born on Jan 1st, 1917, but this birth certificate said Jan 3rd. We always celebrated it on the 1st. I think back in that day, they sent the older siblings to register births, so they might have registered him on the 3rd. My sister and I were both born in Canada. My parents and older siblings became Canadian citizens in 1967. Dad died Jan 1st 1992 and my mom followed Jan 10 1993.

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seniorgal

As I read these interesting stories I realized that all of them are for the generation that followed mine. The great depression and WW2 were my generation!!! So I fit in with your parents. OH, the joy of being OLD!!!!

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

seniogal, the stories that you have shared with us about your life have been fascinating. What can you tell us about your parents?

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Annie Deighnaugh

DH's parents were half a generation ahead of mine...his mother used to tell me about them sneaking into speakeasy's during prohibition with passwords to get in and such....she said the stuff was awful...no idea what they were serving and it tasted like gasoline.

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bpath reads banned books too

Liira, oh, my, I had to look it up on the map, and yes, your father took the family to the end of the earth! After the war, DFIL and others of course couldn’t go home, so they were granted British citizenship. But there wasn’t much work, so after he met and married DMIL, they too emigrated to Ontario.

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artemis_ma

Dad enlisted in WWII. He tells the story that he was asked if he wanted to go to the South Pacific or the North Pacific. He hated hot weather, and so chose North. Just about everyone in his group that chose South didn't survive.

He was a radio operator on a ship (even though he was Army, not Navy). He spent some time over on the Russian side of the Bering Straights, and then in the Aleutian Islands. He never really saw combat, after all. Well, not really. When the ship he was on arrived at one Aleutian Island, the natives fired on the ship. Turns out that the previous ship that had left had members aboard that had taken unwanted liberties with some of the Inuit women there. Understandably, they didn't want to have anything to do with any new US ships docking at port, and so they fired upon his ship. Since it was all small ammo, I suspect the situation was fairly quickly defused. Dad also ended up on a curling team while in the Army.

His only other combat "situation" - being attacked by a Kodiak bear in Alaska. Dad won, the bear died.

Mom: she could pack anything, she could fix anything. Dad actually had little to no skills in repair or building things. His idea was to slam things around until they fit together. Or, broke. Mom could do it, however. She did it quietly, and it was done. She attended college and majored in dietary health. Although she never got to use this particular skill on a professional level.

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artemis_ma

Oh, the other thing.. right after Mom and Dad married, Dad decided he wanted to move to Alaska. Alaska was very rough and ready at that point, much more so than now. Both his parents and Mother's mom staged an intervention. YOU WILL NOT DO THAT! They ended up not doing that.

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Texas_Gem

Well my parents are the age of most of you, or even younger.

My mom grew up in extreme poverty in the 60s in the Texas Panhandle. They had an outhouse, no indoor plumbing. They had a garden and many times, that was the only food they had. They would get excited if they could afford to buy a can of spam.

She was kidnapped when she was 3 years old, an FBI agent was the one who found her hidden under a bus seat in New Mexico. I still have the newspaper articles about her kidnapping.

Her dad was an abusive alcoholic. After her mom died when she was 10, she went to live with her oldest sister in a slightly better environment. She met my dad at church, they were high school sweethearts.

He was the opposite of her family. An all American boy scout. Respectful, polite, came from a stable middle class family.

They got married when they were 19 years old.

They will celebrate their 42 anniversary this year.

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Anglophilia

My mother won 2nd place in the national Atwater Kent voice competition when she was 19. Until she went to NYC for the finals (representing the state of Arkansas), she had never before been out of Washington County Arkansas. This was in 1927. Off this independent and adventurous lady went to Philadelphia to Curtis Institute of Music, a 4 year scholarship being 2nd prize. She only stayed 2 years - never would talk much about it - but I have a feeling a failed romance may have been the reason she left..she went to Chicago and had her own 15 minute radio show on WGN, singing light classical music.

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raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

My father and uncle last saw their father when Dad was about 8 years old - 1929 or so. Abandoned or kicked out, I've heard both. Grandma managed, working as a secretary with the help of her mother to share expenses and child care, but, when her mother passed in 1931 and with the depression going strong, it became harder to get along. She told me that she went to her (ex) FIL - who was quite well off at the time - to ask for money to buy food for the boys but was refused. In the end she placed them in the local orphanage as they were malnourished and she couldn't support them. However, she would come to see them in the evenings after their dinner.

