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Old 01-24-2008, 01:39 AM   #1
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What did YOUR grandfather do?

Or grandmother, if it's more interesting/applicable/personal?

I was shooting the shit with my pop tonight. He was getting well into the wrapper and we starting talking heavy stuff.

Very long story short: My dad's dad worked in a bad saw-mill in northern Canada. Men worked 6-7 days a week, 12-hour shifts. Saw blades 12-feet high, teeth 6 inches long. Hands were lost, men got boiled to death in pools of boiling water used to cure the wood. Days off were spent working. Emptying out huge cisterns of red-hot coals.

He wasn't exaggerating and I'm editing for boredom/brevity.

So..What did YOUR grandfather do? Or YOUR grandmother?

Two generations removed. How have things changed? How has your perspective changed? ETC, ETC...
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Old 01-24-2008, 01:46 AM   #2
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My maternal grandfather and grandmother were both dentists. She was the first female dentist in the city of New Bedford.

My paternal grandfather was a Captain in the fire department and my paternal grandmother was a housewife. I never met him and saw only a handful of times as my parents were divorced when I was 6. Next to the last time I saw her was at a 80th birthday party and she was all over me saying that she wanted to see me and talk to me but was afraid to. I told her that she knew where I lived and our phone number was available, but she just didn't want to. The last time I saw her was in a vase being buried.
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Old 01-24-2008, 01:52 AM   #3
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My paternal grandfather fought with the Americal Division during WWII (he was 1st generation German- and when he enlisted, they wouldn't let him go to a unit headed for the European Theater, insisting instead that he fight the Japanese in the Pacific)

After the war, he got a job with Bell Telephone and was one of the foremen who helped put up the phone lines in Alaska during the 1950s. He retired from the phone company and lived in Florida near Daytona until his death in 1994.
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Old 01-24-2008, 01:53 AM   #4
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Both my grandfathers were accountants and it would now appear that i might follow in their footsteps, if i can pass the CPA exam after graduation.

As far as sawing logs up for 84 hours a week, I'm pretty sure that is still the norm up in Canada. Everyone there either cuts down trees or works in a log mill. They're a touch bunch up there, but their football does stink compared to ours.
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Old 01-24-2008, 02:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ras* on 01-24-2008 at 01:46 AM
My maternal grandfather and grandmother were both dentists. She was the first female dentist in the city of New Bedford.

My paternal grandfather was a Captain in the fire department and my paternal grandmother was a housewife. I never met him and saw only a handful of times as my parents were divorced when I was 6. Next to the last time I saw her was at a 80th birthday party and she was all over me saying that she wanted to see me and talk to me but was afraid to. I told her that she knew where I lived and our phone number was available, but she just didn't want to. The last time I saw her was in a vase being buried.
Very interesting, particularly the dental parental. Groundbreaking. A woman generations ahead of her time.

My father was actually adopted. He's a full-blood Indian (WaHoo style). His dad was a crazy bush-pilot who died, surprise! in a plane crash. So, Canadian style in the '40's, he was re-named Joseph and adopted into a Christian familiy. Pretty interesting story, actually.

My mother's side is even more interesting, but in a good way.

Talking to my pop tonight, though, made me realize how little I appreciate the history of, well, me. And how different the situation in which we live is vs. what used to be.

Thought it might be a good thread.

Last edited by TomWaits & you; 01-24-2008 at 02:08 AM..
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Old 01-24-2008, 03:47 AM   #6
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He fought in WW1 though I was born after he died so I have no idea if it was in those crazy ass trenches or whatever.
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Old 01-24-2008, 04:24 AM   #7
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My grandfather was a barber and ran a oldstyle traditional barbershop. He died in 96, and his brother ran it until his death last year. The new owners that bought the shop kept my grandfathers name on the title of the shop because they felt it was something special since the shop had been open for over 50 years.
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Old 01-24-2008, 05:46 AM   #8
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my maternal grandfather was in the Italian mafia and died in a "car crash" before I met him and my paternal grandfather drank
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Old 01-24-2008, 06:02 AM   #9
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My maternal grandfather was pretty normal...sold adds for the newspaper then did the adds for the local Ford dealership. His wife was a nurse who then became a teacher of nursing (there is my connection as a teacher). She got her Masters well into her late forties...there is my constant persuit of learning-I just started my masters program last semester. He passed two Thanksgivings ago and she died in 96. Both too young...cancer.

