Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving and an Anniversary

My grandparents, Frank Eugene Hoy and Katheryne Cecile Lynch, were married 91 years ago today at Ebenezer Evangelical Church in Tiffin. The picture attached to this post was taken on the day of their wedding. Talk about opposites attracting, they don't get more opposite then Frank and Katie.

I was not yet 10 when grandpa died in 1963, so my memories of him are vague and fuzzy. I know he was short, with mounds of white wavy hair. He always seemed to be smoking a cigar, so that cigar smoke intermingled with the scent of lilacs from the bush that grew in his yard, conjure up his memory for me. A gentleness and warmth surrounded him, and though I didn't know him well, I always felt peaceful and loved in his presence.

My mother tells the story of Grandpa, who did not drive, walking all the way to our house to give his youngest daughter, my mom, flowers for her birthday.

The story I like best, the one that cements Grandpa's character for me, is the one my mother has told about the German bible that Grandpa had in his possession. During World War II an old German-speaking gentleman would walk to Grandpa's house every week so he could read Grandpa's German bible. This made the family a bit nervous — it was during World War II after all and nobody like those “dirty Germans.” Grandpa ignored it all, figuring if this gentleman wanted to read his old bible, the bible would be there for him to read. Grandpa — my gentle-hearted hero.

Gentleness, however, would not be the word to describe my grandmother, Katie. In her younger years she was a temperamental, larger than life red head. She and her twin sister, Elizabeth were the youngest children of her family. Grandma once told me that she was her dad's favorite and Elizabeth was her mom's favorite. This seems highly unlikely since Elizabeth died at nine months of measles. I think this was Grandma speak for “Daddy said yes, and Momma said no.”

When Grandma talked her arms would fly in all directions, punctuating her words as she spoke. For a shy child like me, grandma could be mighty intimidating. However Grandma had two things going for her in my young mind, she made great fried chicken and she loved to tell stories. I never saw her at a loss for words or for stories. I would settle into a corner, far enough away from her flying hands and listen as a child. I can only remember vague pieces of some of them, enough to know that, as I have often said, she never let a little thing like facts, get in the way of a good story.

To this day, I don't know if the story she once told me about she and Grandpa meeting at a Halloween party is true. However they met, I'd lay my money on Grandma being the one to start the flirtation.

As is often the case of opposites, the attraction eventually wanes and then turns to irritation, which turns into anger and frustration. When my mother was still a child, Katie and Frank divorced. I know their divorce caused their children a lot of sadness and because Katie had instigated the divorce, she had some very angry children.

But it is appropriate to give thanks, on this day of Thanksgiving, that these two opposites, somehow found and married each other, because from their union came nine children. Nine perfect gems, each one shining in his or her own right, who have gone on to have children, grandchildren and even a few great-grandchildren to grace this earth. As one of these descendants of Frank and Katheryne, I am truly thankful for this small miracle.

May you and yours be blessed with a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

Until Next Time — Happy Ancestral Digging!

Note this post first published online, November 22, 2007, at Desktop Genealogist Blog at The News-Messenger Online

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