They both stayed there until they graduated high school. Dad then was accepted into the Civilian Conservation Corps and posted to Montana, where he worked on a fire crew. A new environment for a "city boy" and he had very fond memories of his time there. Part of his pay was always sent home to help support his younger brother. When his tenure with the CCC ended, he used the credits and money he had earned to enroll at university. Joined the Army Air Corp, which helped pay for dental school. After graduation he was posted to the Aleutians and had a pretty uneventful time there - he did mention that there were some Japanese POWs there for a time.

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tjkeen

Don't have a story to share but wanted to express how much I have thoroughly enjoyed reading each and everyone's that shared. Thank you.

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happy2b…gw

As I was reading and enjoying the stories, I was thinking about what I would contribute to the discussion. My father was a very scrappy street kid born in 1915. His father placed him, when he was 2, and his infant sister in the Foundling Hospital in NYC. His father never recognized the baby sister as his own daughter. My father had 3 older brothers who were able to stay with the father. My great grandmother remarried and had other children. His father did take him home from the Foundling Home from time to time but never the sister. It was heartbreaking for my father not to feel home anywhere. At a very young age, unhappy and feeling abandoned, he hit the streets. He rode the rails, played craps and won, and lived by the seat of his pants and wiles. Once when running, but slipping, alongside a train to hitch a ride, a hobo reached out and grabbed him to pull him aboard., probably saving his life. My father was grateful his entire life.

My father also served in the CCC in Walla Walla, Washington. He never described what he did there, but he sure did like saying Walla Walla, Washington. I wish I knew more about his time there. He enlisted in the army- WWII. He was a radioman in Iceland. He did serve in Europe but after D-Day. He took the last ship home from France after the war. He delayed coming home because he had pocketfuls of money from shooting craps, but I think he was not permitted to bring large sums of money home. He played craps all the way home and made it and more back.

My father and uncle, who married my mother's sister and came from a loving family, were best friends since they were 12-13 years old. After my father passed away, my uncle told me that my father taught him to read for which he was grateful. My father's exact words, "Hey, Sam, you can't be a bum for the rest of your life".

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seniorgal

Well, Rhizo, since you asked--

My father was was 44 and my mother 27 when they were married in 1921. Among my keepsakes is a receipt from the Morrison hotel in Chicago where they spent their honeymoon.

Dad had a general store, a grain elevator, and a stockyards. We lived above the store. The family also had a farm about a quarter mile from the store building.

I have no doubt that my father was deeply in love with my tall, beautiful mother. She had kept a box of the letters he sent her. How I wish I had broken a promise and read them!

The depression years and the severe drouth of the late twenties and early thirties severely impacted our businesses. Eventually the businesses closed and dad became a farmer. We lived through some very hard times, but survived. I was the oldest of seven children, I had 5 brothers.

Education was valued in our Irish family- we ended up with 3 college professors, the president of a large food company, and the sales manager of a machinery company. My mother and all of my aunts and one uncle had been teachers. My paternal grandfather and grandmother came here from Ireland when they were children.

One thing that I still remember is seeing my father kneel down at bedtime to say his evening prayers.

I'll quit now-- this subject has been on my mind as I am writing a biography of my father.


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Alisande

I, too, am fascinated with these stories. Thanks for starting this thread, Judy.

Happy2b, what became of your father's baby sister?

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happy2b…gw

The baby sister grew up in the orphanage. She married and had one daughter. She and my father stayed in contact but were never as close as they could have been. She never sought to have a relationship with her father's family as she never knew them, however, my father did and that kept them apart. She blocked them out and had no desire to talk or hear about them. She, on the other hand, was closer to her step siblings than my father who knew them but did not have a relationship with them. The times I met her she was warm and friendly.


The situation definitely hurt my father and his sister. My father seeking a place in his family and wanting to belong the same as his older brothers, longing for his mother but not able to be with her since her husband could not afford to support him and his own children.


As for the sister, she mostly accepted her orphan status, but was more alone than could have been if my father had been able to align himself with her more.


The mystery is whether the sister is my grandfather's child or not. My father believed that she is, but this other man definitely was in the picture soon after she was born if not before. But I do not see how my grandmother could have had a rendezvous with another man- she lived in the same tenement building as her parents-in-law and two sisters-in-law., and had 4 sons ages 1 - 10 years old.


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pekemom

My father married my mother and her brother married my father's sister.

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jemdandy

My father's birthday is Jan. 1, and his father's birthday is also Jan 1. These are easy to remember but what's the odds of this happening?