My paternal grandmother was a piece meal worker for a shoe factory and later worked odd jobs mostly at storefront counters. Her husband worked a lot of jobs. He served in WWII. The only "action" he saw was the famous "Battle of Seattle" when the streets flooded with Army and Navy guys fighting each other. Probably the best job he had was assisstant post master for the central Maine area....he died in 94 on my birthday...she is my only living grandparent.

Great thread idea TomW...
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Old 01-24-2008, 06:09 AM   #10
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Rogered my grandmother
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Old 01-24-2008, 06:31 AM   #11
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Both my grandfathers were stonecutters. They worked in the Quincy quarries.
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Old 01-24-2008, 07:00 AM   #12
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Paternal Grandfather was a boilermaker , IE he built and repaired power plants so we could all have lights.
The big stacks you see near the Tobin bridge and in Southie, he was there from the beginning. He was very handy with his hands and built the family a boat because they couldnt afford to go out and buy one. I think I inherited the later from him and I am thankful for that.
Paternal Grandmother drove a bus and was a stay at home mom. Good grief could she make a pie crust. Told us how to once but damned if I ever got it right, I think it takes more patience than I have "the water has to be ice cold dear...." ;)

Maternal Grandfather was in the US Army during WWII. He occupied Japan after the treaty was signed and they were there long enough that my uncle was born in Japan. When he retired from the Army as a Colonel he came home and worked at the Post Office. Yes, he was a triple dipper Army pension, Post Office pension and SS.
Maternal Grandmother emigrated here from the Ukraine and had odd jobs throughout her life. They traveled the planet after he retired and I dont think there is a country they didnt go to.
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Old 01-24-2008, 07:18 AM   #13
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Bab, that is pretty cool. Every time you look across the Boston skyline you can see your grandfather's work...really cool stuff.
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Old 01-24-2008, 07:27 AM   #14
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Great stories by everyone Family histories are precious and should be preserved.

My maternal grandfather fought for the Canadian army in WWI when he was 15.

He lived in a small New Brunswick village (can't recall the name) with no prospects for much of a future. His mother brought him to the local priest asking for advice (this was 1915). The priest told him to enlist in the army since he'd be able to go overseas and "see the world". Since he was underage, the priest took him to the enlistment office and swore to the recruiter that he was 17. I actually have his enlistment papers that have his birth year as 1898 instead of 1900 and also has the priest's signature vouching the information. I also have his discharge papers.

Within months, he was shipped out to France and found himself in the trenches. We don't know any specifics after that. The only thing we know is that most others were also teenagers. To lessen their fear, the commanders would pass around the alcohol before they jumped out of the trenches. That was the beginning of life long drinking problems.

When the war was over, he was discharged and moved to the States. He met my grandmother (who had come down from Nova Scotia), married and they tried to start a family. For various reasons, my mother was the only child of nine that survived past 2 years old (she was #8).

All the trauma of this and PTSD from the war resulted in my grandfather having extreme alcohol problems. He became known as the drunk of the Canadian section of town. He became homeless after my grandmother left him in the 50's (she lived with us for most of the remainder of her life). He was regurlarly taken into protective custody. Nearly died several times. He eventually dried up in his later years after he had a massive heart attack in my kitchen (kind of traumatic for me since I witnessed it at 8 years old). He lived to be 80 years old. Even though my grandmother never went back to him (they never divorced), she would visit him on a regular basis in the rest home.

One of my most prized possessions is an original photograph of my grandfather, at 15, in his dress uniform. At that age, I was virtually an identical twin to him. It's creepy and kewl at the same time.

Now, if you ask my kids this same question, they'll have excellent stories of my dad (a Marine medic at Okinawa) and my father-in-law (a Finnish ski trooper during the Soviet-Finland Winter War).
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Old 01-24-2008, 07:31 AM   #15
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Mom's mom raised 12 kids while Gramps worked multiple jobs including working for the City of Boston for years, he was good friends with Mayor Collins

Dad's family I don't know much about - Like ras they were out of my life by age 7 and both passed within 3 years of that time.
My Dads family didn't do much with us after the divorce and that includes the one uncle who lived across the street from me. From what I have been told Gramps was Navy Lifer but the Tattoos gave that away

I actually talk to my Dad's sister now because she is all alone, her kid calls for money only, She is a crazy old 80+ y.o. broad but still family
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