People You Know Who've Led Interesting Lives
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19-03-2016, 11:13 AM
People You Know Who've Led Interesting Lives
We all know someone personally who's led an interesting life. Here's a chance to share that with us and how it affected your personality or choices.

********

My grandmothers both lived fairly interesting lives. I will share my paternal grandmother first and if the thread takes off I'll add my maternal grandmother's story as well.

My grandmother, Lillie, was born in 1887 on the Kansas plains. Her mother had 17 children of which 8 survived to adulthood. My great grandfather was a sod buster (farmer) and they live in a mud house on the prairie and farmed the land. Lillie was 3rd in line age-wise but the oldest as the siblings before her died as infants. They were very poor and struggling with the farm and getting everyone fed. When Lillie was 11 years old her father came to her and told her that in the morning she would pack her few bits of clothing in a potato sack and he would drive her to a neighboring farm to live and work. She had been “farmed out” a term meaning indentured servant. It was common practice for poor families to “farm out” their children in order to have fewer mouths to feed and get some extra income.

In the morning she packed her things and her father hitched up the buckboard wagon, she said her good-byes and crying, they left for the nearly all day journey to her new home. It was agreed that she would live, work and be educated at this family’s home and that once a month her father would make the trip to get her and let her come home for a visit of two days before returning. She did not have days off and for her work her father received $2 a month. In the beginning it worked out that way but it didn’t stay that way.

The family that she went to owned a large house just a mile from town; he had a store in town as well as a small ranch and the wife ran the house and two inside servants, a cook and my grandmother. Lillie did all the household chores, cleaning, doing up the fires, mopping, scrubbing, polishing and watched the two children in the house, her not more than a child herself. The woman was very particular and every Saturday Lillie had to wash the baseboards throughout the house and every month washed the walls. The woman was not above abusing Lillie as well, switching her if she didn’t move fast enough and locking her in the cellar if she talked back in any way.

It was hard, backbreaking work for her but she ate well and she did get her education; reading, writing and math when the tutor came three days a week to tutor the children. By the time she turned 13 she had finished all the books the tutor had given her to learn and she excelled in math. In the following two winters her father didn’t come to get her for several months and she knew that next year he might not come at all. When she went to her visit in the spring she heard her mother and father discussing her when she was supposed to be asleep. The family she lived with claimed she was willful and ate too much and they weren’t going to pay them anymore for her living there. She could stay and earn her keep but the few dollars her parents got for her labor would end.

When she went back Lillie was determined to do something different than slave for the family. That summer just before her 14th birthday she met a man who worked in the lumber mill. He was 26 and a hard worker, so when he asked her to marry him she agreed. Better to slave for your own home than someone else’s. When she turned 14 they went off and got married and moved to Kansas City. They both worked for the first couple of years, he at a lumber mill and building houses and she at a sack factory sewing potato, flour and feed sacks.

She had two miscarriages and a stillborn set of twins but in 1907 she had a baby girl that lived. She stayed home but also worked as a bookkeeper, for her husband had started his own coal & lumber yard. Two years later she had a baby boy (my uncle) and then several miscarriages and two twin sets that died before my father was born in 1924. By this time they had the coal and lumber yard and my grandfather was also building houses. My grandmother was designing them and doing the books for all the business. They lived in a house that Lillie designed and where my dad grew up. Lillie’s husband drank early on and was by all accounts a functioning alcoholic. She fought this with him their whole married life and she even joined a temperance group. She became close friends with Carrie Nation (for those who don’t know, she was famous for her leadership in the temperance movement) and in fact Carrie was the midwife for my dad’s birth. There are pictures of her on the net and a few also have my grandmother in them but I'm not saying which ones because it has been told to me I look a lot like her. The pictures were not flattering. lol

When Lillie couldn’t take her husband’s drinking anymore she divorced him. Around the time I turned 2 years old he lived in a flat he rented downtown and he died of his alcoholism with liver failure. I don’t remember him but I’ve seen pictures of him a few times. His story is interesting too but that would be for another day.

Lillie lived in the house she designed for herself up until 18 months before her death. Her last months were in a nursing home where she suffered dementia, running away several times in her nightie, getting as far as 2 miles away (it was in the country).

