Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Why would I be showing you my Great Grandfather's Will?

I'll explain.

I don't mean to be judgmental. 
I realize back in 1922 it was a different era. 
And I hold to my belief, that most people are 
just doing the best they know how. 

My maternal Grandma, was nearly obsessed with fairness. 
If she gave one grandchild something, 
then she was sure to give us all something of equal value.  
Well I understand now where she was coming from after reading her father's Will !

Grandma did not talk much about her childhood, 
but she did say she wanted better for her children, 
so I knew there were issues. 
However, one time she actually told me 
her Mom would introduce her to people as her "homely daughter" 
and her sister as "the beautiful daughter." 
How sad is that. 
Looking at the picture below you can see it wasn't even true.
My Grandma on the left with her sister Gladys.

So my Grandma was determined to parent differently. She said she watched other families, and also read much about parenting. I would love to know what parenting books she read in 1920!

A few months back I found my Great Grandfather's Will on my distant cousin Travis's blog. It sure gave me a glimpse of favoring one child in the family.Was that common back then? I don't know.

And please know, I am not trying to hurt my Great Grandparents name here. My Mom use to say that they probably just parented the way they were parented. 

Instead, what I am meaning to do, is honor my Grandmother 
for having the courage to change generations. 
She succeeded. Just one determined woman made life better for all of us who were yet to be born.
Afterall, she raised my mother, the greatest woman I've ever known. (My Mom would be 82 tomorrow !!)

Go here to see my Great Grandpa's will.
It's old and hard to see so look for the translation directly underneath it. 

I just googled parenting in 1920 and found this shocking (to  me) quote from a most popular parenting book back then.


Sue said...

Gee, a whole buck each for the "other" daughters. That is pretty strange, isn't it? I wonder if they just didn't "get" it then about how harmful showing such favoritism would be to their children?

Interesting, for sure.


Karen Mortensen said...

Wow. All I can say is that I am speechless. What a different generation that was. I am grateful for your grandma because she had Gaynor and then Gaynor had you and Robin.

Darlene said...

When I first saw the picture of your Great Grandather, I thought to myself what a distinguished looking gentleman he was. What a shock to find out he was so judgemental. I can't even begin to wonder why your Great Grandmother would speak of your Grandmother as her homely daughter. She is very sweet looking and just as pretty as Gladys. And the child rearing book, all I can say is it is a wonder that children turned out as well as they did. I wonder how many people actually followed that advice?

I guess things could have been different in certain families. Let's hope so anyway. I don't have too much info on my great grandparents. I barely remember my grandparents. I was only four when my grandma died and I was about nine when my grandpa died. All of them came from Sweden. I do remember my grandpa telling us that he left home when he was 14 and made up his own last name because he refused to take his step father's name. My grandpa was illegitimate and his mother never told him who his father was. The husband of his mother was so abusive physically to his mother and to him and he found out that this horrible man's first wife killed her three children and herself just to get away from his abusiveness. In those days, women were pretty much chatels, having no say in anything. I'm glad I didn't live in Sweden during that era. I guess a lot of us have a few skeletons in our closets.

grandmapeg said...

That is sad that some only got a dollar while the other one got so much more, but maybe that is how your great grandfather was raised too. Your grandmother was able to see the wrong and changed things for the better. I think it's great that someone kept a copy of the will though. Those things from ancestors are interesting to see.

Richard said...

I will be forever grateful for the $10m mom left me in her will...btw, don't you think there is a resemblance between Lella and Hailey? Something in the eyes looks very familiar to me!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! Is this will saying that your grandmother basically was willed nothing and her sister got everything? I wasn't clear on what it said.
The parenting advice of the 1920s would explain my mother's poor relationship with her mother. I saw no affection between them. When I was born, the common advice was, do not pick up a crying baby. They only want attention. That's what my mother told me. Consequently, I did a lot of crying as an infant. I vowed to do differently with my kids, and I'm glad I did.

Grandma Honey said...

Sue~ I think maybe it was normal back then to favor the oldest child. Back in history didn't the oldest get all the privileges all through life?

Karen~ I am grateful to her also! We would have all suffered.

