Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Today, my grandma would have been 107 years old. She died in 1977 of some kind of cancer. I'm a little ashamed to admit that I don't really know for sure what kind, I've been told that it might have been kidney or bone cancer. All I know is that she was clear minded the last time I talked to her in June of 1977, just days after I graduated from high school. The year before, she and my grandfather had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and she seemed completely healthy.

To the right, you can see her as a teenager. I have always liked this picture because she looks a lot like my cousin Sally in it.

Grandma was a fun person, a big contrast to her husband. Pappap always seemed so serious to me. Here they were not long after their marriage.

While I cannot say for certain that Grandma was interested in equality for women, when I think of her, I always remember a particular incident that I believe said a lot about her opinions on the "superiority" of men. I must have been 7 or 8 years old, and Grandma was washing dishes while I wiped down the counters. I picked up a dishrag and tried to squeeze the water out of it by bunching it into a ball. Grandma took it from me and showed me the proper way to wring out a wet cloth, laughing at me while explaining, "You were trying to do it like a MAN. They THINK they're strong enough to squeeze the water out like that." (I also shared that story on her Find-a-Grave memorial.)

I wish I had listened more when Grandma had talked about her family. On our last talk together, she was describing this photo of her and her siblings. I wasn't paying attention, and so much later, when I finally got interested in my family history, I didn't have her stories to share. You can see a larger version of this photo with my caption for it here. Grandma is third from the left.

And let me end this with two pictures of Grandma looking the way I remember her. To the left is Grandma and Pappap's last studio photo, taken just before their 50th Anniversary. To the right is a snapshot that shows them dressed to go out, not long before Grandma died.


  1. I wish I knew more about my grandmother's life and family as well. She died right after my birthday about 20 years ago and I miss her daily. She was also born in November.

    I really liked this post.

  2. I like your blog. I just found it thru Genealogy Blog Finder. My husband was born in Waynesburg, Greene, PA and called his grandfather Pappap too. So I was amazed when I saw that's what you called your grandpa. Is that a SW PA thing? :-) I signed up as a new "Follower" and will enjoy this blog! Thanks so much!

  3. Thanks for the kind comment, Becky! And that's interesting about your husband calling his grandfather Pappap. I think it might be a SW PA thing. I seem to remember a discussion on a Washington County genealogy mailing list a while back about that very subject. My dad always called his father Pap, and the grandkids called him either Grandpap or Pappap! My grandparents' families were both in in that area for generations!

    Thanks for following!


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