I remember her as a seamstress (I still have her treadle Singer sewing machine and yes she taught me to sew), award winning gardener and awesome cook. I also, still have the silk down comforter that covered her bed and several other things she made, quilted or crocheted herself. Some of this retelling was told to me by her as I was growing up and some by my dad, aunt and uncle. She was pretty amazing. I think I get my tenacity from her, certainly my stubbornness. Much to my sadness, she passed away before I graduated high school.

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19-03-2016, 10:00 PM
RE: People You Know Who've Led Interesting Lives
That really interesting. My family history is bereft of detail, beyond this-

My father's side of the family, there were a couple of divorces which ended up with my dad in a family of 14- 10 boys and 4 girls. Lived on a farm in Minnesota. Po as hell, since his dad died when he was 12. One of my sisters has traced our family back to some extent. I'll have to ask her about that. I need to give her my wife's side of the equation to sort of balance out the family tree. My side is big. My father's mother has at least 34 grandchildren, that I can think of. Then, just from our family (mom and dad), there are 14 grandchildren. We breed like rabbits! Tongue
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19-03-2016, 10:08 PM
RE: People You Know Who've Led Interesting Lives
Interesting history Smile We are of an era, my dad being born in '25 and my mom in '23.
My mom and her sister were farmed out, but not so much for money as to reduce the burden on the household.
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19-03-2016, 10:44 PM (This post was last modified: 19-03-2016 10:51 PM by GenesisNemesis.)
RE: People You Know Who've Led Interesting Lives
My great uncle worked for the CIA as an alternative energy analyst, and experimented with some of the first commercial windmills in the U.S. as a business venture, as far as I know.

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20-03-2016, 01:33 AM
RE: People You Know Who've Led Interesting Lives
My grandma was born in 1912 in the very eastern part of the then german empire, called Memelland which was a very rural area. My family is (most probably) german. She lived there as a farmer near some woods, where the wolves came out at night and started howling (at least my dad told me so). After WWI this area came under allied control and finally was seized by Lithuania in 1923. My family stayed there. During those years my family seem to have adapted to and mixed with the Lithuanian population a lot. I still have distant relatives who arent german but have german grandparents and have been taught the german language.

In May 1939 my dad was born, only 2 months after Lithuania (forcibly) gave back Memelland to the new 3rd Reich. In winter 1941 my grandfather was killed at the outskirts of Moscow, wearing the grey uniform of a german infantryman. To this day, my dad has a b/w picture of his dad -wearing this grey uniform- in a black frame hanging above his head on the wall, right where he usually sits on his couch.
In early 1945 Memelland was steamrolled by the red army, but unlike so many germans my family didnt flee (maybe because they had close ties to the local non-germans, dunno). They never talked much about this time.
From 1945 to 1960 they lived under Stalins (and Khrushchevs) rule. My Garandma marrried a Lithuanian guy (rumors are he was a supporter of the germans during WWII) and gave birth to a second child in 1950. During this time my dad became a tractor driver in a Kolkhoz. He learned to speak Lithuanian and Russian. Lithuanian seems to have become his native tongue, since hes cursing in Lithuanian when he gets angry, and his writings in german lack a bit while his Lithuanian (i have been told, i dont speak that language) is flawless.
He is also a great admirer of anything russian and doesnt think uncle Joe was such a bad guy (talking about brainwashing!). His character is still somewhat of a mystery to me, since he speaks of "them russians" and "them Lithuanians" in spite of all this.
In 1960 my family settled over to germany and spread across the country. Some aunt of my dad went to Australia, some other (ive been told) to the US. My dad became a construction worker and finally was employed by the US army forces as a civilian worker. This is ironic considering that he was denied a job in the german civil service due to his "russian past" and was considered to be a possible leak/threat.
During the cold war, quite a few aunts and uncles of my dad visited us on a regular basis. Grandma usually harbored them in her house. They always were sent back behind the iron curtain stuffed with goods and particularly small TVs and Radios which they sold each time on the black market back in Lithuania.
While i visited grandma, they often started to talk in Lithuanian (out of habit) with our guests, while i was the only person in the room who didnt understand a single word, made me feel weird all the time. And when dad and she had to discuss matters not for my ears they started to talk Lithuanian too, which pissed me off at times i have to say.
My grandma died at the age of 95 and although she never talked too much about those times (and i didnt dare to ask too much), i think she may even could have written a book about all the stuff that must have been happened during her lifetime.

