Who are your people?

June 7, 2007

On Memorial day I posted a picture of my father from when he was in the army. In her comments my daughter said, “I just realized how much I look like your dad.” She is right. I hadn’t noticed it, but she does look like my dad.

What really hit home was the phrase “your dad”. It makes sense that she would use those words because she never knew him, nor did she know her dad’s father. They were both gone before she was born. She knew both of her grandmothers into her teen years. She will tell you they were Gram and Grandma Jane. To her favor, she has a fair share of parents, step-parents, and in-laws. But the fact that he was “your dad” instead of “grandpa”, pinched just a little. I wish she could have known him like I did, but I bet she knows a little more since I’ve been posting on Back in the Day. Just looking at these pictures, I can say that I do.

This got me to thinking about my grandparents, one of whom I called Gramma. The others I did not know.

This is a picture of my mom and her parents, Charles Marion and Nellie Mae. Her mother died a few months before I was born and her father a few months after. All I know about them is what I can remember from stories my mom told. But they are great stories none the less; stories about a family keeping body and soul together during the depression. Many “Viola-isms” – things my mother used to say – came from back in this day. These are things that must be shared or they will be lost.


These are my dad’s parents, David Jubal and Edith Marie. I did not know his dad. My mother was very fond of him; they called each other Snip and Snap. Edith was my Gramma. I can share many stories about her because she was an important part of my growing up. I was her Svenska Flicka, her Swedish girl.


Willi took me for a drive by her old house on the weekend. I knew where it was supposed to be, but everything had changed so much I couldn’t tell which one it was! What is left is what I see when I close my eyes and the stories that come along. I’m afraid that if I don’t share them, they will be gone too. They were good times.

It is good to have this opportunity to write. We don’t take the time nowadays to pass these things along. My experience has been that we hardly see each other long enough to keep up to date on current events, let alone share family tales. I want my grandchildren to know the answer when they are asked, “Who are your people?”

I would really like it if they could tell a little story about them, too.



15 Responses to “Who are your people?”

  1. My father died when I was a child, and my children refer to him as “your dad” and to my step-father as grandpa. It always gives me a little pinch, as well. That he never knew them, nor they him is sad. One of my grandparents died before I was born, and I have to admit that I know little of him. It saddens me to think that my children have a relationship to my father that is like that.

    I’m so glad that you got me doing the In A Nutshell series. It helps me remember things that do not spontaneously occur to me.

  2. mjd Says:

    The wonderful thing about your blog is that not only can our lovely Sarah Viola become better acquainted with her people, but the blogging community gets to know a little bit about your people too. And, I know that people named Snip and Snap are people to be loved. Some of my people, Luke and Frema, are traveling to our home this evening on their way to Michigan.

  3. corky Says:

    That was a very nice post. One of the neat things about blogging is that someday some of my ancestors are going to be able to read my posts and learn what a real freak I was. I like the idea of that a lot. Well, not really the freak part, but you know what I mean. 😉

  4. Big John Says:

    I always enjoy reading about families. It’s so interesting to see those old photographs. Makes you realise how the world has changed in such a short time.

  5. Margaret Says:

    When I visit my Grandparents I love to flip through the photo albums. My Great-Great Grandmother whom I never met looks exactly like my Mother.

    Baby photos of my Mother look just like my daughter so far (she’s four). As for me… I look like Dad, and they’re aren’t any photos for me to see. =O(

    Thanks for sharing.


    (Sent here to visit your blog by the great, wise and wonderful Oz.)

  6. Tink Says:

    I love when you post “remember when” stories and pictures!

  7. Shauna Says:

    My boys were very lucky. . .they got to know their great grandmother – my grandmother, Nina – she was a hoot! Birddog and I’s parents are both still living – unfortunately they do not spend much time with them. . .

  8. GW Says:

    I found your site through Dr. John today and enjoyed reading about your family. My biological father and I were estranged and I never knew his family very well past my early childhood, but my mother’s family I am very interested in. You’ve nudged me to learn more. I posted today about someone who was — until yesterday, anyway – a stranger. Come wish Willis a happy 90th birthday, will you?

  9. GW Says:

    And you REALLY do look like your dad! 🙂

  10. Kim Says:

    Your entry has reminded me that I should really sit down with my daughter and tell her all about her great and great, great grandparents. I was lucky enough to meet and get to know my great grandparents who came over from Croatia. I should really take the time to tell her our family’s stories. Thanks for a very interesting post.

    Oh, and Dr. John sent me!

  11. Nessa Says:

    Your beautiful daughter does look like your Dad.

    These stories and memories are great and the pictures are wonderful.

    I normally stop here, but you are featured at Dr. John’s today.

  12. tod Says:

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful pictures and memories. “Snip & Snap,” I love this stuff!

  13. Betty Says:

    My children never knew either of their grandfathers. And, I only remember one of my grandfathers and one grandmother. My mother and grandmother never told stories about their childhoods, so I don’t have much to pass on, unfortunately. I guess that’s why I write so much about my own childhood.

  14. […] was reminded of this while trying to find my Gramma’s house a few weeks ago. Gramma lived on one side of the lake, and I remember riding in the boat from her […]

  15. […] front of her house. She is the only grandparent I remember. You will recall me talking about her in this post, and also in this one. She had five children, four sons and a daughter. I was the youngest of her […]

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