07 November 2007

Day 7

So, going back before WWII, and to how grandpa came to be the fun guy he is. Obviously much of that came from his father's German side. This is because his mother, a Scottish immigrant who came over BY HERSELF at the age of 13 was a total prude (which also explains how he came to marry my stuffy uptight grandmother - probably some residual oedipal issues). She lived to be 94, but I was only about 4 at the time she died, so I only have vague memories of visiting her at the presbyterian home she lived in - long driveway, lots of trees, big Victorian looking houses, a sunny sitting room with other old people, and me dancing in circles. Her nickname (not to her face of course) was "Queen Annie" because she just had that air about her. My uncle tells the story of how visiting her at the nursing home once she was coming down the stairs and didn't notice that her stretched out with no elastic left underware was falling down below the hem of her skirt, and how he had to chase after his grandmother and pull up her underware and she never noticed. Now her mother, my great-great grandmother, worked for a photographer in Glasgow, so my grandfather has a portrait taken of her by this photographer in the 1880s. It's amazing. I wonder if that's where my love of photography might have come from...

Now the fun loving Germans: Granpa's father was from Hambourg, and if he wasn't born there, then his parents (my great-great grandparents) were, but I think he was. Now imagine: You are German immigrants, in New York, and the stupid US government declares prohibition. Evidently grandpa had some aunts who always had dates during that time thanks to a wicked family bathtub brew. What's funny is that my family are all staunch conservatives who don't drink, swear, dance, and my mom likes to proclaim that she's never seen an R rated movie. Now I only found out recently that my grandfather was a life long smoker till the day my dad was born and he quite right there. Grandpa was in the navy, he was half German, I *know* he was a beer drinker back in his day. I think my brother and I inherited the most from grandpa than from other relatives...that bit of a rebelious streak that's not really a rebelious streak, it just is in light of the rest of the family. We also got the German blond hair and blue eyes from him. I always thought of myself as pretty all-American looking, till I had an overnight layover in Frankfurt and kind of freaked out that so many people looked like we could be related.

But I digress. I think I've covered the main highlights of grandpa. Tomorrow we'll start on grandma, who isn't all that exciting herself, but whose parents rock.

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