Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Grandma vs. the In-laws

I called my grandma yesterday just to see how she was doing. She had fallen on Sunday and had to get eight stitches in her knee. She was doing as good as a banged up 82 year old can be. :)

I am not sure how we got on the topic but she was telling me about when she married my granddad. They were married for 64 years last August and 8 days after celebrating their anniversary in the hospital, Granddad passed away. Sixty-four years ago when Grandma (17 years old) married Granddad (22 years old), he soon had to go off to World War II. Grandma, born and raised Texan, stayed with her in-laws (my great-grandparents) for awhile in Idaho. They were very conservative religious people. She said it was a miserable time.

It is not because my grandma was a wild child or anything, she herself is the daughter of a preacher and grew up in church. But still the in-laws were awful to her. They were so tacky because they had another girl in their plans for Granddad to marry and that didn't happen! With the in-laws being as religious as they were and with divorce being something that didn't happen in the mid-40's very often they were still willing to let Granddad get a divorce from Grandma so he could marry this other girl! I was shocked to hear this! That would have been scandalous, but they were willing to allow it!

They went as far as to say that Grandma must have been pregnant and that is why her and Granddad had to get married. Grandma said that was the longest gestation period in the world then. She was married in 1944 and my dad, their first born, was not born until 1948!

Grandma did not stay in Idaho the entire time Granddad was gone, she could not stand it. She went back home and wrote Granddad a "Dear John" letter. She said that she was not going to stay with him if his family was going to treat her so badly! Obviously she did stay with him, so I am not sure what transpired because of that letter. Once Granddad came back from the war they stayed mostly in Texas, but would go back to visit. One time when my dad was about four and they were up in Idaho visiting all the kids were playing as kids will. Grandma said that apparently her father-in-law thought that my dad was doing something he was not suppose to although all the kids were doing the same thing.

My great-grandfather soaped up his hands and was rubbing it all over my dad's face and head as a punishment. All Grandma could figure out that it was because of how much they disliked her! That was the final straw, Grandma said she lost it. She tore them up one side and down the other. She said that every ounce of her Irish temper cam flaring out and that she said things that to this day she still feels guilty about. After that Grandma said that they were the sweetest people to her. She is not sure what exactly made them change their attitude towards her, but that visits were much easier to deal with afterward.

I love to know family history so I was glad that Grandma told me this story even if it showed how ugly people can be! I guess it is better than another story from my mom's side where a great-great grandfather of mine, shot and killed his wife! His name was Harley, now isn't that fitting? But that is a story for another time! :)

Have a great day and feel free to comment!