Saturday, June 16, 2012

Family Stories = Family History, Part II

I was six-years-old when I first found out my grandma had a glass eye. My grandma was staying with us for a few days to help out after the birth of my brother. I walked into the bathroom one morning and there it was – her glass eye – in a case on the edge of the sink.

I can still remember feeling shocked – about the glass eye AND that no one had ever told me about it. My grandma gave me an abbreviated version of why she had a glass eye, and I never asked again until I was an adult and wanted to know more about her life growing up. That’s when she told me what happened.

She was outside burning a stack of newspapers from the house.

“They weren’t burning very fast, so I took a stick and was stirring. A 22 bullet was in there and it exploded and went right into my eye.

 I went to Duluth and they tried to get it out with a magnet. The shell had gone into my right eye, and they couldn’t get it out. I went home from the hospital and my eye got infected, so I had to hurry in and they removed the eye about a week later. I would have lost the other eye, too, if they didn’t remove it.

My grandma was a very strong, resilient woman. Her family survived the horrors of the Cloquet Fire of 1918. She lived and worked on a farm for most of her life. When she was 67 she learned how to drive – yes, with one eye. Talk about tough, for those of you from Cloquet, Miss Steinhaus was her driver’s ed instructor (and my high school homeroom teacher).

When my grandma died in 1994, a group of us cousins went out to eat and reminisce about her.  I told the story about finding her glass eye on the sink when I was six, and shock, two of my cousins never knew she had a glass eye. How do you have a family story like that and never pass it down?

Share those important family stories with your kids and grandkids. Help them learn more about where they came from and what they are a part of: a family.

"One of the Family History Research services I provide is scanning your family photos, typing up family stories and laying them out in a scrapbook format on a CD.

 Discover your roots and watch the branches of your family tree begin to grow.

For more information on my Family History Research services, visit and click on Family History Research.

On This Date in Minnesota History: June 16

June 16, 1933 – Thomas Liquor store at 1941 Grand Ave. in St. Paul was Rosedale Pharmacy in 1933. It was here in a soda booth on this date that William Hamm Jr.’s kidnapper, Fred Goetz, left the Hamm family a ransom note asking for $100,000 to release the Twin Cities’ industrialist.

Friday, June 15, 2012

On This Date in Minnesota History: June 15

June 15, 1933 – William Hamm Jr., the millionaire president of the Hamm Brewing Company and the 39-year-old grandson of its founder, was kidnapped on this date as he walked to his St. Paul mansion for lunch.1 On June 18, 1933, the ransom was paid and Hamm was left blindfolded in a vacant field in Wyoming, Minn. on Highway 61, where he was able to run to a nearby farmhouse for help.2

Thursday, June 14, 2012

On This Date in Minnesota History: June 14

June 14, 1905 – Aging Civil war veterans carry tattered Minnesota regimental flags from the old Capitol to the new Capitol building.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

On This Date in Minnesota History: June 13

June 13, 1991 — “Lightning strikes during the U.S. Open Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, killing one spectator and injuring five others.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

On This Date in Minnesota History: June 12

June 12, 1964 — “In their first Minnesota appearance, the Rolling Stones flop badly, drawing only 283 fans to Danceland at Excelsior Park, when a promoter decides not to advertise the concert because of fears the event would produce a new round of fan-driven hysteria similar to Beatle-mania.”

Monday, June 11, 2012

On This Date in Minnesota History: June 11

June 11, 1980 – Twin Rod Carew had a season-high 4 rbi, on this date vs. New York.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

On This Date in Minnesota History: June 10

June 10, 1892 – “The Republican National Convention in Minneapolis nominated President Harrison for re-election and Whitelaw Reid for vice president. (Harrison, however, lost the election to former President Cleveland.)”