Recently my nephew graduated from high school. Yes, he worked hard, got terrific grades, participated in almost every sport offered at his high school and will be attending Purdue University in the fall. We are all very PROUD of his accomplishments! It was a time for celebration and of course a gathering of family and friends. My uncle and his wife from Minnesota stopped in for a while and we chatted. Of course, as the afternoon lingered, stories were told. My favorite kind of stories too! Yep, family genealogy stories. The kind of stories that brings your family history alive! So, I thought I would share a little of what my uncle so vividly brought to life about my great grandparents Bert and Eva Hanaway. My great grandparents were dirt poor! They raised eight children and were really dirt poor! But, poor doesn't mean they weren't a happy family! My great grandfather apparently had a real sense of humor and loved to tell jokes. Some people have compared him to Will Rogers. Bert and Eva lived in the northern part of Indiana, close to the Kankakee River, which to this day floods horribly in the spring time. They never had indoor plumbing, can you imagine? In the middle of the 20th century, they had no indoor plumbing. No showers or baths, and worse yet....trudging to the outhouse in the bitter winter weather---ugh! They had a water pump and three wells on their property. Bert and Eva were farmers. They had 15 acres of farm land. My great grandfather used a plow pulled behind two mules. Back breaking labor walking behind two mules to plant the crops. (My uncle had a hip replacement five years ago. He is completely recovered now. I wonder what condition my great grandfather's back and hips were in working behind a plow his entire life?) Those crops got planted and harvested without the luxury of a tractor! Bert usually had three hogs, and each fall one was slaughtered for food for the family. My uncle told a great story that when he was young and spent some time with Bert and Eva, he and his cousins (of course BOYS!) would put hay in some gunny sacks and chase the hogs and mules around the pasture so they could hop on the animals back. They would chase those animals and chase them until they could wear them down long enough to get on their back for a terrific 15 second ride! You should have seen my uncle's face when he was sharing that story. It was magic! He went on to say that my great grandmother canned everything and had a root cellar where she stored those items. My uncle said Eva had a "pickle patch." Cute picture...a pickle patch. Eva made all the food and none was wasted- on anything or anybody! My uncle said one afternoon he and his cousins took ONE ear of corn out of the corn crib and went to feed the chickens, they rubbed the kernels off and threw the kernels to the chickens. The chickens loved it! The problem was that Eva fed the chickens earlier and yelled to the kids that they didn't need to feed those chickens again. My uncle said even though she yelled to them, she wasn't mad. Kids are kids. Each Sunday, the entire family congregated at Bert and Eva's; kids, spouses and grandchildren. It was a large family for my uncle has 37 first cousins just from that side of the family! In 1953, the floods were so bad that Bert and Eva had to move out of their home and never returned. The water damage was simply too bad. I have pictures of my great grandfather in a row boat with his granddaughter Iona. He used that row boat frequently to get to the road from the house and back again. As my uncle was sharing this story, I grabbed some paper and starting writing....I was not about to let an opportunity like this one slip by....nor was I counting on my remembering everything he was telling. Needless to say....it was a great afternoon to celebrate my nephew's graduation and to share more family history! These stories are not only on my blog, but rest assured they have been added to my family tree! Thanks for sharing the memories Uncle! Keep 'em coming!
Well, well, well, I know that it has been a very long time since I have written anything on my blog. It doesn't mean I haven't been working on my genealogy, it just means that I haven't had the time to post anything about my genealogy. Besides having sunshine and warmer weather to enjoy, flowers to plant, and graduations to attend, it is BASEBALL season. My two youngest sons are on several teams, which is where I spend my "free" time. I am after all, their number one cheerleader! The last several months I have been devoting some late night "free" time researching my Polish ancestors. Just last week I finally found out when and where three great aunts were married here in Chicago. I was pretty excited to get my hands on those marriage certificates. In typical fashion, having those certificates has lead to a few more questions regarding my family history.... I have posted a number of queries on the message boards regarding my Sawicki, Wieczorek and Polus relatives. Keeping my fingers crossed someone may respond and we have a family connection! Glad to be "back in the saddle" again!
The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck
Genealogy Pox, author unknown
WARNING: GENEALOGY POX IS VERY CONTAGIOUS!
SYMPTOMS: Continual complaint as to need for names, dates and places. Patient has a blank expressions, sometimes deaf to spouse and children. Has no taste for work of any kind, except feverishly looking through records at libraries and courthouses. Has a compulsion to write letters. Swears at mailman when he doesn't leave mail. Frequents strange places such as cemeteries, ruins, and remote desolate country areas. Makes secret night calls and hides phone bills from spouse. Mumbles to self. Has strange, faraway look in eyes.
NO KNOWN CURE!
TREATMENT: Medication is useless. This disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse. Patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealogical magazines and be given a quiet corner in the house where he/she can be alone.
REMARKS: The unusual nature of this disease is that the sicker the patient gets, the more he or she enjoys it!