Thursday, January 07, 2010

A Eulogy of Sorts, Part I

Dad was born in Montana in August 1950. He was the third child born to my grandparents, who spent their summers in northwestern Montana (where my grandfather grew up) and their winters in southern California. Grandpa's parents had brought him from Iowa to Montana in a covered wagon in the very early 1900's. Sadly, they emigrated to Montana because the federal government broke yet another Indian treaty, in this case with the Salish (commonly called Flathead) tribe of the Mission Valley. My grandfather always said that he was too stupid to be afraid of the Salish, while his mother was terrified of them.

Grandpa Kinnick never talked about much that happened to him before WWII. Apparently he had a wife who killed herself, and I think another one who left him. We have no idea if he had any children with these women, but I can't find any records of any so I'm going to assume he did not. It always bothered my Dad a little; the possibility he had unknown half-siblings. One family member claims Grandpa and his brothers went to Alaska and opened up a barber shop & pool hall but were run out of town for offering back-room gambling; another relative claims it was not Alaska but somewhere in the mountains of Montana (which is a bit more credible).

Grandpa served in WWII, in the navy. He was an older soldier; by the time the war ended he was 42. He met my grandmother when, quite shockingly, she was not yet seventeen. He was a handsome, friendly veteran and I imagine as a teenage farm girl from a stern Norwegian family she was quite smitten. They married, and my uncle J was born 7 months later. Yes, you read that right.

After Uncle J came Uncle Steve, then in 1950 came Dad. So I guess this is where the story of Dad starts, and where Part I ends.


Jessica said...

Eagerly awaiting the rest of the story!

Stephanie said...

What an incredible start to an amazing mans life. I love the tawdry bits of your family history.

Ken said...

tawdry- great word.