I don’t know how long my parents knew each other before they got married. I do know a few snippets of life before I was a thought.
My paternal grandfather Walter, who was born on July 4th, was the youngest male in his family. His father was also the youngest of his family and had inherited the family farm. My grandfather being the youngest male inherited that farm when his father passed away.
Walter and his wife Edna had seven children. My father, Frank, was the oldest of the two boys. He had five sisters. If I remember correctly he was the fourth born. He was very much adored by his mother and older sisters.
My maternal grandparents, Leonard and Edna lived on my paternal grandparents farm with their five children. My mother, Helen, had four brothers. She was also the fourth born in the family. My mother talked about many hardships being the only girl in the family.
I don’t know when my mom’s family moved onto my dad’s families farm. It had to have happened a few years before I existed. I have pictures of my mom sitting on my dad’s lap when she was fourteen and he was nineteen. Pictures were rare back then so there is no way of knowing how long they were dating prior to that photo.
It was apparent my whole life that my dad’s family disliked my mom because she was the hired help. They felt she was not good enough for him. This feeling still resides today.
When my dad was twenty he enlisted in the Air Force. I heard stories from my paternal grandmother that when he was at bootcamp and called my mom one weekend she told him that things were bad at home. That her parents were trying to sell her to old men. She told him that if he didn’t come home and marry her that she was going to put herself into a foster home. My paternal grandmother shared this story with me. She didn’t like my mother so the truth of the story is left to the imagination.
I do know that in August of 1963 my twenty-one year old father came home from the Air Force and married my sixteen year old mother in a simple ceremony in my paternal grandparents living room. My father wore his dress uniform and my mother wore a simple navy blue dress. They had a small cake that they cut together. In the pictures of their wedding I didn’t see if there were any attendees or who was taking the photos.
After the ceremony my dad took my mom back to Bunker Hill Air Force Base in Peru, Indiana where they started their married life together.
They were married just a couple months when they found out they were having a baby. My maternal grandmother came to stay with my parents the beginning of July 1964 so my mom wouldn’t be alone.
My mom went into labor on July 22nd until the contractions started getting bad while watching some political show on the television. I am not sure if the show had anything to do with the contractions getting worse but the story always had the political show in it so it must be important. Well it was to my mom and grandmother. They all went to the Air Force hospital on base to welcome me into the world. The Air Force officials would not let my grandmother into the Air Force hospital because she was not military. She sat in the truck waiting for the arrival of her first grandchild. I joined them at 10:37am on Thursday, July 23rd after many hours of labor. My father gave my maternal grandmother some gold earrings when he shared the news of my arrival. I now have those earrings.
I have one picture of my first home in Peru, Indiana on Bunker Hill Air Force Base. I was the only family member from both sides of my family, for many generations, to be born in a different state, other than Minnesota at that time. This was a big deal apparently. That story was shared with many visitors throughout the coming years.
This is the start of my existence in this lifetime. My journey begins.