The Scrappin Genealogist

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fearless females: day #19

Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out?

I have discovered some things about my maternal grandmother that shocked me somewhat. We had always been told by her that my grandfather left her after she had my mother. For many years, we harbored bad feelings for my grandfather, who I never met. Then in 2002, I found his address and decided to write to him and ask him why he left and to let him know about his three grandchildren and eight (at that time) great grandchildren. His wife wrote me back, and the information contained in that letter was very eye opening.

She explained that my grandfather had tried for many years to find my mother, that he in fact did NOT leave her, but it was the other way around. She said that my grandfather told her that he went to the bank to close on a house for them to live in and that when he returned, there was a letter from my grandmother stating that she didn't love him anymore, and that she was too young to be married and a mother (she was 17). Since they eloped, he didn't know how to reach my great grandparents since he had never met them and they were migrant farmers. Once my grandma left my grandfather, she left my mom with her parents and didn't return for 13 years.

When I found all this out, I was naturally furious with my grandmother and sad for my mother. My mother lived her entire life being told that her dad abandoned her, when in actuality, he loved her greatly and mourned her absence from his life. Then the double whammy of her mother abandoning her for 13 years. I immediately called my mom and read the letter to her and she was glad to know that her dad did love her. I did manage to confront my grandmother about it in 2008 when her husband passed away. The sad thing is that she confirmed it all.

Now I know some who read this may agree that she was too young to be married and a mom, but it's her actions after she did all this that make me furious. My grandmother moved to St. Louis and began an affair with a married man. It wasn't until he died, that she started to want my mom in her life again. To me, there is NO excuse for abandoning your child, especially for a sugar daddy.

I have since forgiven my grandmother for all of this. After all, if my mother (who was the most affected by grandma's actions) can forgive her, then who am I to hold grudges about it? I love my grandmother and miss her every day, but, it makes me very sad to think that she was so selfish to have done this to my grandfather, to my mother, and to her parents.


Alanna said...

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Jennie said...

Paula, I think this just confirms that our ancestors are fallible human beings and we have to just accept what is. I'm glad you've forgiven her, for yourself more than anything. I'm also glad you found the truth and could give that gift to your mom.

amyrebba said...

Wow what a story. It's a sad one, but like Jennie says it just goes to show they are human. I've got a great grandmother, who I posted about today, that left her husband with the kids and disappeared for years. I don't know enough details to write a story like this, but I'm sure when I find out it'll be just another human story.

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