Tuesday, September 10, 2013
My great-grandpa was a leprechaun. At least that is what I thought for years and years.
Great-grandpa was from Bohemia. He still had a bit of an accent even after all the years he had been in the United States. He had a fringe of hair around his head the way you might think a monk would look. And his voice was high pitched probably because of age.
Great-grandpa seemed small to me because he was slightly bent with age. But actually he was a big man. He had a barrel chest and from what I heard he was strong as could be.
Great-grandpa's parents died when he was young. His mother died from burns she received in a fire. Great-grandpa and his brother were brought to the United States by his uncle who raised them as his own. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for two young boys to make that trip across the ocean to a new land and a family they barely knew.
He grew up and held various jobs until he married. Then he became a farmer. Farming was a good living back then. You could raise most of your own food and hopefully enough extra to sell to supplement your income. That would pay for anything you could not grow.
I am not sure how many children there were. I know that there was at least one son, named after Great-grandpa. He died in a trucking accident after he was grown and had a family. I do know there were two daughters, my grandmother and her older sister.
My great-grandmother died when my grandma was very young. Great-grandpa had farmhands but he needed all the help he could get. So my great-aunt was chosen to help in the fields and to do other chores around the farm.
Grandma was too small to be any help so she stayed in and kept house. Even at that young age she was responsible for seeing to it that all the men and her sister were properly and completely fed. Needless to say she was not a fancy cook, but boy oh boy, what she did cook was the absolute best.
Grandma begged to be able to help with milking the cows but her hands were too small. By the time her hands were big enough she saw what being out in the sun and weather every day had done to her sister's skin. Grandma decided the kitchen was good enough for her.
Great-grandpa came to live with Grandma and Grandpa when he got older. I used to love to sit and listen to him talk with his accent. The strange thing is that I do not remember one thing he ever said. I listened to the grown-ups talking because that was how I learned a lot of the family stories.
As I said, I thought Great-grandpa was a leprechaun. One year for Mother's Day he gave Grandma a shamrock plant. That clinched it! He was a leprechaun! I am ashamed to admit I was a teenager before I discovered the truth.