Personal history is still the best history

I’ve been in Toledo since last Thursday helping my dad clear out the big stuff from Grandma and Grandpa’s place in preparation for the estate sale.

Well, at least I come by being a packrat honestly.

We found stuff that had been my great-grandparents’ on my dad’s dad’s side. Great Grandpa had died about a month and a half after I was born, and I have only one vague fleeting memory of Great Grandma before she passed away — I was a year and a half old at the most. I have better memories of my great grands on my maternal grandma’s side. Great Grandpa passed away when I was about two and a half; I have a really clear memory of sitting on the floor of Uncle Bill’s living room, playing Kerplunk! with him. Great Grandma lived until 1982, until just before I turned 19. Best poker player I ever lost money to, except for maybe Auntie Laura on Dad’s side of the family.

We found pictures of them that my dad had never seen; what struck me was how much he looked like my late uncle Mike, Dad’s younger brother. ‘Course, we’re also seeing pictures of my grandpa on Mom’s side when he was my brother’s age, and they could just about be twins.

Then we started finding pictures of Dad, and if I didn’t know better, I’d think they were pictures of me.

Anyway, one of the most interesting finds was a 1920 picture of the Polish Men’s Club of Toledo, and on one end is my great grandfather looking so much like Uncle Mike, I was about to start looking for a modified DeLorean and Christopher Lloyd in the background.

We also found Vol 1 No 1 of The Lance, the newspaper of me and my dad’s alma mater, St Francis de Sales, as well as the letter inviting Grandma to their first class ring ceremony. Dad was SFS ’58; I was ’80. We’re pretty sure that I was their first second-generation student, but haven’t confirmed it. We’re going to donate them to the school.

For all the heavy lifting we’ve been doing, there sure have been a lot of smiles anyway.


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