My Grandparents were divorced in 1946…Yes DIVORCED…IN 1946…Scandal rocked my Mom’s world… She still had her hobbies… Horseback Riding, (her riding partner ,”Grey Dawn”) Field Hockey, Softball and BOYS…An occasional coke and listening to the juke box. Summer Camp is a lot of that time…Away from both parents and the distant memories of home. Next Junior High and High School,curfew was set for 11 o’clock SHARP…But the beautiful family home was now replaced with an apartment in Franklin, New Hampshire. My Grandma was now a working Mom. Hard times for the first time since Muriel and John’s marriage were felt by my Grandma and my Mom…The teenage years were hard on both of them, capped off by my Mother running away at 16. The argument was over a boy she wanted to date… She got as far as Boston, Massachusetts, before the police picked her up a brought her back the New Hampshire. My Mom wanted to live in Connecticut so she left her school and completed High School in New Haven, Connecticut. My Grandma moved to Connecticut as well, she lived at a YWCA and my Mom lived her Father and his new wife. At St. Mary’s High School graduation is successful and the pride my Grand Mother feels is deep and hopeful, being that she did not finish school herself. She starts believing in their future well being. Remembering how really beautiful your Mom was, and how people turn their heads just to look at her. My Grandma also reminds me “That beauty is not everything, but my Mom had a whole lot more going on for her… beautiful and a good mind too”….
Lots of fun and travel…Lots of moving to Big Cities and plenty of abundance…She was a good student and enjoyed many hobbies…She aspired to be a Ballerina on a grand stage. Two parents loving her dearly and every wish was a command. The Family owned several homes including three wonderful homes in Woodmont, Connecticut and a family beach home in Sarosata, Florida. The worst thing she ever did then, was order kumquats at a Chinese Restaurant and swore she had, had them and loved them, and didn’t eat them, YUCK… The only time my Grand Dad hit her, she was ice skating and he said “time to go”, she laughed, looked and skated away…He gave chase and went down hard…She couldn’t stop laughing even though he warned her to stop. He carried her up 5 flights of stairs and she got slapped… but those Teenage years. WOW.
My Mom was born in January of 1935. They gave her the same initials as my Grand Dad . My Grandma said she thought my Mom resembled her Father, her eyes where blue and her hair was blonde almost white… She carried a Panda bear toy and they called her “Nuppy” for a nickname. I think the worst thing she did at that time as a young child was “wet” her pants and she was afraid to come home which caused great upset at the house. No Brothers or Sisters where born into their Family. Joan is the only child.
I will share with you my favorite picture of young Grandma and Grandpa . The day they got married they went to Town Hall in Franklin, New Hampshire and about 2 o’clock on February 28th, 1933. So in a tan silk dress, Muriel and John became man and wife… Friends gathered at my Aunt Dot’s house and a lovely handmade wedding cake. And Gram’s cousin “Whitie” have put tons of straight pins in their “Wedding Bed”. After that night’s elopement they traveled back to Connecticut to John’s family home / by command of his Father and Mother, to try to explain everything. The next day there was a new car in the driveway, a gift from John’s parents…Their first apartment ,was a three floor walkup, 5 room flat in Brooklyn, New York, where they resided in for 18 months. Because of the quickness of the City, Muriel found it difficult. Being from the country she really had a hard time with city life. My Grandfather was working for the Schaffer Brewing Company in Brooklyn. After my Mother was born they moved. Back to West Haven, in the Family home next to Grandma’s beloved ocean. My Grandmother was a stay-at-home Mom during these years…
Martha’s parents Charles and Ellen were Canadian Indians who moved to Vermont where he was a Harness Maker and Farmer. She was one of 9 children. Martha met her husband Rodney sliding and were married in Vermont in 1884. His parents, Rodney Merrill Sr. and LeAnn Austin lived in Franklin, New Hampshire where the library is now and he was a Blacksmith…When my grandmother was born she was the twelfth of thirteen children. Muriel was born in 1913 when her mother was 41, in Franklin, New Hampshire. So let’s get to my grandmother’s story since that’s about all I know of my Great Grandparents. She went to a one room schoolhouse grades 1-8, she loved History hated Math, and wanted to be a singer on the radio or actress. From age fourteen, she had to help at home and get a small job to help with household money. She didn’t get to go to dances or High School with all the other kids. Which she said was “No Fun At All”. And that it wasn’t a very happy time to remember. Her favorite things were Spring and the ocean. Her favorite flower was a Gardenia and her favorite color… Dusty Rose. She left New Hampshire and moved to Connecticut and lived with her sister Dot. She worked as a Maid and Babysitter for a family that lived right across from the ocean. She was 17 and started dating my Grand Father, John. One of her favorite memories at that time was riding in a big open car with a group of friends singing as loud as they possibly could. My grandmother grew up poor, and my Grand Dad’s family was privileged. She liked him because he was so handsome, kind and polite. He took her to his prom and had hung around with all their other friends, dating for a little over a year. She was married at the age of 19 to John, on February 1933. He was 21. They lived in the Family home in Woodmont, Connecticut, right across the street from her beloved ocean. They spent the next couple of years happy… Swimming and fishing in that ocean…XO
She in all her “elder beauty”… A hand-painted portrait of what I will perhaps look like a 80 or older. I believe my Grandmother painted the black and white picture to give it more personally, to adorn this lovely picture of a woman who I proudly call my Great Grandmother.
No pictures are available for this day of this WONDER. But I’m sure the day held everything magical that having your 12th child holds…Especially when you are 41 years old…GOSH…My Great Grandmother was one of 9 children. That’s the way it was…But still wonderful. If the world only knew what they were in for…