Saturday, November 24, 2012

Depression Baby

   I recently viewed Ken Burns documentary of the dust bowl.   In the depths of the great depression families of the dust bowl suffered almost unimaginable hardships and through the strength of the human spirit survived either in place or by moving on to new locations.    My maternal grandfather and family emigrated to South Dakota in the 1910's to try find greater opportunity.   He and my maternal grandmother were immigrants from the Netherlands before that and had established a successful farm in upstate New York.  However, my grandfather had a wanderlust.   The new venture was a disaster because of a drought starting in 1910.   My mother who was born in 1906 vividly remembered the difficulties of their time South Dakota decades after my grandfather gave up and returned to New York State.   Just like the people of the 1930's dust bowl, some of my ancestors stuck it out and other such as my grandfather gave up a moved to more verdant areas.
   This all leads me to think of my parents as optimists.   I was a depression baby!  Born in 1935 in the depths of the depression to a mother who had been widowed by her early twenties.   My father owned no property but basically ran the home farm for the benefit of his mother and special needs brother after his father died when he was 17.   Those were hard times.  We weren't exactly dirt poor but we were close to that at times.   Because we were farmers, we never lacked for food.  However, there was little money for other amenities.   No running water or central heat.  An outhouse served for waste disposal.   The good news for us depression babies is that things markedly improved in the 1940's in spite of World War II or perhaps as a result of it.
Sad State of My Boyhood Home
    Most of my cohort of depression babies of my area moved on the successful lives.  Many stayed where they grew up and prospered in the local economy often in the trades or in farming.  Others went on to professional careers in teaching, business, and nursing.   It is good to reflect on the strength of the human spirit that survives and thrives beyond the worst of times.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Let Sleeping Babies Lie

  I still can't believe I am a geezer enough to be a double great grandfather.   But truly that is the case and the two great granddaughters are gems.   Fortunately they live close enough for us to visit and see first hand their progress.   The magic of Facebook with modern parents gives us almost daily updates on their development but there is nothing like an hour or two with them.
   Sunday we had chance to visit Keelin and her parents in Binghampton.  Keelin is the daughter of grandson Tamdan and his wife Haley.  They both have busy, busy lives but were gracious enough to give up some Sunday time for our visit.   Keelin was awake and happy when we arrived and I held her for a while until she became a bit fussy.   I am skilled at a number of things but the maternal side is underdeveloped so she ended up being handed off to Nancy.   Although Keelin remained alert for a while sucking on her pacifier, it wasn't long before she was sound asleep.   See photo below.   Ah well, for those of us more senior folks that suffer frequent sleep interruption,  the sight of the pure contentment of a sleeping baby is a gift.   And yes it is wise to let sleeping babies lie!
Great Granddaughter Keelin