First the big news....my long nightmare is finally over!!! My driver's license arrived today...and it is good for three years, not one and there is nothing on it which indicates I have to have a behind the wheel test again.
So glad that is finally behind me and I can get on with my life.
Yesterday I went half-heartedly looking for my mother's old scrapbook, which she started in 1940, the year she and my father married. It wasn't where all the scrapbooks are and I didn't want it badly enough to start a massive search, but I mentioned something about scrapbooks to Walt today and he mentioned that there was a box of scrapbooks out in the garage. I asked him to bring it in.
What a find! Yes, my mother's scrapbook was there, at the bottom of the box. But to get to it, I dug down through four scrapbooks which I think belonged to my godfather. Fred was a champion 6 day bicycle racer and there are tons of photos of him racing, as well as newspaper articles about his races and when "Freddy" West became a champion.
But there were lots of other fun things in these scrapbooks. There was a newspaper article about Fred's brother, Tommy, who was a champion bantam-weight prize fighter.
I looked him up on the internet once. He didn't make a big dent in boxing history, but I did find a couple of mentions of him, when he lost to another, more famous boxer.
I never met Tommy and maybe none of my grandfather's siblings. I would love to know about the rift in the family, but they are total strangers to me, other than Fred. Fred came to all of our family events. His wife had divorced him a long time ago, so he was a lonely old bachelor, selling vacuum cleaners for a living and so he was part of our family. But they never even discussed the other brothers, to my memory. At least not in my presence.
There were lots of newspaper articles in these scrapbooks, one with a small article from 1906 which said that Tommy had received a phone call from his mother assuring him that all of the family had survived the San Francisco earthquake and though they were scattered around the city, all were OK.
So these first generation Americans of Irish descent seem to have made names for themselves. Fred as a champion bicycle rider, Tommy as a champion boxer, and my grandfather, who was in an Irish trio known as the Carson Trio. They performed in the waning days of vaudeville and were even invited to New York to possibly sign a contract, but my father was about to be born and that never happened.
That's my grandfather in the middle. Given their local fame and the disappointing failed recording contract, he had the same kind of show biz career that Lawsuit did! History repeats itself.
The biggest surprise from these albums was a portrait of my grandmother. It is the only professional portrait I have ever seen of her, and if I didn't recognize her handwriting, I might not have recognized her at all.
The other interesting thing I came across were a couple of newspaper articles talking about my grandmother's brother, who was divorcing his wife because of her infidelity with three other men. It was a little tiny article, and I guess that was the kind of stuff that made the San Francisco papers at that time! This was another relative I never knew, and don't know why. It's like my grandparents holed up in this tiny apartment from when my father was a small child until my grandfather died in his 80s, and never interacted with family again, except for us, and they were with us for every. single. thing. we did.
I wish I knew what to do with these scrapbooks. There are wonderful photos of the other performers in the vaudeville troupe that they performed with, but I don't have a clue who they are, and tons of newspaper reports about fights and bike races and performances. I hate to throw them away. I guess I'll have to keep them and let the kids toss them after I'm gone. I still feel a connection, however thin, with those people from the turn of the 19th century.