Saturday, August 19, 2006

Today is my Gram's 107th Birthday

Today is very special to me and my wife. Not only is it my maternal grandmother's 107th birthday (she died in 1977) but it is my wife's father's 95th birthday (he died in 2002). I want to talk about my grandmother, "Gram," today.

My grandmother was born Emily Kemp Auble in 1899 in Chicago, the daughter and only child of Charles and Georgianna (Kemp) Auble. Charlie is one of my links to colonial New Jersey, and Georgianna is a link to early Ontario and also to colonial NJ. They came to San Diego in about 1911. Charlie was a painter - of signs, I think, but probably anything he could slap paint onto. By all accounts, he was also a drinking man. Apparently, the home life was not the best, and they were not well off. He died in 1916 in San Diego after falling down the front stairs, and is buried in a grave in Mount Hope Cemetery without a tombstone. Georgianna lived with my grandparents until she died in 1952 - I knew her as Nana, a very sweet and kind person.

Emily married Lyle Carringer in 1918, and they had my mother, Betty (whom I blogged about on 31 July) in 1919, an only child. They lived in San Diego on Fern Street on the same block as Lyle's parents. Lyle worked at Marston's, a downtown commercial store, and Emily was a housewife and mother. After my mother married and had me in 1943, my father enlisted in the Navy. My mother and I moved back in with her parents while he was gone.

Fortunately for me, Gram was assigned to take care of me while my mother taught junior high school. She doted on me, as grandmothers do, during this time when I was between 10 months and 27 months old. I am quite sure that she saw my first steps, heard my first words, and taught me many things. As I grew up, we lived in the same house (upstaris to their downstairs) on 30th Street until 1951, when the Carringers moved to a new house on Point Loma.

Throughout my life, it always seemed like Gram was there for me. I loved the attention, and she enjoyed being with me. She encouraged me to excel in my studies and reveled in my academic accomplishments. We always had Christmas at their house on Point Loma because they had a fireplace for Santa to come down. Linda and I had our wedding rehearsal dinner at their house.

My grandfather died in 1976, and Gram died 8 months later in 1977 of a stroke, brought on, I'm sure, by a broken heart. It was so sad to see this wonderful woman grieve and become senile in that period. After her death, my mother told me all about her life and what she had done for me and with me - I never knew that until after she died.

She was only a simple housewife - with a high school education, a terrible childhood, but also a loving wife and mother and grandmother, and one of the very best people I've known.

I miss her terribly, and wish that I had talked to her more about her life and her family. I hope she would be proud of me for discovering her ancestry and family history.

Thank you, Gram, for your love. I will never forget you.


Anonymous said...

What a moving and loving tribute. I'm sure she's proud of you.

Jasia said...

A very nice tribute to your Gram, Randy. It's such a thoughtful way to remember her on her birthday. I like the idea so much I might copy it myself. I have a few relatives who I'd like to pay tribute to on my blog.

Randy Seaver said...

Dana and Jasia - thanks for reading and commenting.

In many cases, an article like this will be the only remembrance posted about our loved ones.

Cheers -- Randy

Bill West said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill West said...

A remarkable lady.

I think our grandparents had a greater appreciation of their families then we do today in many cases becauseof what they and
their families went through as they were growing up themselves.