Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Exploring My Family Tree: Not Forgotten - Part Four

Sometime in the spring of 1919, he finally made it home and soon after, married my great grandmother Grace Viola in Grand Mound, Iowa at noon on June 18, 1919. Later the same evening the newlyweds left on a honeymoon to Chicago and wouldn't return home until August 1rst to the cottage they would call home on Wildwood farm near Rockford, Iowa owned by my great great grandfather. There they would farm for only a few years before moving to Cedar Falls, Iowa.

They lived in Cedar Falls for almost the next forty years. My great grandfather worked as a traveling salesman for Carey Salt Company of Hutchinson, Kansas. He and Grace would raise two sons and see them into the world before retiring in 1960 and moving to Fort Myers, Florida. Up until recently, I had thought my great grandfather had had Alzheimer’s disease because I remember him not knowing who I was during our visits to him in a nursing home. But I learned from my grandmother that he actually had several massive strokes sometime in the late 70's or early 80's that caused his memory loss. When my great grandmother Grace could no longer take care of him, my grandparents went down to Florida, packed up their stuff and moved them to Iowa. My grandfather was put in the Good Samaritan Center where my memories of him begin. What I wouldn't give to relive just one of those visits today now that I'm older. On a Sunday morning three years after the move north on January 27, 1985, he died.

His funeral was the first funeral I had ever been too and I remember my great grandmother Grace taking my brother and I up to see Victor and show us how natural he looked. He wasn't even close to natural looking and I think there began the root of what later grew into my distaste for funerals and my desire to remember the dead in my memories instead of the open casket. I prefer to remember him as a strapping young man full of life and energy holding up perhaps one of the largest fish I had ever seen at the time next to a beautiful young lady in a boat. I like the memory of green gumdrops too.

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