30 August 2012

Eight Greats

It's my mission in life to get people to memorize the names of their eight great-grandparents - their "eight greats" as I usually refer to them. My brother's kids have demonstrated that they are well on their way to accomplishing this. It really is not a hard thing to do.

I got Eric to memorize his in 2008, and he still knows them. I did this mainly because at some point in our marriage I learned that Eric had memories of a couple of great-grandparents, but he really wasn't sure how they fit into his tree. One in particular was amusing because he knew his great-grandmother Hazel simply as the "Raisin Grandma." This was because she gave the kids raisins. But who was the Raisin Grandma? Which grandparent did she belong to? Thankfully, his mom was able to inform us that she was Hazel, the mother of Grandpa K.

I did not know any of my great-grandparents because they were all dead before I was born. In fact, I didn't even know any of my own grandparents really. Without giving you a ton of details you aren't interested in, I'll just say that geography played a significant role, and both my parents came from not-awesome homes and were not particularly close to their parents as adults. My dad's dad died before I was born. His mother died when I was six; apparently I met her as a baby, but I have no memory of this. My mom's dad died when I was 10. He lived in California, and my lone memory of meeting him when I was about 4 is "old guy in a suit." In fact, when I saw a picture of him at my parents' house a couple of years ago, I said, "Who is this guy?" I think my mom was a little surprised that I had no idea who her own father was. I did know and have many memories of my mom's mom. She lived close to us with my mom's step-dad, and she was the only biological grandparent I really knew. (My mom's step-dad is pretty much the one I always refer to when talking about my grandpa.)

So, the point - Sherry did not know her grandparents, let alone her eight greats.

A couple of weeks ago most of Eric's family was in town because his brother came home from his mission. (Yes, it's been two years! He's back!) We had our 11-year-old niece stay the night with us before heading up to Park City. On the drive to Park City we quizzed her on all sorts of things. (She is, in fact, a geography whiz.) I quizzed her on her eight greats, of course recognizing that I could only name four of them. I told her she'd have to work with her mom to get the other four memorized.

As we talked about how impressed we were that she could name almost all four of her paternal eight greats, it dawned on us that she had met all three that she could name. The only one she couldn't name died in like 1955.

Lucky kid. That's what I say. (It also helps that she is the oldest child of two oldest children. The numbers are in her favor.)

Did you or do you know any of your eight greats personally?


Jenn said...

That's so funny that your only memory of your mom's dad is the "old guy in a suit" because that is almost identical to my only memory I have of MY mom's dad. Apparently he lived with us for a while when I was very young (he died when I was 2) and I have exactly 1 memory of him: seeing him in the hallway of our house wearing a gray suit. My mom said he always wore suits.

Packrat said...

This is a wonderful thing for you to do for your family (and hopefully friends). I saw one great-grandfather several times, but only have vague memories of him. (Most of my great-grands were born in the mid-1800's.)

However, my grandmother lived to be 99 and passed away only about 5 years ago. My children knew her well. Even my grandchildren met her a few times.

Angela Noelle said...

I am going to do this. Thank you!

Jessica Leigh said...

I knew my dad's mother's mother (Grace Ashton Jones Smith - died when I was 7 and lived a city over) and both my mom's mother's parents (Mimi and Pa - Mildred Jane Stallings Galbraith and Christopher Layton Galbraith Jr. - Pa died when I was 8, but Mimi was around until I was 13. Even though they lived in AZ, I knew them wel. Especially Mimi.) Of the other five greats, right now I can give the full names of 3 and the first name of one... For some reason I can't think of my Grandpa Mason's dad's name, but I'm sure it'sburied somewhere... Good to think about!

trishtator said...

Here are my eight greats, from memory.

John T
Della O
Burton F
Mabel P
Christian M
Dorthea L (I cheated on this one)
Robert C
Charlotte R

I don't think I knew that you both were such advocates for the memorizing of eight greats. Props to you!