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Archive for August, 2013

Part VI

Today’s passage is about a sad and difficult time in Grandpa’s life.  Connie wrote, Adrian was

Grandpa, an only child, grew up living with his parents and his widowed grandfather. Yet, by the time he was 23 years old, he was alone in the world, except for his new wife, my grandmother.

He had lost both parents and his grandfather. Yet, at the interview, he told Connie that it “didn’t bother” him that much. He said his father prepared him ahead of time for his death and for taking care of the household affairs.

Grandpa’s mother Cora DeKorn Zuidweg’s obituary

Since Grandpa’s father died in 1929, of kidney failure, and his mother died three years later in 1932, of leukemia, I suspect that his father prepared him to take over the family affairs so that his ailing mother didn’t have to do so. It was probably taken to be a man’s work, and since Grandpa was an adult, he would be expected to take care of his mother. He did take care of her, and towards the end had the help of Grandma. Grandpa and Grandma were married in May of 1932, and Grandpa’s mother died in December of that year. So for seven months, newlywed Grandma helped Grandpa to take care for her ailing mother-in-law.

Grandma and Grandpa formed a strong bond, which lasted their entire lives. It’s no surprise that Grandma interrupted the interview to explain why Grandpa would say he wasn’t “bothered” by losing his family at such a young age. She knew that he was raised not to show emotion and that he was very good at showing a “stiff upper lip.” But being married to him all those years, she knew that it was very difficult for him to experience such loss.

Grandpa saying “I guess that’s why there’s Valium” sounds just like his sense of humor, another way of deflecting from deep emotion.

Grandma and Grandpa in later years

Grandma and Grandpa in later years

I hope you’ll stay tuned for Part VII of Grandpa’s story . . . .

Here are the first parts of the story:

Click this link for Part I

Click this link for Part II

Click this link for Part III

Click this link for Part IV

Click this link for Part V

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Click this link for Part I

Click this link for Part II

Click this link for Part III

Click this link for Part IV

Part V

I remember my grandmother telling me about Grandpa’s father, my great-grandfather, Adriaan Zuijdweg. She said he worked all day at the store without a day off, and during the day he wouldn’t eat. He would go hungry for hours and then come home and eat a steak the size of a dinner plate. Not much else. But a giant steak.I can’t remember for sure if he put horseradish or hot mustard on it, but I’ll bet he did. Grandpa always liked to add the hot stuff to his meats, and I think he probably learned it from his dad.

Adriaan Zuijdweg with son Adrian Zuidweg

Adriaan Zuijdweg with son Adrian Zuidweg

Grandpa brings up his father at this point in his story:

The story continues that, in 1929, Grandpa’s father died, at age 58, of kidney failure. Grandma thought maybe that eating pattern contributed to or caused his death.  I do wonder how they knew it was his kidneys or if they would have done an autopsy.

The rest of the information in this passage was new to me. I didn’t realize when Adriaan became ill, the family had to sell their store.  Nor did I know that he went back to school to become an accountant.  This kind of blew my mind for a couple of reasons. First, I didn’t realize that the idea of re-educating oneself at midlife was considered an option in those days!  My goodness, that is something to consider . . . .  I’m proud of him for taking that step. I wonder where he went to school.

Second, I love that he went to become an accountant because it shows that Grandpa also got his love of accounting and finance from his father (or was it the other way around?!).  My Uncle Don then followed in their footsteps by going into the field.

I was sorry to see that Grandpa had to quit school because of his father’s poor health. Although I knew he left school early, I thought it was because his blind eye made studying difficult. But from reading this story it’s become clear that his eyesight didn’t affect his school work in that way.  Knowing he quit for financial reasons made me more sad for him.

I’m glad he was still able to have a good time as a teen.  The mention of playing pool was astounding as my grandfather was not a party type at all, and I think of The Music Man:

Oh, we got trouble
Right here in River City
    Right here in River City
With a capital 'T' and that rhymes with 'P'
And that stands for 'pool'
    That stands for pool

Imagining Grandpa at the poolhall . . . . 😉

It’s much easier to imagine him fishing with his grandfather.  I’ve already posted two photos of Grandpa with a fishing pole and one of his grandfather, Richard DeKorn, fishing. Here they are in a slide show.

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I hope you’ll stay tuned for Part VI of Grandpa’s story . . . .

