Monday, August 19, 2013

Happy 114th Birthday, Gram! (a MIPIML)

Today is very special to me and my wife. Not only is it my maternal grandmother's 114th birthday (she died in 1977) but it is my wife's father's 102nd birthday (he died in 2002). I want to talk about my grandmother, "Gram," today.

My grandmother was born Emily Kemp Auble on 19 August 1899 in Chicago, the daughter and only child of Charles and Georgianna (Kemp) Auble. Charlie is one of my links to colonial New Jersey for both German and colonial New England ancestry (including two Mayflower passengers). Georgianna is a link to early Ontario, also to colonial New Jersey (through the Sovereen line), to my Dutch Putman line in the Albany, New York area, and to my French Huguenot line in colonial Staten Island. 

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, just like her daughter.

Emily married Lyle L. Carringer in 1918, and they had my mother, Betty on 30 July 1919, an only child. They lived in San Diego at 2130 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.  Lyle and Emily had a large greenhouse garden on the Fern Street property with bird baths and fish ponds and may types of flowers.  They rented out the Fern Street house after 1946 when they moved to Lyle's parents house at 2115 30th Street, and sold the Fern Street house in 1953.  

Fortunately for me, Gram was assigned to take care of me while my mother taught junior high school during World War II. 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 2119 30th Street, and Lyle and Emily lived  in the same house (we were upstairs to their downstairs) until 1951, when the Lyle and Emily built and moved into a house on Point Loma at 825 Harbor View Place.  They spent the rest of their lives in that house.

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, and later in my professional work. 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. It was so sad to see this wonderful woman grieve and become senile in that period. 
Gram died 8 months on 19 June 1977 (her 59th wedding anniversary) of a stroke, brought on, I'm sure, by a broken heart. After her death, my mother told me all about her life and what she had done for me and with me - I never knew most of that until after she died.   I wish that I had more writings - letters, journals, etc.  There was none in the papers and photographs passed to me by my mother between 1988 and 2002.

She was only a simple housewife - with a high school education, a terrible childhood, but became a loving wife, mother and grandmother.  Gram worked at Marston's for awhile, and became a locally renowned flower arrangement artist, specializing in Japanese arrangements, and eventually became a judge at local flower shows.  

My Gram was patient, kind, loving, giving, optimistic, and was one of the very best people I've ever known and loved.  I miss her terribly, and wish that I had talked to her more about her life and her family. I hope that she would be proud of me for discovering her ancestry and family history.

Thank you, Gram, for your love. I will never forget one of the MIPIML (Most Important Persons In My Life).

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

>I knew her as Nana, a very sweet and kind person. . .

Ain't Nanas/Grandmas special people?