Tag Archives: madhouse


My great-grandmother’s name was Grace.  She passed away when I was little — I think I was eight years old.  Thus I don’t remember too much about her, and what I do was a little kid’s perspective on who was then a pretty old  lady.  She was quiet, and kind, and had a canary.   She didn’t really go out much, as far as I knew.  Her house was always dark, but not in an unhappy way… more in the way that people might keep their curtains drawn so the furniture doesn’t fade.  She gave me candy, so overall she was OK in my book.

What I also knew was that her husband then, who passed away when I was five, was not the father of my grandmother.  Sometime after she was born, my great-grandparents, in a time when it was pretty nuts to do so, got divorced and both remarried other people.  My great-grandmother had two more sons (my half-great-uncles) with her new husband, who we called Papa H.

Nana Grace was, all tales told, not very forthcoming with the details of how this all panned out.  We knew my great-grandfather, Papa Bill, had been away for awhile, in Canada, finding whatever work he could, as he grew up in Canada and one would assume he knew people who were hooking him up with opportunities to earn a wage.  (It was the Great Depression after all, and he was by trade a construction worker, though he would also work for a long time caring for and tending horses once he returned.)  Nana Grace’s parents, also needing income, rented out rooms to boarders.  One of those boarders became my Papa H.

And beyond that… the story was fuzzy.  Especially in relation to dates.  When asked on their anniversary how many years she and Papa had been married, the answer was always something vague… “Oh it’s been so long, I can’t really remember.”

After she passed away, one of my half-great-uncles came across their marriage license.  It turns out he was born only a couple months after they got married.  So the story the family sort of pieced together is while her first husband was off in Canada, she was living with her parents, and when Papa H came along as a boarder, something “clicked” with them… and clicked enough that she ended up pregnant.  Oops.

Nana Grace seemed much cooler after I found that out.


This post is a part of Kate‘s “madhouse”, of whom all these other fine people try to participate when they can:

Allison – Allimonster Speaks
Barb – Spencer Hill Spinning & Dyeing
Batty – Batty’s Adventures in Spooky Knitting
Dave – Notes from the Field
Evil Twin’s Wife – The Glamorous Life of a Hausfrau
G – Not-A-Box
Heather – She Flies With Her Own Wings
Jennifer – Ask Poops, Please
JMLC – Daydreams and Ruminations
Kate – yoyu mama
LC – LC in Sunny So Cal
Louise – Child of Grace
Marcy – Mittentime
Melanie – usually, things happen
Nikki – Land of the Free, Home of the Depressed
Sara – yoyu mama