My grandfather, Lyle Lawrence Carringer, was born 120 years ago today, on 2 November 1891 to Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer in San Diego, California. He saw so much in his lifetime of 85 years, and enjoyed almost every minute of it, often expressing awe and wonder at nature, engineering feats and science. I believe that he had a wondrous life.
Lyle was over-protected as a boy because his parents had lost a baby boy in 1889. His parents built a house on 30th Street in San Diego and owned most of the block. He learned from the school books of his parents - the McGuffey's readers and almanacs - and attended school, graduating from San Diego High in 1914.
Here is a picture of Lyle as a boy of 4. Check out the hair and the outfit.
Like most people of the time, he had his own account book to tally his income and his expenses. Four of these books still exist - from about 1920 to about 1945. In them, he counted the eggs collected from the henhouse and sold, the daily expenses at the grocery store, his income and bank deposits, the trials, tribulations and expenses of driving and maintaining the car (tires were very fragile, and the roads were terrible), and details of where they drove and with whom they visited. The details are fascinating - to me, at least. On the home block, there was always plenty to do. More houses were built for rental, and his parents house was moved from the corner to the center of the block in 1927. Repairs to the homes and rentals were endless, furniture was bought, sold or scrapped, gardens were put in and tended. I have rental agreements, rent receipts, home repairs and appliance purchases for the years 1940 to 1975.
After his parents died in 1945, Lyle inherited the whole set of property. They moved into his parents home and sold the second home and the vacant lots on the south end of the block (which was our ball field playground). With these proceeds, they bought a small parcel of land on Point Loma with a postcard view of San Diego Bay. They built a home on the lot and moved into it in 1951. This home became our Christmas haven - since it had a fireplace, and we spent many happy Christmas Eves snug in our makeshift beds waiting for Santa to visit us. We loved visiting "Gram" and "Gramp."
Gramp took us fishing down on the Bay, out to the end of Point Loma to visit the lighthouse, and explore the tidepools, or we climbed the hills and explored the canyons near their house. He had always collected stamps and had many overseas correspondents. He went monthly to the Post Office to buy sheets of new stamps, and often gave plate blocks and single stamps to my brothers and I for our collections.
Lyle finally retired in 1961 after 55 years at Marstons, and settled into his retirement. He still came over to the 30th Street property and worked on the buildings and the gardens. And to see his daughter's family and to talk to his grandsons - to hear about their education and exploits and dreams. He was so proud that his daughter and grandson had attended and graduated from college.
Here is a photo of Lyle and Emily in about 1970.
He succumbed in 1976 to colon cancer, and his dear Emily joined him soon after. Their deaths pained me, but became the catalyst that made me examine my own life and beliefs, and firmed up my life's goals.
We always called him "Gramp" and we always went over to "Gram and Gramps house." I think my mother called him Dad and my father called him Lyle.
His legacy was threefold. One was financial - the real estate holdings that he built up over his lifetime provided a decent retirement for him and for my parents, and an excellent inheritance for my brothers and I. More importantly, the legacy of kindness, love, thrift, and happiness provided a wonderful example to his grandsons. Lastly, there was the wonderful stash of family history material - papers, books, photos, movies, memories.
I miss him greatly. I wish that I could have him back for just a month or so - to ask him questions, to hear more about his family, his life and experiences, to thank him for loving me and molding me and providing the impetus to study genealogy and family history.