Monday, November 29, 2010

Georgie Porgie

The Barney Lynam family circa 1900. Back left to right: My grandfather, George Albert Lynam, born this day, 1891; Agnes Lulu Lynam Thomas, April 15, 1888; William James Lynam, April 15, 1889. Middle: My great grandparents: Bernard Thomas Lynam, December 16, 1863 and Nancy Emma Gravett Lynam, July 14, 1870. In front, Ralph Vincent Lynam, November 7, 1895.

"Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie; Kissed the girls and made them cry.
When the boys came out to play, Georgie Porgie ran away." I wonder how often my grandpa heard that old English nursery rhyme when he was growing up? I always assumed the rhyme was about one of the Kings George. Instead it is about George Villiers, First Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628). I've also assumed George and Albert were popular names because of the English Royalty, but I don't know if that is why my grandfather was so named.

On November 15, 1914, two weeks before his 23rd birthday, George Albert Lynam and 23 year-old Bessie Lucille Duncan were married. They met while both working as hired help on the same farm. How long did they know one another before marrying? Twenty-three seems 'old' to be getting married for the first time in those days. Had either had serious romances before?
In this wedding photo, Grandma is holding a bouquet of Lily of the Valley, which doesn't bloom in November. Did they wait until spring for a wedding photo? Were the flowers fake? Did Grandma stitch her own beautiful dress? If I had asked her these questions when I could have, would I have received answers? I doubt it. Grandma was always pretty reticent to talk about the past.

This looks more like a November wedding - the photo I couldn't find for my November 19 blog about getting married in a blizzard - seventy-one years after my grandparents' November vows.

Ronald was six months old in this October, 1940 picture. He was the first of seven grandchildren for George and Bessie. Their son, Louis, had two boys and two girls; daughter, Leona, two boys and one girl. (Their other daughter, Evelyn, born between Louis and Leona, only lived four days.)

I don't have many memories of my Grandpa Lynam. I was only four when he died in 1947 - two years after this picture was taken of us at their acreage on the west edge of Corning. I don't know what I was trying to do to my baby sister, Betty. Maybe straightening her bonnet for the picture? (More likely trying to get her off Grandma's lap so I could sit there!) It had every one's attention except my brother, Ron's. He was happily sitting next to his Grandpa and smiling for the camera.
I do remember stopping to see him at work at the old Farmers Co-op gas station. And I remember hearing that he ate corn flakes for breakfast because that was the only cereal that didn't taste too bad without sugar. Grandpa was diabetic. I grew up being warned not to eat too many sweets or I would get diabetes, "like Grandpa".
What if my parents, grandparents, great grandparents, great-great grandparents and so on had kept journals in the same way I am doing by blogging? How much I would love knowing more about them! I hope I'm giving my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren a gift by telling them what I can of their ancestors.
"To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root." (Chinese Proverb)

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