My father was inducted into the Army in 1917 for WW1. He trained at Camp Pike, Arkansas and was stationed in central France. There he witnessed miserable conditions in the field hospital. The surgeons ran out of morphine and amputations reverted to conditions seen in the US Civil War (1861-1865). The lack of pain killer did not stop necessary amputations. He saw 2 to 4 men hold screaming patients down while a limb was removed. This experience gave him great fear and loathing of Army hospitals including later stateside VA hospitals. Late in his life, he had little money and developed a cardiovascular and lung problems, he was entitled to treatment at a VA hospital but refused to go. His aversion to Army hospitals had a life long effect on him. His memory of field hospitals during the War was too vivid.

Backing up in time upon his discharge from the Army in 1919, he went to Oklahoma to bunk at his Aunt's place and try to build a life for himself. At that time, the new state of Oklahoma was building roads and he took a job on a road crew. His Aunt threw a barn dance party and it was there that he met an Oklahoma gal who would become my mother. Their first domicile was a log cabin on the Osage Indian Reservation. For about 4 years, they leased land from the Native American Reservation before disaster struck. While traveling to town to shop, the cabin burned destroying everything they owned. The only possession they had was the clothes they were wearing.

My mother told me that when they first met, he was "shell shocked". If they were taking a walk in the woods and he heard a stick snap, he'd instantly freeze and in loud whisper say, "Listen!" The fear and measures of survival lingered after the war was over and he was on home ground.

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Texas_Gem

Pekemom- the same kind of thing happened with my mom's family!!

She was the youngest of 6, an "oops" baby. Her siblings when she was born were:

17 yr old sister

16 yr old sister

12 yr old brother

10 yr old brother

9 yr old brother


The 17 yr old sister and 16 yr old sister married brothers. So their children were all double cousins.


Interestingly enough, oldest sister was pregnant at the same time as her mom (my grandma with my mom). My mom is only a few months older than her nephew. Talk about a real life father of the bride moment!!!


She grew up with nieces and nephews as "siblings". I grew up calling most of my cousins "aunts and uncles" and their children were my "cousins".


As a teen/young person, I would normally draw out a family tree if I was trying to explain my family dynamic to friends.


I called my aunt (17 yr old sister) Grannie, her kids (my cousins) aunt and uncle and their kids (my 2nd cousins) cousins.


Families are interesting!!

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marilyn_c

Same here, Texas Gem. My mother was 42 and my father, 43 when I was born. My sibrings were grown and gone from home when I was born. My sister had a son 11 months older than me, and a daughter, 11 months younger than me. They were like a brother and sister to me. My brothers were in the service...Army and Air Force.

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Annie Deighnaugh

Mother had a brother

Father had a brother

Father's brother married a woman whose sister married mother's brother

So all my first cousins are first cousins.

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gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

My parents had a very interesting background....at least compared to the parents of my friends as I was growing up :-) And interesting enough that my older brother is compiling a book from the stories the have told us and written memorabilia.

Both were born British citizens but as colonials, my father in South Africa and my mother in Japan (her father owned a lumber mill). My mother lived through the great Yokohama earthquake of 1923, the family relocated to Shanghai, China, she was sent to boarding school in England but contracted scarlet fever and was returned home to recuperate via the Trans Siberian Railway.

My father served in the 1st Rhodesian Rifles during WW1, was an Olympian runner in the 1920 games and subsequently went to England where he received his chartered accountancy degree. He then worked in various managerial positions for British colonial companies located across Asia.

They met in Shanghai and married. Life for Europeans in Shanghai at that time - and there was a massive European settlement - was pretty plush. Big houses, lots of servants and a pretty much nonstop social life. Both my brother and sister were born in Shanghai. But as WW11 loomed, my dad was concerned about the safety of his family and relocated them to California. He went back to Shanghai to close up the house and business but his timing was off and he was taken prisoner by the Japanese, as were almost all of the Europeans/westerners living there, including all the rest of my mother's family.

He spent 3 years in the prison camp and my mother had no word of him (or the rest of her family) for several years and assumed she was both a widow and an orphan with two small children to raise in a foreign country!! She finally received word from the Red Cross and my father was finally repatriated via Australia and a US act of congress allowing him to reenter this country. I was born after this :-)

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Judy Good

This is an article about my dad regarding the Sandy Hook school shootings a few years back. I wrote a story and it was on the front page of our newspaper. Interesting read about my Dad.

https://www.hollandsentinel.com/article/20121218/NEWS/312189864

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Uptown Gal

Thank you for sharing that, Judy....I am proud of him too.

