Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Little More....

Several of you have been sending emails and commenting on my Dad's life.I thought I'd post just a little more today and include some of the very few photos we have of his early lifetime. Dad was born in Lincoln, IL in 1925. They didn't have much money and his parents were divorced. He, his mom & brother & sisters lived with his maternal grandparents along with his mother's brother and sister and her two children. All in a two bedroom house. Grandma & Grandpa Turner had one bedroom, Aunt Harriette and her children had another. Dad and his siblings slept in the "sleeping porch" (which was cold as the dickens in winter as it was unheated) and his mom & uncle took turns sleeping on a couch in what should have been a dining room. Here is one of two photos I have of Dad as a boy. It was taken in 1930. In front is my Aunt Betty (Brenda Elizabeth) and Dad (Robert LeRoy McNally). Back is my Aunt LuLu (Lucianna), my Grandmother (Brenda Cossette Turner McNally) and my Uncle Bill. Aunt LuLu is still going strong at 95...most would think she's in her early 70's. After the divorce Grandma left the children with her parents for 18 months and trained as a Practical Nurse (LVN today). She worked nights at the Illinois Hospital for Febleminded Children....though patients were of all ages. The 1930 census lists Dad's father as living in his mother's home in Lincoln. I think it is interesting that though his father and paternal grandparents lived in the same little town (fewer than 5000 residents) he doesn't remember them. Aunt Lulu was 15 then and should have known her grandparents but divorce held a stigma in those days that we cannot comprehend.
Here's a picture of Dad at 15, a sophomore at Lincoln High School during a school production. I'm told he sang "Elmer's Tune" a standard recorded by Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters and more. It had the perfect kind of lyrics for dad that were mostly spoken, not necessarily sung. A few months later a horrific automobile accident took the lives of Dad's mother and grandparents. He moved to Bement, Illinois to live with his older sister Lulu's family as she was then married with a couple of kids.

Age 17 found him in the United States Army Air Corps. He looks so young here. Hard to believe that the world was saved from Hitler by so many very young men just like Dad.
Dad trained in the United States for more than a year before being sent to England. After the war he took advantage of college on the GI Bill and then followed his siblings to CA: the land of opportunity. He met and married my mother, Marcella Mae Pontious McNally within a month.
This is their official wedding picture. I believe it is after they returned from Las Vegas. Mom was 32, Dad was 26. I was born 18 months later with my brothers right behind. We lived "Father Knows Best" and "Leave it to Beaver" lives. There wasn't a ton of money but we never knew that.
Fast forward to 2009 and here's a picture of Dad with his great-grandson, Jakob Hache.
A life well-lived, one that will be remembered.
Tomorrow is my oldest granddaughter, Sydney's FIFTH birthday....whoa! How'd she get to be five?


Corrie and Laura Sutter said...

lovely brenda! thanks for sharing! my dad was just one year older, and they lived similar lives one state apart. His parents divorced as well and he grew up in the home of his maternal grandparents. That is who he learned surveying from- his life career. He went into the Marines for WWII. Later he married my mom who was 31 to his 21! As you know they ran off from Missouri to California to get married.
Later he was in the Korean war.
Corrie and I are doing a blog of his letters to mom from the Korean war.This is the blog link if your friends are interested:

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribune. Part of the "Greatest Generation" and we have SO much to thank them for. God bless ....

pajudie said...

What a great story - thanks for sharing it -