Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mothers Day!

One of the interesting things about Mothers Day, for me is the history of the family.  My Mother was born and raised on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, with a few months, here and there over the years, in old New York City near the Fulton Fish Market.  Mom was the second-oldest, and when her Mother died, my Mom raised the two younger kids, so my sister and I were Mom's second set of kids to raise.  Several of the local Chincoteague men asked Mom to marry them, but Mom always said, "We've known each other since we were born.  I love you like a brother, but I can't marry you."  Then she fell in love with a deeply tanned man with reddish-black hair and green eyes from the Naval Air Station on the Mainland, while she was working in the PX.
   My Mother's Mother, Aleda, was wooed as a 15 year-old by a waterman who was a boarder at her grandparents' house across the lane.  I only know a few things about my grandmother - we have a postcard photo of her in a dress and holding a few flowers, and my cousin Aleda looks exactly like our Grandma Aleda...  Aleda died almost 20 years before my birth, due to cancer.  My Mom told several different versions to us girls - she told me that Aleda died from "cancer of the blood," which I thought meant leukemia; she told my sister that Aleda died from cervical cancer; and Mom told her sister, who told her daughters, that Aleda died of ovarian cancer...  I should order her death certificate and find out.   A week after her 16th birthday, Aleda "eloped" to Maryland with my grandfather, and they were married under the Marriage Oak, a huge tree just over the state line...   But we do know that Grandma Aleda had a temper.  Her father took contract jobs through various people and agencies - including the US Coast Guard, who were in charge of running and maintenance on both the Assateague Lighthouse and the Killock Shoal Lighthouse.  Great-grandfather paid my grandfather, his son-in-law and Aleda's husband, a small portion of cash to take care of the lighthouses in his stead.  Grandma Aleda and Cap'n Walt had four children, and scrambled pretty hard to make ends meet.  It was right after the Wall Street Crash in 1929, when Grandma Aleda went to ask her father about payment for the lighthouse care.  Great-grandpa wasn't at home, so Grandma started looking at his ledgers - and found out that her father was keeping three-quarters of what the US Coast Guard was paying for the lighthouse care, while only paying his son-in-law one quarter of the income.  Mom said it took almost a year before Grandma would speak to her father again - and he ended up paying Grandpa 90 percent of the contract money because Grandma said she'd turn him in to the government...   Wow...

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