Author Topic: For Gus: My grandmother's memories  (Read 2668 times)

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Offline Martok

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For Gus: My grandmother's memories
« on: May 22, 2012, 01:39:48 AM »
Well I finally got around to discussing with my grandmother (the one I visited this last weekend after I attended critter's funeral) her memories of the First World War.  She doesn't remember much from that time, as she was only a little girl (she had just turned 8 when the Armistice was signed), but there were two memories that have stuck with her: 


1.)  Her father had a hired man named Sven (she thinks) helping around the farm during the spring & summer, who went and joined the army.  My grandmother remembered thinking at the time that she would never see him again, because soldiers always died.  (Such was the reasoning of a young girl in early-20th-century rural Minnestoa.)  So she was very surprised when he returned less than two years later, apparently hale and unharmed. 


2.)  My grandmother was at school when news of the Armistice came in.  This memory was somewhat more vivid for her because her mother burst into the schoolhouse (which you *never* did -- you always knocked first!) announcing it had been signed.  Her parents had just returned from visiting the town (the family lived on a farm several miles northeast of Spring Grove) where news of the Armistice had only just arrived. 

Apparently, church bells began ringing all over the countryside soon after, and went on for some time.  My grandmother said you could even hear the bells (albeit faintly) from town.  She doesn't remember if their family specifically celebrated or anything, but she does vaguely recall everyone being in a rather festive spirit the rest of that day. 



That's pretty much it, at least in regards to memories specifically related to the war.  My grandmother has talked quite a bit about her early life (including and especially her childhood) in general, though, and I've long found her to be a font of fascinating historical tidbits.  Her stories really help give one a sense of what life was like back then. 

Even better, her mind -- for all that she complains it isn't nearly what it used to be -- is an intelligent, organized, and highly-perceptive one, and subsequently she does a marvelous job of relating these stories in a way younger generations (including myself) can both understand and appreciate.  I consider myself very lucky to still have her around! 


"Like we need an excuse to drink to anything..." - Banzai_Cat
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Offline LongBlade

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Re: For Gus: My grandmother's memories
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2012, 06:50:48 AM »
Thanks, Martok. It's good to get what we can from them while we can.

Offline Gusington

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Re: For Gus: My grandmother's memories
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2012, 08:36:23 AM »
Thanks Martok, you know I love these stories. And according to my new math your Grandma will be 102 this year! Awesome.
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Offline Martok

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Re: For Gus: My grandmother's memories
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2012, 09:07:42 AM »
^ You are correct sir.  Her 102nd birthday is the same day that Skyfall is being released in theaters.  8) 

"Like we need an excuse to drink to anything..." - Banzai_Cat
"I like to think of it not as an excuse but more like Pavlovian Response." - Sir Slash

"At our ages, they all look like jailbait." - mirth

"If we had lines here that would have crossed all of them. For the 1,077,986th time." - Gusington

"Government is so expensive that it should at least be entertaining." - airboy

"As long as there's bacon, everything will be all right." - Toonces

Offline Gusington

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Re: For Gus: My grandmother's memories
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2012, 09:12:25 AM »
Is she in it?
"I'm not even dead and I'm rolling over in my grave."

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Offline Martok

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Re: For Gus: My grandmother's memories
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2012, 09:17:27 AM »
No, my grandmother is not Dame Judi Dench (although how awesome would that be if she were?!?). 

"Like we need an excuse to drink to anything..." - Banzai_Cat
"I like to think of it not as an excuse but more like Pavlovian Response." - Sir Slash

"At our ages, they all look like jailbait." - mirth

"If we had lines here that would have crossed all of them. For the 1,077,986th time." - Gusington

"Government is so expensive that it should at least be entertaining." - airboy

"As long as there's bacon, everything will be all right." - Toonces

Offline Gusington

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Re: For Gus: My grandmother's memories
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2012, 09:43:33 AM »
I have always liked your Grandma as is :)
"I'm not even dead and I'm rolling over in my grave."

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Offline Martok

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Re: For Gus: My grandmother's memories
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2012, 11:54:37 PM »
I choose to interpret that statement at face value, and not in our usual pervy manner...  :P 


You *would* like her, though.  She is IMHO the very definition of a cool old lady. 

"Like we need an excuse to drink to anything..." - Banzai_Cat
"I like to think of it not as an excuse but more like Pavlovian Response." - Sir Slash

"At our ages, they all look like jailbait." - mirth

"If we had lines here that would have crossed all of them. For the 1,077,986th time." - Gusington

"Government is so expensive that it should at least be entertaining." - airboy

"As long as there's bacon, everything will be all right." - Toonces

Offline Gusington

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Re: For Gus: My grandmother's memories
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2012, 08:16:14 AM »
Naturally. I would never speak of your Grandma in any way other than respectfully. Now Breezy's Grandma...
"I'm not even dead and I'm rolling over in my grave."

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Offline besilarius

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Re: For Gus: My grandmother's memories
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2012, 04:52:01 PM »
For everyone, you should get your parents and grandparents to open up.
What they won't mention or bring up can be utterly amazing and surprising.
My grandmother grew up in Cripple Creek, Colorado, when it was a silver boom town.
We always knew she hated the winter, and got antsy during a driving storm, but she'd never say why.
She finally told her grandaughter that there were a number of occasions when a driving storm seemed to cause a mine to cave in.  Some of her earliest memories were being part of a bucket brigade taking buckets of earth out of a collapsed mine shaft.
In those days, mine safety was more of a hope than a reality.  The town buried a lot of miners.
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Offline Gusington

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Re: For Gus: My grandmother's memories
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2012, 08:33:40 AM »
I am lucky enough to have been raised partially by my Grandparents. Although they were tightlipped on a lot of bad things, they taught me to look at the world in a way I really appreciate...minus materialism and drama and with a focus on friends and family.

Of course they also genetically passed along to me a mess of dysfunction but what-the-hey!
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Offline Keunert

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Re: For Gus: My grandmother's memories
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2012, 02:43:42 PM »
i ll put some memories in too, sorry if i hijack this.

last weekend i went to austria with my family and taking a walk my father explained where the bombshelter was (he is born january 1940) and how he remembers the Marrocan (french) soldiers taking over the region he lived in (confiscating the car).

just before the war his parents managed a little inn when his mother fell ill and had to do surgery. at that time she became pregnant with my father and my grandfather recieved the marching order. they gave up the inn and moved to an appartment. my grandfather was first in france, later in russia and greece. when my grandfather finally returned in 1945 he had no job and began trading what he found. they went on the fields of farmers and stole potatoes to have enough to eat. but they felt lucky with the grandfather returning mostly healthy. the villages graveyard is full with dozens of fallen soldiers of my grandfathers generation.

my father told me again that the war was a no go to discuss with his father. only every now and then his father would comment on some issues. one comment was, that while in russia he frequently had seen trains full of crying poeple and that it was clear for him what these poor men, women and children had to face. he told my father that every austrian that wanted to know what happened could have seen it.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2012, 02:50:24 PM by Keunert »
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