My father also lived in Milwaukee, but his upbringing was different. He was the only son and had one sister. He once told me that his family was wealthy in comparison to my mother’s family. They lived in a beautiful brick home in a nice quiet neighborhood.
I know very little about my father’s side of the family except for the few things he shared and a couple of sketchy memories that I have. We rarely went to see them. I don’t think we were ever invited. When we did go my brothers, sister and I had to sit against the wall in the basement. We stayed where we were put. Back then children were seen and not heard. We were given cake. I was worried that I might drop a crumb on the floor. You could have eaten off my grandmother’s floor. Nothing like our home, that’s for sure.
Very little was ever said about my father’s family. Each year on my Grandpa F’s birthday my father would call to wish him a Happy Birthday. No such call ever came to our house for any of our Birthdays.
My father said they did not like my mother and that was the reason they disowned him. I never felt that was the reason. What I did know was that my father’s parents wanted nothing to do with any of us. It was as if we did not exist.
My mother told me that my father was made to leave home and live with his uncle because he fought too much with his sister. Years later I found a diary that indicated my father lived home up until he married. He did have a close relationship with his uncle but do not see anything that indicates he was made to leave home. This was one of many “stories” I would find he told that lacked an element of truth.
Father’s sister was loved and wanted. Later, her daughter was also cherished, and I think my father despised her for it. Grandpa F died at 102 years of age.
At the age of 14, my father went through Confirmation in the Lutheran Church. He said they excommunicated him for not paying the money he was required to pay as a member of the church. He wanted nothing more to do with them or any other church or God from that time forward. All he needed was himself… and my mother.
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