Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Kentucky Grandfather

OK, first allow me to emphasize, I have nothing against folks from Kentucky. Heck my Mom's Dad, this man, was from KY.

And here he is in World War One. Or is that WWl? At any rate, here he is in uniform in the Philippines. Dashing fellow.

But let me tell you what kind of guy he was lol.

He marries my city-raised Grandmother, I believe she was born in Virginia.

Ahh they look so happy here. This is around the time they got married. All sweetness and light. They do look happy. This is them on the right.

So they start having babies. A happy family.

Then the Great Depression hits, so he takes her and the babies to the woods of Wisconsin so he can go off to the logging camps to make money, leaving my city-raised little Grandma to fend for herself and her young brood, including my Mom.

OK, times were tough, understandable.

Well it turns out Grandpa was the town drunk. And what little money he made, he'd spend drinking.

Mom's family was so poor, her brothers and she used to go out in the woods and hunt for small game, and forage for food. The winters there were pretty brutal.

Because they had no money, they were forced to move from shack to shack, one worse than the last, in order to survive.

But I will say this, Mom had mostly fond memories of her childhood. She said she loved the woods of Wisconsin. She grew up near Crandon, by the way. Anyone from that town?


Shocking excerpt to follow!! Not for the faint of heart!

One story goes, that when my Grandpa came back to town, he went to the local bar and got so drunk, he went out front and slit a horses' throat from ear to ear. Yikes!


The other story goes, he met another woman, a trollop, and he took what little money he had selfishly saved, and ran off with the tramp.

Guess what happens?

The tramp waits until he gets drunk and passes out, and she steals all his money and takes off herself Ha!!

About the time Mom turned 8 years old, Her Mom, Grandma, sort of gave up, and Mom had to raise her little brother and cook for the rest of the family from then on. She did love her little brother though, and did not resent it. Except for her lazy, good for nothing sister, 8 years her elder, who didn't help at all. More about her later.

So if I don't have a real close fondness for my Kentucky kin, I hope you'll understand. *grin*

Colorful and interesting stuff. Please tell me I am not the only one to have bad blood in the family lolol...


  1. Not the only one! The funny thing is, I can't even get my dad's side of the family to tell me anything. If you don't tell, it never happened. From what I have managed to figure out on my own, the secrets must be REALLY bad!

    BTW, I'm sure the bad karma with the woman he ran away with is because he slit the throat of the horse! I love karma!

  2. It's difficult to have liked the guy. Things were so bad for Mom back then. Someone gave them a dog named Becky, and because times were so very hard, Becky finally starved to death because they simply went days without food themselves. It broke Mom's heart.

    Meanwhile, Grandpa was off drinking up what little money he made.

    Yup, tough to like the guy.

  3. Have you ever read Angela's Ashes? Your grandpa sounds a lot like Frank's Dad in that book. That and "Tis are amazing reads! The amount of humor and life left in someone after growing up with all that is truly amazing. I'm sure your mother & fam had good times too. Thanks for sharing!

  4. That's quite a story, thank you for sharing it! As the descendant of a klan of Irishmen, it's probably no surprise that I have a vast, deep ancestry of drunks!! Ironically, though, it was only the men! The women were all strong, smart and tough as nails, keeping the family together and somehow scraping by. Your mom sounds like an amazing woman, you must be very proud of her!!

  5. It took me awhile to get to your blog but I'm glad I did--how fascinating! Your family sounds like a combination of my family and my husband's family--although his grandpa Willie (his grandma's first husband, not his blood grandpa) killed a man by hitting him over the head with a whiskey jug! Of course my maternal grandfather was the town drunk--and they lived in Wisconsin, too! Phillips, WI which I believe is in north WI. Ha ha, wouldn't it be funny if our drunken ancestors knew each other--or at least, got drunk together?! VERY interesting post today, my friend!!!!

  6. everyone has a family story !!!!!!! that's why we all love to read about everyone elses. These stories are the "backbones",(if you will), to who we are...makes all of us very interesting.