I heard so many family stories over the last few days. Many I had heard before, but I learned so new things about my family:
It was 1929 and my great-grandmother, Christina, was a 25 year-old widow with three young children. She was advised to give up her children for adoption but refused. My grandpa was only five years old when his father, Wilson, died. My great-grandmother raised her children through the Great Depression. She did not have an extension education, but she used her skills, such as sewing, to survive those lean years.
My grandpa worked for Standard Register for 41 years before his retirement as a machinist and manager in their engineering department. As a kid, I just knew that he had a lot of machines in his basement. On my last few visits with Grandpa, I could still hear in his voice how much he loved his work. Early in his career, he learned from another machinist from Dayton, Charlie Taylor, who built the first aircraft engine for the Wright Brothers. (How cool is that?!)
My grandparents divorced in the mid-sixties, when is certainly was not the norm for parents to divorce and the father to have custody of five children. (My oldest uncle was over 18 and in the Navy.) My grandfather dated Joan for seven years before they got married. I never knew why they dated so long. They both had children at home and realized that it was not best to blend the families. My grandpa waited until my aunt (the youngest) was out of high school before they got married. To me, Grandpa and Ma Joan were my grandparents. I knew that they were happy together, but I never realized that she was the love of his life. Now they are back together, 17 years after she passed away.