Showing posts with label Family History Blog Project. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family History Blog Project. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Bill's Hand

Christened, William Woodruff Hughes, Bill was the second of the four Hughes children.  If Lloyd, the older brother, was the scholar, then Bill was the sportsman.  He loved to try his hand at everything and excelled at seemingly everything: bowling, baseball, tennis, even rollerskating.  Athletics came really naturally to Bill.

When Bill was 10 he scaled to unnatural heights, a tree in the Hughes family's yard.  Fern, his mother and the resident family photographer, ran out and snapped a picture of him up there.  Bill lived an exuberant life with many harrowing adventures.

When Bill was around 11-years-old, his parents had opened a grocery store.  All of the Hughes children worked around the store from time to time and on this day, Bill was helping in the meat department.  Pounds of beef and been placed in the top of a meat grinder and Bill was helping to push the meat into the grinder.

Bill kept after his job until the meat was ground.  Both the meat and the store were freezing cold, so Bill crossed the room and stood on a heat register to warm up. When Fern came into the room, she noticed Bill's hand was bleeding.

"What's the matter with your hand?" she asked.

Bill held his right hand up for both of them to examine.  Unbeknownst to him, with his hands numb from handling the cold meat, Bill had accidentally ground down his middle finger to where it was essentially the same height as his index and ring fingers.

Ever a practical woman, Fern ushered Bill out.

"You go over to the drug store and see what they can do to help you.  I've have to throw all the hamburger away."

When Bill arrived at the drug store, his finger was still bleeding profusely.  Not knowing what else to do, they tied a string around the end of his finger, and put him on a streetcar with directions to see a doctor.

As the finger healed, his nail grew out and curled around the end of his shortened finger, protecting it.  Bill was alway very self-conscious about that finger. He kept his hand in his pocket or curled up in a ball, so people wouldn't notice.

Monday, January 07, 2013

The Project That Wasn't...Like I Thought

Apparently my grandmother and I had a miscommunication. She has asked me to quit my blog project immediately.  I am beyond bummed to cancel not only this project, but my major personal goal only a week into the year.  She has agreed to let me continue writing, but only offline.

I am still going to write about family history, but only stories that I don't get from my grandma.  My mom's dad passed away in 2002.  He was an only child and I don't know what of my Granddad's history has been recorded.  I do know that we are his only family.  Only my mother and her two siblings and seven grandchildren (of which I'm one)  know him well enough to write anything.

Even though I'm incredibly disappointed not to be able share my grandma's story, I'm still going to try to meet my goal of writing about my family history.  It's going to take a several days to pull everything from my Grandma into a Blurb book and I've got two scheduled posts that I'm not sure how to "unschedule" for tomorrow (1/8) and the next day (1/9).  But I am honoring my grandma's request to remove anything connected to her identity and write off-line about her for the rest of the year.

I am counting on my mom and her siblings to share stories of their dad and his family history with me so that my project isn't a complete bust.

The Family

Lloyd Delton Hughes married Fern LaRue Woodruff on Aug 2, 1919.  They had four children in rapid succession, with only about a year and a half between each child.

Lloyd Chalmers was born first on April 10, 1920.  Since he and his father shared the same first name, Fern sometimes called him "Junior." Nevertheless, since he had his own middle name, Chalmers, named after Fern's father, he wasn't really a "Junior."

William Woodruff or Bill, as he was known, was next, born on Dec 11, 1921.

Beverly Bernice came third on July 21, 1923.

Florence Carolyn was the fourth and final Hughes child. She was born in the middle of a storm on Jan 24, 1925.  Carolyn is my grandmother.

You'll see why as we go along, but we're going to start by sharing Bill's history.  My grandmother is one of the last living people who knows Bill's story, one of the reasons why it's so important to share it.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Arrival Part II

Dad and Mother had rented the large two-story home for their growing brood.  They had sub-let the second floor to four college girls to help with the cost.  The girls were huddled around a floor vent that went between the first and second floor bedrooms waiting to hear my first cry.  Mother said quite a cheer went up when the girls finally heard me.

Mother had chosen two sets of names for me and she asked my father which set he preferred. The choices were: Harriet Hope and Florence Carolyn.  (Can you imagine being called Harriet Hope Hughes?)  I am extremely glad my father chose Florence Carolyn.  Mother's choices were names of special people in her life.  Florence was a close friend of Mother's, a nurse who had taken care of Mother when my sister, Beverly, was born.  Carolyn was the name of Mother's voice teacher. Mother never explained why chose the other set of names, but I've always like my name, Carolyn.

Florence was a nurse overseas during World War I.  She gave Mother a large rose-colored glass bowl for me when I was born.  It is very heavy and beautiful.  I don't know whatever became of her.  Carolyn was killed rather young.  She was driving her car much too fast and drove up over a raised railroad crossing out in the country.  Her car became airborne and was impaled on a tall broken-off pole on the far side of the tracks.  She was killed instantly.

Perhaps because of the circumstances around my birth, all my life my favorite kind of night, or day for that matter, has been one that has pouring rain, lots of thunder and crashing lightening!  I love to put on my jacket and boots, grab an umbrella and just walk.  I love the sounds and find them all very soothing, restful and peaceful.  As Mother would have said, "Storms to Carolyn are hyacinths for her soul."

That is true!  Is there any more beautiful sound than rain beating on a metal roof, or perhaps against a windowpane?  No, not to me.