P.S.: This is for Heatheness: My dad also kept grandmas Singer sewing machine with which she worked on my clothes when i was a kid.
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20-03-2016, 01:51 AM
RE: People You Know Who've Led Interesting Lives
Hitler.

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20-03-2016, 02:01 AM
RE: People You Know Who've Led Interesting Lives
I've led a pretty interesting life myself -- if I died tonight I wouldn't be regretful. Three continents, plenty of wine women and song, a little learning along the way, writing books and music, doing a little art ... I've had my share, I'm not greedy.

At the end of it all I think all ours lives are interesting to someone, it just depends on where their interests lie.
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20-03-2016, 04:15 AM
RE: People You Know Who've Led Interesting Lives
(19-03-2016 11:13 AM)Heatheness Wrote:  We all know someone personally who's led an interesting life. Here's a chance to share that with us and how it affected your personality or choices.

********

My grandmothers both lived fairly interesting lives. I will share my paternal grandmother first and if the thread takes off I'll add my maternal grandmother's story as well.

My grandmother, Lillie, was born in 1887 on the Kansas plains. Her mother had 17 children of which 8 survived to adulthood. My great grandfather was a sod buster (farmer) and they live in a mud house on the prairie and farmed the land. Lillie was 3rd in line age-wise but the oldest as the siblings before her died as infants. They were very poor and struggling with the farm and getting everyone fed. When Lillie was 11 years old her father came to her and told her that in the morning she would pack her few bits of clothing in a potato sack and he would drive her to a neighboring farm to live and work. She had been “farmed out” a term meaning indentured servant. It was common practice for poor families to “farm out” their children in order to have fewer mouths to feed and get some extra income.

In the morning she packed her things and her father hitched up the buckboard wagon, she said her good-byes and crying, they left for the nearly all day journey to her new home. It was agreed that she would live, work and be educated at this family’s home and that once a month her father would make the trip to get her and let her come home for a visit of two days before returning. She did not have days off and for her work her father received $2 a month. In the beginning it worked out that way but it didn’t stay that way.

The family that she went to owned a large house just a mile from town; he had a store in town as well as a small ranch and the wife ran the house and two inside servants, a cook and my grandmother. Lillie did all the household chores, cleaning, doing up the fires, mopping, scrubbing, polishing and watched the two children in the house, her not more than a child herself. The woman was very particular and every Saturday Lillie had to wash the baseboards throughout the house and every month washed the walls. The woman was not above abusing Lillie as well, switching her if she didn’t move fast enough and locking her in the cellar if she talked back in any way.

It was hard, backbreaking work for her but she ate well and she did get her education; reading, writing and math when the tutor came three days a week to tutor the children. By the time she turned 13 she had finished all the books the tutor had given her to learn and she excelled in math. In the following two winters her father didn’t come to get her for several months and she knew that next year he might not come at all. When she went to her visit in the spring she heard her mother and father discussing her when she was supposed to be asleep. The family she lived with claimed she was willful and ate too much and they weren’t going to pay them anymore for her living there. She could stay and earn her keep but the few dollars her parents got for her labor would end.

When she went back Lillie was determined to do something different than slave for the family. That summer just before her 14th birthday she met a man who worked in the lumber mill. He was 26 and a hard worker, so when he asked her to marry him she agreed. Better to slave for your own home than someone else’s. When she turned 14 they went off and got married and moved to Kansas City. They both worked for the first couple of years, he at a lumber mill and building houses and she at a sack factory sewing potato, flour and feed sacks.

She had two miscarriages and a stillborn set of twins but in 1907 she had a baby girl that lived. She stayed home but also worked as a bookkeeper, for her husband had started his own coal & lumber yard. Two years later she had a baby boy (my uncle) and then several miscarriages and two twin sets that died before my father was born in 1924. By this time they had the coal and lumber yard and my grandfather was also building houses. My grandmother was designing them and doing the books for all the business. They lived in a house that Lillie designed and where my dad grew up. Lillie’s husband drank early on and was by all accounts a functioning alcoholic. She fought this with him their whole married life and she even joined a temperance group. She became close friends with Carrie Nation (for those who don’t know, she was famous for her leadership in the temperance movement) and in fact Carrie was the midwife for my dad’s birth. There are pictures of her on the net and a few also have my grandmother in them but I'm not saying which ones because it has been told to me I look a lot like her. The pictures were not flattering. lol

When Lillie couldn’t take her husband’s drinking anymore she divorced him. Around the time I turned 2 years old he lived in a flat he rented downtown and he died of his alcoholism with liver failure. I don’t remember him but I’ve seen pictures of him a few times. His story is interesting too but that would be for another day.

