Monday, June 04, 2007

Family Stories

My post about Maine has made me think of my grandfather a lot recently. He grew up in New Hampshire, the youngest of nine kids. Only one of the nine kids was a girl, and she was the oldest. I think the one girl outlived all her brothers, probably in part because she was the only one who didn't smoke a pack or two a day. Anyway, I got to meet Auntie several times when I was growing up. She did not have much short term memory by the time I met her, but she would tell fantastic stories about her childhood and my grandfather.

[Sidebar: How do you pronounce "aunt"? My mom called my grandfather's sister Auntie, rhymes with Monty, and all her other aunts were Aunt (rhymes with want) Firstname. However, my sister and I grew up pronouncing "aunt" as "ant". H says aunt so that it rhymes with want as well. So I pronounce it "ant" when I am referring to my own aunts, but "aunt" (rhymes with want) when I am referring to H's aunts or my mom's aunts or when I am talking to my nieces and nephews about H's sisters. It is all very confusing to me.]

My favorite Mom'sMaidenName family story is about World War II. I don't know how this story could be totally true, but my mom acts like it is, and I like the story, so I am going to believe it. All of my grandfather's brothers joined the Navy when WWII broke out. But my grandfather was only 14. So he lied about his age and got sent to the South Pacific. As his ship was nearing Japan, another U.S. ship passed on its way back to the U.S. My grandfather was on deck and saw his brother on the other ship's deck. His brother also saw him and started yelling at my grandfather because he was too young to be there. My grandfather just smiled and waved.

Do you have any family legends? And how the heck do you say "aunt"?

17 comments:

Kim said...

no family legends come to mind...but it is pretty early and my brain's not quite up and running yet.

...as for the 'how do you pronounce aunt' thing...I say it like 'ant'...and so does everyone else I know. (it's either pronounced 'ant' or I hear 'antie')

...I've heard British people pronouncing it the other way, rhyming with want.

B said...

I grew up saying aunt like ant, but I only had one, and that was short-lived (divorced my mom's bro). I have a small family, love to hear about big families like your gramps! neat!

3carnations said...

Like a bug. :)

Noelle said...

Our family is so legendless. Mostly, the stories involve ancestors converting from one religion to the other. I only have one aunt, who I never see, and she's definitely an ant. Although, sometimes I like to be snobby, and then I pronounce it the other way, but never about my real aunt.

I love your family story!

-R- said...

Oops. That should be aunt rhymes with want, not aunt rhymes with aunt.

boozie said...

We say "ant". My mom's sister is the only one that I really like and her name is Auntie (antie). Not Auntie (your name here), just Auntie like thats her name. And yeah, my grandpa's sisters always talk about how he burned down 6 acres of a farm, but I don't believe it.

Sarah said...

I have an Aunt (want) Martha and an Aunt (Ant) Brenda. I usually base it on down to earthness and closeness. I'm always closer to "Ants"

stefanie said...

I say aunt like "want" and so does almost everyone I know. I think it's a geographical thing. I have a friend from Ohio who says it like "ant" and tells us we're all weird for saying it the Minnesota way. Nothing like refusing to assimilate, huh?

As for that WWII story, I swear I saw something like that in a movie once...

lizgwiz said...

We say "ant."

The funnest family legend we have is of a relative of my maternal great-great-grandmother, from whom I get my Cherokee blood. One of her family members (a cousin, maybe?) was "Rich Joe"--one of the richest Cherokees ever, and a total slimeball, apparently. He had two plantations in different states, and a wife and kids on each one. He died in a steamboat race--there was an explosion. The legend (and it may be apocryphal, but who cares?) is that the reason for the explosion was that they had run out of fuel, and, determined not to lose the race, he ordered some big cured hams to be thrown in the boiler. Ka-boom! Killed by exploding pork. You may draw your own conclusions about karmic retribution. ;)

JayAre said...

I always say it like ant, I thought the other way was British. Those Brits, always so gosh darn proper.

Our family "legend" is that my great-grandfather was stomped to death in an ally in Reno for cheating at poker. Although, I found out later that the guy who did it actually went to prison, so I guess it's not so much a legend as just an interesting fact. Well, I think it's interesting - it sounds so wild west!

Marmite Breath said...

It's Aunt for me. As in can't. Oh, wait, they both sound like want, because I am a limey.

Christine said...

Cute story! We say aunt like "ant." I always thought it sounded funny the other way.

Why can't I think of any good family stories now?

L Sass said...

I say aunt like "want"

I think my scandinavian-lutheran-minnesotan families are far too straight-laced for any far-fetched family stories. Maybe my generation will create some!

Paisley said...

I say "ant".

My grandpa was best friends (and rommates at Annapolis) with Butch O'Hare (O'Hare airport) and they all stayed at Al Capone's cabin in Wisconsin. Butch's dad was Al Capone's lawyer. Also, my dad or Butch...one or the other saved one or the other's life in a boating accident. Too bad butch died anyways.

ALSO - I did my family tree in high school and found a little known fact about my family and I told my friend and it was the same about HER family so we found out we are related.

The End.

Paisley said...

Oh....and I'm distantly related to some folks in that were involved in the Salem witch trials. Two dudes were related that came over from England. One of them went and propegated us folk and the other went and propegated those other folk.

Propegated...hmmm...is that right?

claire said...

its so funny that my family has the same story. all 'the boys' in the family were in the navy (well, most of them) and they had the same 'ships passing in the harbor' story during WWII. it's sweet, isn't it? i just wish i could remember where they were. i want to say they were in the south pacific, too, but i'm not sure.

and all my aunts are 'ants'.

LC said...

I pronounce it the way it rhymes with 'want'.

Which I've been told is unusual for the area I live in. Everyone here pronounces it the other way.