(a former Michigander....from SouthCentral MI).

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Michele

My father was born 1925. My mom in 1929. In Brittany. The families were very humble farm people in the first place but the war made things very tough.

Many of them immigrated. My parents came with their first born son (born in 1950) through Canada. My aunt and uncle were there working on a farm. They didn’t like it. They decided to move onto nyc by way of Detroit. There was work in the restaurants for the men and domestic work for the women.


Growing up they had to learn French in school. My grandparents spoke only a few words. They spoke Breton. The French always looked down upon Bretons. They were punished in school if they were heard speaking the language. They were forced to wear cowbells around their necks if they were caught. Imagine that. My mother took that nonsense more to heart. Not my father.

He became a head chef back in the heyday of the fancy French restaurant in nyc. My mother worked for a few different families. Early on for one of the Guinness heirs. My mom and two of my aunts worked 8 hour shifts so one of them was always there.

My father taught my mother how to cook all the fancy recipes so she would cook for parties as well as clean. She would drag me along when school was closed and the employers weren’t there. I would roam around. (I was an extremely well behaved kid. I never touched a thing. I remember being afraid to) I know this is when I began to be aware of decor. I couldn’t get over what I saw. I digress.


My sister was born in Canada in ‘52 They had my other brother in nyc in ‘54. Tragically my oldest brother died at six. Six years after that I was born.

My father was one of thirteen that survived to adulthood. My mother one of six.

You ready for this??

My mother’s only sister married one of my father’s brothers. Two of my father’s sisters married two of my mom’s brothers. That’s not all. My mom’s oldest brother married a woman who’s sister married one of my dad’s brothers. Is your head spinning yet? Mine is. Of these two women, their brother married one of my mom’s cousins. I think that’s it.

Sadly, my wonderful, loving father passed when I was 20. I’m grateful it was him, even if it was way too short a time. My mom will be 91 on March 1. I’m her caregiver. She lives nearby. I just help her be able to continue doing that. For now.

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salonva

This thread is fantastic. (and this is partly why I am reading this and NOT the book I am meaning to get back to). Each story is a gem. Thank you all for sharing.

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sjerin

You know, this thread makes me wish I had talked to my parents more about their younger lives. They were both born just after WW1 and suffered through the Depression, so my mom in particular, didn't like to bring back those memories. My dad had a tough family life and died when I was 18, so I didn't think to ask him many questions before that. I do know he joined the Navy during the war so he wouldn't be drafted into the army; he was some kind of radio operator on a ship and played a sax in a band in Hawaii for a bit--I wish I knew more about that. My mom worked for the army in Seattle and spent a little bit of her paycheck on a TWO-pound box of chocolate at the end of the month. The girl was tiny and loved chocolate. Thanks for handing down the second part of that statement, Mom.

Judy, that is some story! Actually, I've enjoyed all these little stories. Our forebears sure were a tough bunch, weren't they?

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

Amazing thread. Thank you for the wonderful stories.

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Debby

When my mother was five years old, she walked for miles alone during WWII in The Netherlands to try to find food for her parents and sisters. My dad at 7 years old, had to stand and watch the SS beat the living out of his father when my grandfather was caught as an underground soldier during the same time. My dad was told, shed one tear and we will kill him. My parents moved to Canada in 1959 with 2.5 children and $80 didn't know the language and had no idea what they were getting themselves into. FF close to 61 years later, they're retired and travel the world. They truly know how lucky they are to be alive and to cherish everything and everyone. They came a week away from dying of starvation when the war ended and still can't believe the wonderful life they've lived.

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SEA SEA

These stories are wonderful. Thank you for sharing them. I've enjoyed each and every one.

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raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

I love how these personal stories illustrate life in the last century. So many of us now regret not asking more (I regret not writing stuff down, never realizing I'd forget). And for many of our parents, they didn't think the details of their lives were worth remembering or telling - but wouldn't it be interesting to hear about what foods your Grandma typically bought in 1919?. Perhaps we should start a habit of jotting down bits of our own lives that illustrate our times.

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Elmer J Fudd

raee, if you're interested in the food scene of yesteryear, read "The Food of a Younger Land" by Mark Kurlansky.

I'll omit the details of his sources, which are an interesting side story, but the book contains "articles" that were written as part of a Depression era "make work" project for writers, to document food practices and eating habits of different parts of the US. It was a time when food was regional, seasonal, and the interstate highway system didn't exist so people ate only what was locally available to them.

