Here are how the folks on the matrilineal side of my family met, as learned at dinner tonight.
My Mom and Dad
My mom went down to meet the student pastor at my grandma’s church and invited him over for brownies.
My Grandma and Grandpa
My Grandma and Grandpa were in the same church group after high school. Somehow they had to deliver treats somewhere and after they did, my grandpa asked my grandma, "What do we do now?" and my grandma said, "You can take me to the movies."
My Great Grandma and Great Grandpa
They met at a party and my great grandpa decided he liked my great grandma so much that he would make the hour and half street car trip out to Morgan Park from Chicago just to call on her.
My Great Great Grandma and Great Great Grandpa
My Great Great Grandma came over from Gamleby, Sweden when she was 16 years old and took a job as a cook’s helper in a big home in Chicago. My Great Great Grandpa, who spoke five languages, was supposed to just be over in the States drumming up business for the family distillery. Once he laid eyes on America, though, he was determined that he wasn’t going back to Germany and so he took a job as a delivery boy… delivering to the big house where my great great grandma was a cook’s helper. Later on, he worked for some union cashing people’s paychecks, so he always carried a gun.
My grandma was also telling us about the Chicago World’s Fair and how her mother organized some PTA singing group so that they could get into the Fair for free. My grandma remembers being there when Italo Balbo landed. And she complained that it was deathly hot and that everything except for the home tour cost too much money and so she didn’t get to do anything but sit around and people watch.
She also sometimes rode her bike up Lake Shore Drive, but thinks it would be foolish to do so now.
And she has the love letters my great grandma and great grandpa wrote each other during World War I, but she and my grandpa burnt the love letters they exchanged during the Second World War, thinking they were too hot for anyone else’s eyes.
That tickles me.
It was good to see her. She seems old and frail, but she seems to be in better spirits and more alert than I’ve seen her in my entire adult life.
In Gamleby, my family built ships. And collected taxes.
That tickles me, too.