Author Topic: Slow Time in Fat City™.  (Read 3898 times)

Nephew Twiddleton

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Re: Slow Time in Fat City™.
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2010, 09:47:35 am »
I never knew my American grandfather. He fought in the Pacific. He also got cancer when my mom and dad were just dating. That's a link to the past I'll never have. Apparently I'm just like him, which is too bad. He would have been a great guide, and I would have listened to his stories if he felt like telling them. He'd be 86 now if he were still alive.
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Re: Slow Time in Fat City™.
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2010, 08:10:20 pm »
Dok Howl and I remember. Will you listen?

Yeah well listening to you too is what brought me here to PD.  Via MW, MA and EB&G....

While I appreciate the compliment in that you must think I'm one of the youngsters, I'm actually older than Dok. 

Seriously though, I was extremely fortunate to have been raised by my grandparents for much of my childhood.  Being a second generation American (that means my grandparents came over on the boat and my mom and her brother were the first born in America... sorry have had to explain that too many times) anyway, my grandparents lived in a valley outside of Rogersville TN.  We were surrounded by their brothers and sisters and their families.  So I grew up hearing the horror stories of Ireland.  How my great great grandparents survived the Great Famine. (and it was always referred to that way) How they survived the civil war there.  The sympathies my family had or did not have (depending on the amount of alcohol consumed) with northern Ireland.

My grandfather was born in 1899.  He was too young to fight in WWI and too old to fight in WWII.  His older brothers were veterans and I can remember sitting around after a family dinner as the men drank themselves into sleep and the conversations would be terrible and fascinating at the same time.  Grandpa would talk about the big strike at the Kingsport Press which went on for about 4 years before the unions were disbanded at the Press.  One of the few ever unresolved Union organized strikes in the US.

One of my grandmother's brother lost both his legs in WWI.  I remember him being a very quiet man.  One family reunion when I was maybe 6 or 7 he arrived 3 sheets to the wind and the things he told us.  I was in high school before I truly understood some of the things he talked about.  Walking ankle deep through mud that was red from blood.  He talked about losing his legs, about lying on the field waiting on a medic and fighting off a french soldier who was trying to take his boots.  He joked when he told this saying he was pretty sure he wouldn’t need them again, it was just the damn principle of the thing.  He died a couple of months after that.

Then I have my Dad who was in Vietnam.  You didn’t hear a lot from Dad on that subject unless he was deep in his scotch.  He talked about being stationed in Cambodia with no problem, but his actual time in Vietnam, well, all we know is he was there.

Then I have Dad’s parents, my grandmother was an Arrowood, the stories she told us, my god I really thought for years she had to be lying.  She lived “off reservation” in the middle of the woods as a child because her father was a criminal.  Well, he was considered a criminal by the US government.  He was actually a miner who got caught hunting on state property.  Anyway, she would tell us horror stories.  Government agents came into her home when she was 5, shot both her mother and father As well as an uncle who was visiting, leaving her and her younger sister there, in the middle of the woods.  Family didn’t find them for 2 weeks.  She and her sister were separated.  Her sister being still almost a baby was immediately adopted.  She was passed around various foster homes as free labor.  She didn’t remember attending school for more than a day here a day there until she was 12 at which point her mother’s sister moved back to Virginia after living out west for a lot of years and found her.  To the day she died, she would tell the story of the men with badges who killed her parents.  We tried for years to research the incident but could never find any facts.

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Re: Slow Time in Fat City™.
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2010, 09:17:02 pm »
I kind of think part of the reason I never heard stories like these is because I never had any relatives who served around. My maternal grandfather spent Korea guarding the White House and my paternal one went through ROTC instead. No one served in Vietnam, no one served in the Gulf, and no one has served in Iraq or Afghanistan. I've not lived near any relatives in close to a decade and a half, so that might be part of it, too.


I do have stories about my great grandmother, though. She was a tough old bird. Born in 1896 to a couple from Germany, she was married off at 16 to a man about three times her age. She divorced him in the 1930s, kept the kids AND the ranch and proceeded to run the thing by herself until her boys were old enough to take over in the late 40s. I never did get to meet her. She lived in Montana and died in 1999 while I was living here in California.
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Re: Slow Time in Fat City™.
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2010, 11:49:57 pm »
You guys may want to think about writing those stories down.

Dysfunctional Cunt

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Re: Slow Time in Fat City™.
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2010, 04:42:58 am »
You guys may want to think about writing those stories down.


I have as much as I can remember in a trunk full of notebooks.  I have started putting on a flashdrive but I stil have a written copy.  Stiil do not fully trust computers ha ha.


I have a few family journals but lost a fucking dissertation on a century of Ireland due to my father's (adopted) illness.

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Re: Slow Time in Fat City™.
« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2010, 03:30:31 pm »
I agree that History at it's most personally relevant level, is all passed on by word of mouth. I remember my Great Grandmother telling me how, at 6 years old, she got to present Queen Victoria with a posy of flowers at her Jubilee. Which means I have a direct link to someone who met Queen Victoria. Not much, on the grand scale of things, but it means a lot to me. It's always the Matriarchs of any family that have all the most relevant stories. They are the ones who keep all the family secrets. After my Grandmother died, my Great Aunt, (her sister) told my Mother that the year after the War ended, my Grandmother had a baby by an American serviceman, which my Grandfather insisted she put up for adoption to save their marriage. My Mother, (a resourceful woman) spent six months tracking her down, and discovered she had a half sister, living less than 10 miles away. They agreed to meet, and got on really well, (which is apparently quite rare) so I got a new Auntie. But for all those years, my Grandmother, carried that secret pain, and never mentioned it. Swore her sister (the only one apart from my Grandfather who knew) to secrecy, for as long as she lived. When my Grandmother died, my Great Aunt (the last person who knew) told my Mother, then died weeks afterwards. But it illustrates the point that History is kept by the Old People, and passed on (or not) at the appropriate times. Knowing your own Family History, gives you a grounding that makes all other History so much more relevant, as you have points of personal reference to use as a framework to work with. I personally have known six generations of women in my family, two Great Grandmothers, Two Grandmothers, their Sisters, my Mothers siblings, their kids, (my cousins) and their children. But it's only now, that I (in my early 40's) can really see what a valuable asset this is. My own children tell me to shut up, and that I'm a boring old fart, (pretty much the same as I told my elders at that age) but that doesn't stop me telling them the same stories I was told. And so, History, at it's most basic level, gets passed on.     
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BabylonHoruv

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Re: Slow Time in Fat City™.
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2010, 03:59:45 am »
I don't think the passing of stories has stopped.  My father in law fought in Vietnam,  he doesn't like to talk about it, but he does interact with my daughter a lot, and I know that he has told her some of his stories, perhaps not the ones of the war (he doesn't drink anymore, he was an alcoholic for too long) but he tells her stories about what his life was like.

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