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September 1, 2009

My Dad finished a memoir recently, which was a pretty cool thing to hand down. I learned some things about his mother that I did not know. I knew that she had a son who died at a young age, only a few months old. He was sick, and she took him to the doctor. She was told he just had a cold, and she was relieved. However, he never woke up that night. What I did not know is that my Grandmother also had a stillbirth girl about a year after that. I felt so sad reading that in my Dad’s memoir. I’m sure she did not have the support she needed back then for these terrible tragedies. Eventually, my Grandmother gave birth at age 36 to my uncle. He was 12 years younger than my father, and the prized son after these sad losses.

My other Grandmother was finished having children at age 31. I wonder if she just did not want to have any more children, after basically raising all her seven siblings after her mother died, or she was just not able to have any more children. I learned some interesting things about “Grandma Cookie”, as we called her, from my Dad’s memoir also. She was engaged to my Grandfather after only knowing him a short time. They also did not speak the same language. He spoke English and she spoke Italian. My Grandfather proposed to my Grandma through both parents. After my Grandma accepted, they were married three weeks later. My Grandfather had to go back to the US soon after, as it was the Depression and he needed to get back to retain his job. My Grandmother ended up taking the boat to America a few months later by herself and three months pregnant. How amazingly gutsy was that of my Grandmother?! I can’t even imagine how rough that journey was being pregnant with no airplanes and not speaking English in a new country.

My Dad said of me in his memoir, “Phoebe was born breech, which means that she came out butt first. She has always done things her own way.” I don’t know if this is a compliment or not. Unfortunately, it does seem to be true in the trying-to-get-knocked-up category. None of my uber-fertile sisters ever had any girly problems. One of my sisters did get pregnant at 40, which was encouraging to me. That was when I was 40-41 and I still had unwavering confidence in my eggs. I hope there is still a happy ending for my memoir when I write it.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Beautiful Mess permalink
    September 1, 2009 11:35 pm

    I should have my dad write a memoir. It would be so interesting.

    I'm glad you learned some new things and felt like you got to know your dad and his family a bit more.

    I wish for you a happy ending as well.

  2. Mad Hatter permalink
    September 2, 2009 6:36 am

    Your dad's memoir sounds fascinating! I wish you a very happy ending for your memoir, Phoebe…I admire all that you're doing for your fertility. XOXO

  3. DAVs permalink
    September 2, 2009 6:37 am

    What an amazing thing to have from your Dad. Your grandmothers endured some tough things, that's for sure. And one day, when your grandchildren are reading your memoir they will say the same thing about you, and be so proud of you.
    I love that your Dad's comment about your breech presentation and the way it has *clearly* dictated your life–ha!
    Hang in there with that confidence in your eggs!

  4. Sweet Georgia permalink
    September 2, 2009 7:46 am

    What an incredible gift to have! Something definitely to treasure. I love hearing old stories and learning more about where I come from and the people that came before me. It allows me to take them out of their role e.g. Grandma and see them as a 3 dimensional person.

  5. Jill M. permalink
    September 2, 2009 9:14 am

    Very neat! Wow, your grandma had it rough, death of a baby and then a stillborn… how devastating!

    I hope some day, all your children get to read your memoir about your struggles to bring them into the world.


  6. Lost in Space permalink
    September 2, 2009 11:57 am

    I just finished taking an online class called "Write Your Life Story" and my favorite entries to read were by older students…some very amazing journeys out there.

    What a gift to have this information and feel more connected to your grandparents and what they went through. I can't even begin to imagine what your grandma went through in those years. Things just weren't really discussed and people moved on, but her heart had to be broken.

    I love what your dad had to say about you. It is what makes you "you" and how you stand out to him in so many ways…definitely a compliment! I'm sorry it sucks to be the "different" one on the baby front. I still have high hopes that these memoirs (and yours) will be passed down to your own children one day.

  7. Sheri permalink
    September 2, 2009 1:44 pm

    Your dad's memoir is priceless. It's so easy to think about your parents, grandparents and anyone else who has come before you as a black and white face on a picture…and that's it.

    I love that your father took the time to describe more of what made him and you who you are.

  8. geeksinrome permalink
    September 3, 2009 8:44 am

    That is so good he wrote a memoir. Understanding the history of our ancestors is so interesting. I just started watching a video memoir my sister did of our grandmother at least 18 years ago before she died in 1994. It is amazing!

    My sister asked very good questions about how she grew up, what the house was like, the city, her adventures, how she met grandpa…

    Gram was an excellent storyteller and I found it riveting. I would like to do the same thing to my mom -either audio or video- and my Italian in-laws.

    Maybe you doing a memoir-interview with your mom would help answer some questions or would she stink at answering even basic questions about how she grew up?

  9. Mad Hatter permalink
    September 3, 2009 8:04 pm

    Just wanted to thank you for your helpful comments on my blog, my Yin sister! You were right about the liver qi stagnation, huh? 😉 And that's a very good suggestion for me to check my thyroid levels – I believe they checked it when I did my bloodwork on Aug. 19th, but it doesn't hurt to ask again.

  10. Retro Girl permalink
    September 7, 2009 6:25 am

    What a special thing to have! I, too, love the breech comment and would totally take that as a compliment.

    Thinking of you and wishing you well,

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