2019 Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 8: Family Photo
The Fantasy Grandfather:
I have a family reunion photo or two, but I don’t know who is in them, so rather than trying to figure it out, I decided to go with the all of the family photos I have of my Paternal Grandfather. Fortunately, I also know what year they were taken, and put them together in a kind of collage.
George has always been a kind of fantasy figure in my life. When I was a child of about 9 or 10, I had been told that he died. In my child’s mind, I didn’t believe him to be dead. I would have many fantasies about what it might be like to have a grandfather in my life, as both of mine were “dead” either before I was born or shortly before my first birthday.
The Real Grandfather:
Right around my 20th birthday, my “Fantasy Grandfather” came to life. I got a call from my father telling me that he was in the hospital in Lodi, California, with gall stones, and my Grandmother was on the way to help take care of him. I was absolutely ecstatic to find out that I was right my whole life, and that he was, in fact, very much alive. My first husband had just gotten out of the Marine Corps and was about to drag me and our eldest from Twenty-nine Palms, California to Colton, South Dakota. I was adamant that we were going by way of Lodi, California, and San Francisco, California (so I could see my dad). (Only kinda sorta out of the way.) I can honestly say there is a huge difference between the Grandfather of my fantasies and the real deal.
Meeting the Real Deal:
At the time, I had a huge respect for old people (always have), but never really knew how to do much but just sit and listen to them. Problem was, upon meeting him, we did not know each other. He pretty much just learned about me, and didn’t say very much, even when asked. Most of his responses were in the “yes” or “no” variety. In retrospect, I think it was a bit overwhelming for him. I know I had a sudden uncomfortable feeling come over me, and I suspect that I was picking up his vibes in an empathetic way. I knew he had just come home from the hospital and I didn’t want to over do it, so I kept the visit short.
The Story Behind The Story:
According to my Grandmother, My Aunt, and my father…
One day in 1941, my Grandfather walked out the front door like he was going to work at the Garage, and never came back. Allegedly, his sister, no idea of which one it was, told my Grandmother that he was dead. (Note: I say allegedly because I wasn’t there, and this is heresay.)
I later found out from my Uncle and Aunt, that he married a “second time”, (more on that in a minute), an Eva Lucille Hunt. From the obituary that they gave me (and I haven’t found again, yet), it looked to me like they had more children, besides the six that he had with my Grandmother. She died in early 1978, he was in the hospital in the latter part of 1978.
Why Genealogy Research is Important:
Since working on my family tree, I’ve learned that some of my first conclusions, up to seeing Eva’s obituary, were incorrect. I still haven’t been able to find out how my Grandfather was able to marry Eva, as I have found no divorce record of a divorce from my Grandmother. His marriage to Eva took place in Los Angeles, California, two years after I was born. So, unless he married someone else between 1941 and 1960, he remained single (legally) for nineteen years.
I also learned that Eva had been married twice before marrying my Grandfather, and that the children mentioned in the obituary were from her first and second marriage.
I also learned that my Grandfather had been married before he married my Grandmother, so the marriage to Eva was in fact his “third” marriage.
My Grandfather and My Grandmother Together, Again:
I am not aware of my Grandmother remarrying at any time after my Grandfather disappeared, until they remarried on Christmas Eve, 1978. I have to say that it’s kind of weird to see your Grandparents marriage on the same page of the State Records as your own marriage.
George and Julia remained married until George died on 16 Oct 1986, for a combined total of 20 years together.