Monday, December 05, 2011

One family member's bore, another's fantastic stories

I am sure you all had a family member who use to tell stories of family history.. and some have told of local history. If this member was your father or even your mother, then they were BORING..and was met by the rolling of the eyes.

My father was not one of those… but his brother, my Uncle Richard was. When my husband and I had moved back East for about 4 years, our first rental was a waterfront property, which rented lower for the winter. But my uncle would come to visit us and thrill us of stories of planes landing across the street from our driveway. Some of them were the usual landings and some were a thrill a minute. We were living on a fairly large island for that area… and my father’s family was born, grew up and lived there as young adults. So there is a lot of family history that wove with the local history.

My grandfather, with two friends, started the first theater on the island. A theater that was being restored and opening up soon (at that time). So it was really neat to hear about the building of it and what shows he remembered being showed there as well as the live acts.

Also my grandfather had the first taxi service from one side of the island to the other side. As the mainland didn’t have a bridge to the island and another from the other side to the other mainland. Now there are two bridges and Jamestown is merely a stepping-stone for the traffic from Newport to Warwick/North Kingston area. But in my grandfather’s time, he had horse and buggies that transferred the people from the ferry on one side to the ferry to the other side. He had a grocery, and then gas station combo in the middle of the town where the main part was. Later on starting a Ford dealership there, and in Newport and Middletown on the mainland.

Uncle Richard also worked for Gorham Silver in Providence until the 1960’s. He was a machinist, I believe. Then went to work for a place that made material .. which was a box of wonder for me when he came to visit and brought me what they called ends. So I had all kinds of material to make shirts and shorts for the kids.

Yes, Uncle Richard was a fountain of history for us nieces and nephews.. but the roll of eyes for his son. And now that his son is over 70, it is kind of neat, as he has been come the story teller, which I never get tired of listening to his recount of things in Providence. As he started his own towing service at the age of 16. I sure hope his grandchildren ask the right questions.. as he can tell them so many things about the area they live in.

So while you might not think much of your parents or your aunt’s and uncles boring stories… maybe you should listen and hear what happen in your town, when they were young. Sure is different from the town you are living in now… and you get your own family that weaves with that town history.

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