Saturday, February 20, 2010

SEPIA SATURDAY

I've joined a group called Sepia Saturday http://sepiasaturday.blogspot.com  Every Saturday (when I remember) I'll post a photo from my ancestry.

When my father was 3 yrs. old he was riding in the car with his family. A speeding fire truck drove by, it's tire came apart and hit his father in the face, killing him instantly. His brother, Glenn, who was about 11 years old,  grabbed the wheel and steered the car to the side of the road.

His mother, my grandmother, had to then get a job to support the family.. There were no day care centers for children so she sent the oldest boy, Glenn to live with his aunt. She had no one else to take in the younger boys, my father, Gil, Don and Bob. Her only solution was an orphanage.(Gil and Bob are 4th and 5th from the left in the front row. I don't know which one is Don.)


My father told us sad stories of standing at the front window waiting for his mother to come and take him home. Of course, she visited as much as possible and brought them home as soon as she was able.

My favorite part of this picture is the little boy second from the left in the back row.  I don't know if my father pointed this out to us or we discovered it ourselves but we were astounded to think that that long ago there was such a thing as giving the finger. We loved it! When we should have been feeling sorry for my poor father's predicament.

18 comments:

Betsy said...

Oh my, what a sad story! But with a happy ending since she was able to bring them home eventually!

That little boy in the back...haha...too funny!

Meri said...

What impact do you think that experience -- the orphanage and being separated from his mother and older brothers -- had on him as an adult?

Barbara said...

It was a sad story. She eventually married a man whose last name was Gilbert so if he had adopted my father his name would have been Gilbert Gilbert. I don't think that was done in those days so he kept his original name.

Barbara said...

Meri, I'm not sure what impact it had on him since he seldom talked about it. Just that one story,though tells me it must have had a major impact. I'll have to start figuring it out as it relates to his personality.

Barry said...

What a sad story.

Today the fire department would have been sued and there would have been no need for the family to have been separated.

The photo, of course, is priceless.

willow said...

The photo is hilarious. I didn't realize that gesture had been around that long, either.

Sad story, but glad she could bring them home again, when she was able.

Martin H. said...

What a dramatic blow for your father and his brother. A terrible dilemma for your grandmother too.

So glad she was eventually able to bring her boys home.

Poetikat said...

Such a sad story-such tragedy and pain of separation. I'm glad you could find a bit of humour amidst the sadness.

I do like the picture!

Welcome to Sepia Saturday!

Kat

Alan Burnett said...

What an amazing story. And what a photograph. Such rich memories, thanks for sharing them with us.

PattyF said...

How heart-wrenching! First losing your father to a firetruck tire and then endng up in an orphanage. The mental image of your father standing in the window waiting for his mother to come for him all but brings me to tears. So sad. I'm glad they were able to finally be reunited.

As for the kid in the back row ... I'd adopt him!

subby said...

Tragic tale to be sureb ut ending on a positive note, yes?

Can't make out exactly what the other boy is doing, tho'...but looks like both hands are up and pointing?

Barbara said...

Patty F. I've always wondered what happened to that little boy. Whoever did adopt him must have really had an adventure. Too bad you weren't around at the time.

Stephanie said...

Oh that's such a sad story. How awful for your grandmother and the children.

McHargue said...

And they talk about the "good old days". Your grandmother must have been frantic about her children. I love the little boy with the finger. He was probably Italian. Great photo, great story.

Vivian said...

That is such a sad story! But I'm glad it had a happy ending.

Have you ever thought about tracking down your father's orphanage records? I've done it (for a man whose father was orphaned in the 1920s died in 1944; the son didn't even know his father's birthday!) and I got a complete record. It wasn't that hard to find, and there was a wealth of information in it -- birth date, social worker's reports, follow up letters after the child was sent to his grandmother (in Scotland!).

I think that photo is a valuable artifact; WHO KNEW that flipping the bird went that far back?

Jane LaFazio said...

so many comments indeed! :-) a fascinating, and sad and funny story, all at once.

Barbara said...

Barry- You're sure right. If it had been today the Fire Dept. would have been supporting them in style.

Vivian- I did some more digging about my father's orphanage ( as you suggested.) and one thing I found was that his other brother, Don was there,also. I thought it was only the two of them. The orphanage had a long and interesting history. It was called The Chicago Orphan's Asylum. I'm going to write for more info.

anjum artwriter said...

A sad story indeed, yet with happiness later.Accidents change lives so suddenly but there is a Divine reason which we do not understand.I was carried across barbed wired borders from Kashmir, separated from father for 3 years, at the age of one and a half years, but thank God was safe and united as a family in Pakistan.

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