Darlene R~ Perhaps there were many closet parents back then who hugged and kissed their children...and just didn't tell anyone. Crazy.

Richard~ I looked at Lella again and those are your eyes. So naturally they would be Hailey's too. I like looking at the childhood pictures of our ancestors because I can see resemblances to the family....unlike when they were older.

Darlene L~ We had lots of babies in our house growing up and I actually remember my Mom saying to me that very thing "They are just crying because they want attention" if it were a saying passed on to her. But she had too soft of a heart to ever live by it. Thank goodness!

Dad and Susan said...

Fascinating. Maybe the sons only got $1 because they were so well off they didn't really need anything more. Unfairness to the girls I don't get tho. I know parenting was done differently. All my cousins have great memories of my dad's dad, except one. When this cousin was spending the night at Grandpa's he accidently wet the bed and Grandpa rubbed his nose in it and ridiculed him unmercifully to others. This came out in a reunion when we were honoring Grandpa and when my cousin shared this he was very emotional and could hardly talk. How horrible! Lots of good to look for and then one act of unkindness can undo it for one kid. What it taught me was not to be judgemental. You don't know how "they" were raised and you don't know the experiences of others. Best to be kind to everyone as your mother was. Love, Dad and Susan

Grandma Honey said...

That's why I hesitated to even put this on my blog Susan. I don't want to judge my past relatives...I wasn't there, I didn't know them.

But so many many people have suffered terribly in their childhoods (not me thankfully) and unless they step up and decided to do differently, history just keeps repeating itself...generation after generation. I wanted to applaud my Grandma here. I wanted to show proof that one can rise above their circumstances, and that by doing so, the suffering can stop in future generations. I know my Grandma struggled within herself all of her life. But she didn't put it on others. According to my mother and her 2 siblings, she was an outstanding and loving mother.

I also like to believe that my great grandparents were good people. My mom use to tell me that they got married very young, and they didn't have the guidance that we all did. Whose to say I wouldn't have been just like them given the same circumstances and era.

Rebecca said...

Wow! He seriously sounds like my dad's twin. My dad would often tell us we were dumb or stupid, etc. And he left his entire estate to one child. (it was not me.) At least each child got a dollar, that was more than i got! Makes you wonder how their brain works, doesn't it?

Eileen said...

Very interesting. I remember my Mom saying that my great-grandmother favored my grandfather (her only son), I wonder if that was 'the norm' back then?
This story makes me feel that your grandmother is all that more wonderful for way she led her life and raised her family. Beautiful!
And I hate thinking about so many children raised in a 'cold home' because parents thought they were following wise advice.

I always remember my own Mom repeating a poem about how housework could wait, and I only remember the end of it ~ something like ~
"Settle down cobwebs and dust go to sleep,
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep"

I'm glad you posted this, and I don't feel that you were judging at all.
Love and Prayers,

Susan said...

I didn't mean to critize. I was mostly thinking about my grandpa and this cousin. I think you did a terrific job showing how things were and how one brave person overcame. It's a good blog eliciting memories and learning comments. Hope you didn't take mine the wrong way. Intention was good. Susan

Grandma Honey said...

You never criticize anyone, Susan. No, I wasn't thinking that at all. I was just agreeing with you that we can't judge others, and that is why it was hard to put this post on my blog...

Grandmotherfairy said...

I think my Grandmother Skanchy must have used that parenting book...I never remember a hug or kiss from her, she once told my mom (her daughter-in-law) that "we don't kiss or hug in this family" sad is that!

Richard said...

Maybe after hospital and burial expenses Gladys only had 50 cents left...

Scrapally said...

"Cleaning and scrubbing can wait til tomorrow, for children grow up, we've learned, to our sorrow. So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep. I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep." That is the poem I learned when my kids were little. I like to think that's how I raised my babies, but my house still isn't clean so what's my excuse!? Loved your find very interesting things and I am glad you share them!

Becky Jane said...

$1.00? Well, that was generous...yikes!

Also the parenting link was making me mad so I had to hurry through it. I can't even grasp how ignorant and gullible people can be (even now days with all the funny things going on). Thank goodness we have a brain!

I admire your good grandmother and the courage she had to make good changes!