Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Shoebox Baby

The Shoebox Baby holding one of his great grandchildren. 1886-1988

One of my sisters recently asked if I knew when our grandfather, our mom's dad, came to the United States. She also wanted to know if there was some story about him as a baby in a shoe box. So yesterday I drove out to Tinley Park and asked Mom. Here's the story. Grandpa was born in Birmingham, England in 1886. He was a pre-mature birth and so small that he could be put in a shoebox. Mom says that his mother, our great grandmother, used to put him in that box, on the open door of the oven to keep him warm. I assume she turned him once in awhile for an even roast and maybe basted him too. Anyway, when Grandpa was two years old his parents moved to the United States. It was their second move to the states from what I understand. They had moved back to England earlier to help a relative who was having trouble with his business.

Little stories like this, that seem so insignificant at the time, may mean a lot to your descendants. I have written down a lot of my life here in the pages of my blog, yet there is a whole lot I've left out. For that you should be thankful. Lucky for me and my siblings, and the children of my siblings, my dad wrote down some of his story. Most interesting and sad, is the story of the murder in 1942, of my dad's father on the street in front of his home. Drive by shootings are not a new thing here in Chicago. Dad also wrote a nice story detailing his time in the Army Air Force during World War II.

So as I was sitting there chatting with my ninety five year old Mom about family history, I suggested that she spend one hour per day at the typewriter telling the story, as she remembers it, of our family. I don't know if she will do that, but next week when I visit I'm going to check out the old typewriter in her office, and see if it's still serviceable. Maybe if I put it out on the dining room table... or better yet, on the table in front of the television, she'll write some.

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