Tag Archives: Gertrude Williams

Grandparents Day: my grandmas, and one of my daughter's

One of those holidays I think WAS created by Hallmark is Grandparents Day. Well, technically not, but it FEELS that way.

Here’s another picture my sister Marcia found, taken at some point in the 1940s; no idea where, when or why. The woman in the top row, second from the right is my great aunt Charlotte and the guy next to her in the sweater is her husband, Ernie Yates. Ernie died while his kids Raymond (directly in front of Charlotte), Frances (sitting on the floor), and Donald (on the blonde girl’s lap) were still young, but Charlotte had grandchildren, as Fran, Donald, and Robert (either not yet born, or an infant) all had children. Fran and Donald now have grandchildren.

The woman behind the blonde girl, partially obscured, is my grandma Continue reading Grandparents Day: my grandmas, and one of my daughter's

F is for Family

Rose wrote, in response to my post P is for (Helicopter) Parenting, that it was the first time I had written about family. This surprised me, initially, because I’ve gone on about my daughter every month on the 26th of the month, without fail. In fact, it was one of the two purported reasons I STARTED this blog back in 2005, the other being to tell the JEOPARDY! story.

I’ve written about my wife at least twice a year, on our anniversary and her birthday. My late parents I’ve discussed on the anniversaries of their births and deaths, and my sisters on their respective birthdays.

It’s true, though, that I’ve seldom written about them for ABC Wednesday. Here, then, a summary.

My parents both grew up in Binghamton, New York, a small city near the Pennsylvania border. They were both only children, no I have no direct aunts, uncles or first cousins. Anyone I have called cousins are either my parents’ cousins, or their children. So we have a very small tribe.

My parents met cute Continue reading F is for Family

G is for Gertrude

My grandmother was born Gertrude Elizabeth Yates on August 10. For the longest time, we all, i.e. her daughter and her family, thought she was born in 1898, which I found easy to remember: the Spanish-American War was that year. But one day in the 1960s, she decided, or was persuaded, to register to vote. And we were surprised to discover that she was in fact born in 1897. Why had she lied about this fact for so many years, we never knew.
My mother was born Gertrude Elizabeth Williams on November 17, 1927. The younger Gertrude was called Gertie by her family. Turns out, she HATED being Gertie, and, at some point before I was born, became Trudy. Only some of her cousins still referred to her as Gertie.

I’m fascinated how some names somehow get dubbed as “old-fashioned.” Continue reading G is for Gertrude

E is for Ed and Edna

Sometimes, I felt badly for my mom. She got stuck between a couple dominating personalities and often sublimated her own.

But let’s go way back to the early part of the 20th century. My great-grandparents, Edward Yates and Lillian (nee Archer-pictured) had four children who lived past infancy: Gert, Ed, Ernie and Deana. Edward died by 1920. Gert fell in love with a guy named Clarence Williams, got married, and had a child, Gertie (my mom, who I’ll refer to as Trudy, because that’s what she later called herself.) Well, Lillian didn’t approve of Clarence, a baseball player in the Negro Leagues, for reasons not clear to me, and apparently drove him away. So my mother was raised by her grandmother, her mother and Aunt Deana. The primary male role model for her was Ed, since Ernie had gotten married and started raising a family. Lillian died c 1937, but by then the damage to Gert and Clarence’s relationship had been done, I gather.

Ed fought in World War II and everyone was proud of him. I remember seeing his picture in uniform on a mirror in the house Gert and Deana shared when I was growing up. But Continue reading E is for Ed and Edna