Speaking of Kurlansky, his books on Cod and the often related stories in Salt were very enjoyable.

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nickel_kg

(Elmer and Raee, that's an area of interest for me too, and yay! my library has a copy of "Food of a Younger Land"! I look forward to reading it, thank you!)

I like everyone's stories and I try to participate, but my parents were pretty ordinary. Born in late 1920s/early 1930s to families that had immigrated in the early 1900s. Raised in the Depression years, but with love and enough food so they were never in peril. Dad graduated high school and joined the Army in spring of 1945, so never saw combat. Mom graduated from college but in the early 50's, job opportunities for women were such that our family was better off with her staying home and keeping house.

Tenuous claims to fame: Mom once met Trigger (Roy Roger's horse), and Dad was in the Army Air Corps as it stood up to become its own service, the Air Force.

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whatsayyou18

Debby, your parents were Dutch? We lived in the Netherlands in the 90's and our Dutch friends would express continued appreciation and gratitude for the American involvement, thanking US. We'd state the obvious...that we couldn't take credit...but they wouldn't have it, lol!

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Ladydi Zone 7A NW BC Canada

My father, a Canadian soldier, fought on the beaches on DDay. He was hit with shrapnel in the head and woke up in a VA hospital (a psychiatric ward, or loney bin as he would say) 6 mths later. When he was finally discharged, they listed on his medical papers that he was not responsible for what he may do. He often brought that up when we were misbehaving HaHa! He was very intelligent and I loved him dearly. He would never let my mother (his war bride from England) do something he wasn't ready to do himself. I was so proud of him and hate that he had to work his heart out (literally) until he passed away at 83 yrs old.

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marilyn_c

Here is a funny story about my mother. Excuse me, if I have told it before.

My mother had to go into a nursing home but my husband or I visited her every day. She could talk, but she didn't recognize anyone.

She asked me, "Are you married?"

I said, "yes."

She said, "Does your wife work?"

I admit, my hair was short, but not a man's haircut. I also had on makeup.

I said, "I'm not a man,

I'm a woman."

She said, "I mean does your wife work or does she keep house?"

I said, "I am a woman. I keep house."

I could tell I wasn't getting through to her, so since I wasn't wearing a bra, I lifted up my shirt and showed her my breasts.

She let out a big laugh, and said, "Well! I've never seen that before! Titties on a man!!!"

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Elmer J Fudd

Nickel and others, a bit more on the book....

There were a number of federal programs during the Depression to give unemployed folks a job. One employed writers, one project of which was to document food practices in different regions. Yeah riveting stuff at the time. The manuscripts were written and put into storage.

Kurlansky found them while researching something else. He assembled them into a book.

The writing and styles are inconsistent from one writer to another, the effort put into the works also seemed variable. There's no plot, no story, it's more like reading a documentary done in parts by different people, with little continuity from part to part. Interesting all the same, just know what you're getting into.

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sealavender

I now live in CA but am from the NY metro area originally. Evidently, my father was in the CCC's and went to sites in California and Nevada in the 1930's. I had no idea until we met up with one of his buddies in San Francisco in the 80's. His friend had nut orchards, and I had a freezer full of walnuts for the longest time.

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laceyvail 6A, WV

Some of you may enjoy these two terrific memoirs: Three Came Back--a family trapped in Borneo when the Japanese took over during WW II. And The Walls Came Tumbling Down, a young Dutch woman held as a political prisoner by the Germans making her way home after the war.


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hallngarden

All of your family experiences are fascinating. The thread has been a good book that I could not stop reading. Thanks for sharing all memories.

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fran1523

Fascinating thread. All I can contribute is that all of my grandparents came from Poland in the early 1900's My parent married during the depression and neither of them went to college. My mother's brother did go to college and another one died during WWII. They worked very hard and were very frugal and because of them I have the comfortable life i have now.

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bpath reads banned books too

Debby, my DFIL, a Polish soldier who fought for the liberation of the Netherlands under the British/Canadian command, then emigrated to Canada with his English bride, went back for reunions and commemorations. His stories and pictures of the reunions always make my eyes tear up. The processions, the local hosts, the luncheons and dinners, and, again, the processions, with “Thank You” signs on the storefronts and in chalk on the sidewalks, young parents with their children on their shoulders and with more “Thank You” signs, so that they will remember, too . . . I’m tearing up as I type. Especially at the thought that the soldiers are leaving us, so what will become of the commemorations?

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