Interstellar Adventures

January 7, 2008

Bittersweet Surprises

Filed under: Blast from the Past,Family & Friends — by InterstellarLass @ 10:14 pm

I spent several days over my Christmas break combing through the Ancestry.com archives, researching family lines on what seemed like every branch of the tree. On my mom’s side of the family, my great-grandmother had done much geneology work before the technology age. My grandparents have her white leather-bound book somewhere in their stash.

On my dad’s side of the family, I didn’t know much except for my great-grandparents names. And I managed to make it at least 7 generations back on a couple of lines.

I knew that my uncle had been working on rescuing a scrapbook from my great-grandmother, and so after I completed a fair bit of work, I put together a tree for him and emailed it to him last night. But did I ever receive a surprise today! My uncle sent me a CD in the mail, chock full of pictures of my grandaddy from just after Christmas, along with photos of him as a baby, his family, and lots and lots of WWII memorabilia. I knew that my grandaddy had captured a few Nazi soldiers as POWs, but evidently he sent some souveniers home, including a pair of German field glasses, some medals, and what appears to be a wallet/pouch of some kind. The letters of an Army Infantryman are fairly amusing. Complaints about weather, food, an infected toe and all kinds of stuff. Evidently, my grandaddy planned to flatten the German mountains after the war so he never had to climb over them again!

Also included were some photos of my grandaddy and my cousins.  But then I found IT. The Video. And boy did I ever get a good laugh. My grandaddy sat in the back yard, watching my cousins play on the jungle gym that’s been there for well over 30 years at least, probably longer. The youngest cousin that was there is 8, and the oldest there is in his twenties. And they played side by side for a good while. Then the oldest cousin and his brother-in-law started in with some wrestling (that’s rasslin’ for you northern folks). The part that made me laugh the most though is when the two of them stopped shortly into the bout to remove their knife sheaths from their belts, lest someone get stabbed in the tussle. Told y’all I’m ‘highbrow Hillbilly’. Two of my uncles also made special appearances on camera, being silly for a few moments between my cousins flipping like gymnasts on the monkey bars.

Between the old photos and the digital video, I had laugher, tears, smiles and sighs. Some of the memories I spoke of before were there in the photos of pages of my grandaddy’s US Army sponsored walking tour of Europe and in the letters home to his mom, usually signed, I love you mommie, Bub. He traded her Singer sewing needles, procured from who knows where, for packages of cookies and handkerchiefs. He missed a battle where many men in his unit were killed or wounded because he was laid up in the field hospital with an infected toe.

I especially love the photos of my grandaddy with his sister. Their dad died when they were toddlers, and the two of them were very close growing up. All of the pictures of the two of them together in my Nana’s (their mom) scrapbook show them with their arms around one another. I have to beg and bribe my kids to hug like that.

With all that my uncle sent, I now have quite a bit more to update in my family tree.

 

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4 Comments »

  1. I have no freakin idea who any of my extended family is on my moms side. I’ll be 40 this year and I have NEVER met one of them. She claims to have 5 sisters and I know their names (first only). I wouldn’t know where to begin looking – or if I should even bother. You are lucky to have the records and I LOVE old photographs. Color me jealous…

    Comment by usedtobeme — January 8, 2008 @ 10:54 am |Reply

  2. Hello you – it’s been ages. Happy New Year and how interesting it was to walk down memory lane with you. I love these old pictures. Their faces are so full of character.

    Isn’t it fun to try and patch the jigsaw of your ancestors life together and make a clearer picture?

    Comment by Tori — January 9, 2008 @ 1:51 pm |Reply

  3. It’s great to look at old photos of family and make links with your past, also makes sene of where you;re at. I’ve become more interested in my past as I’ve got older, when I was a teen I was annnoyingly blind to all of the great things my Great Uncle was trying to pass down to my dad information wise.

    Happy New Year!

    Comment by wislon — January 9, 2008 @ 2:39 pm |Reply

  4. Very cool!! I’ve always wanted to research this stuff and it becomes so similar to a research paper I stop. I tried to ask my parent and great aunt questions about their brothers and sisters, moms and dads. But I did it when they were old and their minds weren’t as great. This info is just invaluable. Thank goodness for web sites like Ancestery.com!!!

    Comment by carnealian — January 10, 2008 @ 5:13 pm |Reply


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