Sunday, January 6, 2013

Boyhood Memories of Dad's Family

During my boyhood years, my grandparents, Fred and Ella Glaeve, lived in a little cottage, really a converted garage, out back of the Keye's nursing home in Excelsior, Minnesota.  I never questioned why they were there and how they got there.  It was oft repeated that on Sunday, after church and a noon meal, this would be our destination.

When we arrived, Grandpa was usually seated in his big chair with his German Bible on one side and his can of Sir Walter Raleigh tobacco and an array of pipes on the other.  Joe, his old, too-many-table-scraps fat, Doberman was usually at his feet.   Grandma, in her apron and hair up in a bun, was most times busy in the kitchen.  There were sugar cookies or ginger snaps before a game of Parcheesi or Sorry.   Sometimes, weather permitting, I was allowed to do some exploring down by the lake, while the adults "visited".   After she was old enough, my kid sister Kayleen was allowed to come along.   A mixed blessing at best.

Both Fred and Ella died in the mid-1950's, having spent their last months or years at the Keye's nursing home, and are buried in the Excelsior Cemetery.

Other early Glaeve memories have to do with Dad's siblings.

A brother and sister, Martin and Martha, died while the family lived in West St. Paul.  We visited their graves at Riverview Cemetery.

Marie, Dad's oldest sister, had moved to St. Petersburg, Florida where she worked as a private nurse. She returned a couple of times for family visits.  I remember her as being very tall and talking sort of funny, like she was from a different country.   She also sent the strangest birthday and Christmas gifts.

Emil Fred, "Uncle Freddie," lived in Arizona, and likewise only returned for infrequent family visits. He had been or was still in the military and most of the pictures we had of him were in his military uniform.   He had married late in life and I don't remember ever meeting his wife or her son from a previous marriage.   He also talked funny but it was different - more like the cowboys.

And last in memory, was Aunt Eleanore who had married Edwin Holt and who lived on some flower named street with their son Michael, who wore glasses.   Uncle Ed talked in short gasps of breath through a tube which he put to his throat.  For me it was always hard to figure out what he was saying.  During our visits he often spent time in the basement fooling with his collection of radios and radio parts.