Lillie lived in the house she designed for herself up until 18 months before her death. Her last months were in a nursing home where she suffered dementia, running away several times in her nightie, getting as far as 2 miles away (it was in the country).

I remember her as a seamstress (I still have her treadle Singer sewing machine and yes she taught me to sew), award winning gardener and awesome cook. I also, still have the silk down comforter that covered her bed and several other things she made, quilted or crocheted herself. Some of this retelling was told to me by her as I was growing up and some by my dad, aunt and uncle. She was pretty amazing. I think I get my tenacity from her, certainly my stubbornness. Much to my sadness, she passed away before I graduated high school.

Great story! Thanks for that.
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20-03-2016, 04:24 AM
RE: People You Know Who've Led Interesting Lives
(20-03-2016 01:33 AM)Deesse23 Wrote:  My grandma was born in 1912 in the very eastern part of the then german empire, called Memelland which was a very rural area. My family is (most probably) german. She lived there as a farmer near some woods, where the wolves came out at night and started howling (at least my dad told me so). After WWI this area came under allied control and finally was seized by Lithuania in 1923. My family stayed there. During those years my family seem to have adapted to and mixed with the Lithuanian population a lot. I still have distant relatives who arent german but have german grandparents and have been taught the german language.

In May 1939 my dad was born, only 2 months after Lithuania (forcibly) gave back Memelland to the new 3rd Reich. In winter 1941 my grandfather was killed at the outskirts of Moscow, wearing the grey uniform of a german infantryman. To this day, my dad has a b/w picture of his dad -wearing this grey uniform- in a black frame hanging above his head on the wall, right where he usually sits on his couch.
In early 1945 Memelland was steamrolled by the red army, but unlike so many germans my family didnt flee (maybe because they had close ties to the local non-germans, dunno). They never talked much about this time.
From 1945 to 1960 they lived under Stalins (and Khrushchevs) rule. My Garandma marrried a Lithuanian guy (rumors are he was a supporter of the germans during WWII) and gave birth to a second child in 1950. During this time my dad became a tractor driver in a Kolkhoz. He learned to speak Lithuanian and Russian. Lithuanian seems to have become his native tongue, since hes cursing in Lithuanian when he gets angry, and his writings in german lack a bit while his Lithuanian (i have been told, i dont speak that language) is flawless.
He is also a great admirer of anything russian and doesnt think uncle Joe was such a bad guy (talking about brainwashing!). His character is still somewhat of a mystery to me, since he speaks of "them russians" and "them Lithuanians" in spite of all this.
In 1960 my family settled over to germany and spread across the country. Some aunt of my dad went to Australia, some other (ive been told) to the US. My dad became a construction worker and finally was employed by the US army forces as a civilian worker. This is ironic considering that he was denied a job in the german civil service due to his "russian past" and was considered to be a possible leak/threat.
During the cold war, quite a few aunts and uncles of my dad visited us on a regular basis. Grandma usually harbored them in her house. They always were sent back behind the iron curtain stuffed with goods and particularly small TVs and Radios which they sold each time on the black market back in Lithuania.
While i visited grandma, they often started to talk in Lithuanian (out of habit) with our guests, while i was the only person in the room who didnt understand a single word, made me feel weird all the time. And when dad and she had to discuss matters not for my ears they started to talk Lithuanian too, which pissed me off at times i have to say.
My grandma died at the age of 95 and although she never talked too much about those times (and i didnt dare to ask too much), i think she may even could have written a book about all the stuff that must have been happened during her lifetime.

P.S.: This is for Heatheness: My dad also kept grandmas Singer sewing machine with which she worked on my clothes when i was a kid.

Also a great story.
I wish I had details like that from my elders. They told plenty of stories but I don't really know of their history in that much detail.
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20-03-2016, 05:30 AM
RE: People You Know Who've Led Interesting Lives
I know a number of people who lead entertaining and interesting lives. My brother constantly travels the globe producing shows. Many friends are always away on tour. Many actors who work a lot.

Mostly people in the entertainment business.

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
Banjo.
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