Friday, April 13, 2012

Life Happens In The Kitchen

I remember my Grandma Meyer’s kitchen. It was a big kitchen with white cabinets and a large kitchen table. My grandmother would bake blueberry buckle for us. During thunderstorms we would find our way to the kitchen and sit under her kitchen table.  If it wasn't storming, you might find us playing Bunco there.  Her kitchen was spacious and fit her large family nicely.

The kitchen has always been and most likely will always be the perfect place for people to congregate and so it was with Grandma’s kitchen. It was there, surrounded by my girl cousins, that I heard my grandmother tell of an important event that just occurred in our family.

Grandma’s first-born granddaughter, Kathy, had become our families’ first college graduate!  Grandma was filled with such pride and joy. I remember watching her face and listening to her words. It was the first time I heard the word . . . College. That day in the kitchen when I heard that word, my entire world opened up and I began to contemplate my future. If Kathy could go to college, so could I.

I am reminded of this moment after viewing my grandparent’s 1940 census records.
Last night I played with the 1940 census attempting to locate my grandparents, George and Olga Meyer. I did not expect any major revelations, as I know my family very well.

There is nothing like searching your hometown records. As I browsed page by page, those familiar street names transported me back home to my beginnings even though 1940 was before my time. I did look at the records for my childhood home, 1625 Lincoln Avenue. It was the Palmer's home in 1940.

Finally I located Grandma and Grandpa’s home and it were right where it supposed be on Spruce Street. Each census asks different questions. In 1940 census takers asked this question: What was the highest grade in school completed? I did just mention how I knew everything about my Meyer family, right? Well, I was wrong. And now for my surprise . . . Grandpa Meyer completed seven years of school and Grandma Meyer completed eight years of school. I was humbled.

Now I have a deeper understanding of my grandmother’s excitement when her first grandchild became a college graduate. Other grandchildren followed in Kathy’s footsteps: Mike, Alice, Dick, Jeff, Holly and myself. Robin entered into the family carpentry business. I wonder what her thoughts were as each grandchild earned a college degree. 

This is my grandparent’s home today. Though they reside in heaven, this home that was built by my grandfather will always be theirs; at least in my eyes.  I hope you have a chance to view the 1940 census records sometime.

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