Monday, April 22, 2013

Memory Monday # 16

     This memory Monday is not really about MY memories, except via the stories I have heard about family.  But before I go on with events of my life, I thought I would reminesce about some of my family lore before I was born.
The Quinlen's  (my grandmother-far left)
     My mom grew up in a very Irish family...Her great grandparents met on the boat coming over from Ireland in the 1800's.  Her mother was the oldest of eight children.  She and my grandfather were not blessed with children until they were in their late 30's which, for that generation, was  quite old. My mother's father was Welsh and a Protestant!  That would have been pretty hard for her to marry outside of the Catholic church back in those days....that is probably where my mom (and maybe me) got her stubborn streak!
      I never knew either of my mother's parents..he died when my mom was just seven years old of blood poisoning. The story has it that he had gotten a rose bush thorn embedded in his hand which became infected.  The town where they lived was between the Mississippi and the Illinois rivers and in the spring of that year, the rivers were flooded.  Now the town was far enough away from the rivers that flooding was not a concern but there was no doctor in town and no way to get to a doctor as the ferries were not able to operate because of the high water.  So when the infection set in, it went into his blood stream and he died.  That seems such an archaic way to die, but I guess it wasn't so unusual without the benefit of antibiotics.  This would have been early twentieth century when penicillin was very new.
My grandfather and my mom at age seven.
     According to my mom, this picture is taken at a town down by the river that was flooded....they had gone down to see it.  Mom told that he had his hand bandaged and held it behind her so that it would not be seen in the picture.  He passed away within a few days after this was taken.
     After his death, my mom, her older sister and my grandmother lived alone...she ran a boarding house..she never remarried.  My grandfather had been a conductor on a passenger train so after his death, my grandmother was given a life time pass to travel on the train with her minor children.  By then my grandmother's brothers and sisters were scattered all over...some West to California, others North to Chicago.  Mom told of traveling all over with her mother.  She said from what she knew of her father, he had run away from home at a young age so she never really knew anything about his side of the family.
     My mom and her mother were very close as her older sister was quite a bit older, got married very young and left home.  So there was just the two of them together.  My grandmother passed away about the same time I was born so I never knew her either.


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