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Click this link for Part I

Click this link for Part II

Click this link for Part III

Part IV

Grandpa always enjoyed watching and following sports.  Reading his story I now understand that his love of sports began when he was young.  We used to eat Thanksgiving dinner before the game, and I first learned about sports scores in the newspaper when he showed them to me.

It’s not surprising to me that Grandpa “was a good student and athlete.”  What I enjoy reading are the details.  That he played something called “soccer (rugby)” and was on the track team.  I was never an athlete, but I did enjoy track and tennis–especially track.  Maybe when I was in high school he told me he used to be on the track team, but I don’t remember .  I wonder what his events were.  I favored low hurdles and 100 yard dash.  Other than square dancing, it was the only PE activity I had talent at, but I didn’t have the guts to pursue it outside of class.  Other than that, I was always the 2nd to the last girl chosen for the team. However, other grandchildren were talented athletes, and at least three of his great-grandchildren are very accomplished athletes.

Curious about how rugby is parenthetical to soccer, I had to look it up.  Here is an interesting history of soccer in the United States which explains the rugby connection, as well as how soccer had come to very popular at the time Grandpa would have entered high school, in the early 1920s.

From 1875-1894

After the demise of college soccer in 1876, working class communities in the US adopted the game, taking on the rugby/gridiron form of soccer. It is interesting to note that this trend took place at the same time in Europe and the US. The development could be seen in New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York City, also spreading rapidly to Fall River and New Redford (MA) by 1870s. The game also clashed with the popular sport of baseball in the US, considered as American past time.

Beginning in early 1890s, soccer witnessed an average growth in Denver, Cincinnati, Cleveland and even San Francisco and Los Angeles by the end of the century. Owing to corporate sponsorships, some leagues attained semi-pro statistics. The American League of Professional Football collapsed owing to heavy financial losses during its first season.

In 1904, FIFA was established and was seen as lack of any national organizing association in the US. After FIFA refused an American application for membership during their 1912 congress, the speedily growing AAFA members formed the United States Football Association, which was accepted by FIFA. The main aim of the association was to end the struggle between amateur and professional soccer organizations.

Three of the early dynasties of American Soccer were,

  •  The Fall River Rovers- winners of the American Cup in 1888 and 1889,
•  Bethlehem Steel, who won the American Cup in 1914, 1916, 1917, 1918, and 1919
•  And winners of the National Challenge Cup in 1915, 1916, 1918, and 1919

The 1920s are popularly known as the golden era in the history of American soccer. The establishment of American Soccer League in 1921 was a mark as there was now a league that could compete with European players.

Grandpa must have had quite a walk to get to the track meets. I wonder where on campus they were held in those years.  Read Fieldhouse didn’t exist until 1957. Waldo Football Stadium wasn’t constructed until 1939, across from the baseball stadium. However, football had been on that particular property since 1914.   Since the school began as Western Normal School in 1903, only five years before Grandpa was born, I believe that at the time he was walking there, everything was located in that area off Oakland Drive (Known as Asylum Road).  It’s still quite a hike from his home on Burdick Street.

I had no idea that Grandpa had another major injury while he was still a child. A spike lodging near his spine?! That would be so frightening–for him and for his parents.  He was an only child, so his parents doted on him very much. Then to think that he missed a year and a half of school because of the injury makes me wonder what he did for that time. Was he around his mother a lot or was she at the shop? Did his grandfather still live there?  I know that his grandfather remarried when he was two, so I need to piece together addresses to see where all the family members lived each year. It seems that Grandpa’s grandfather may have moved next door when he remarried, but I can’t yet be sure.

I’m not surprised he joined the baseball team after that as he would have been “rarin” to  go, and baseball was another very popular sport.

Finally, don’t think that his comment about his teacher, Mrs. Dilts, is just an “aside.”  Grandpa loved finance.  He loved everything about money and how it worked–finance, economics, accounting.  Therefore, I suspect that he first got bitten by the love bug of finance in Mrs. Dilts’ class.  Every night, after his Sunoco station closed, Grandpa closed himself in the bedroom that served as an office and counted the money.

I hope you’ll stay tuned for Part V of Grandpa’s story . . . .

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Click this link for Part I

Click this link for Part II

Part III

As I grew up there were two ways I knew my grandfather was blind in one eye. One way was that I was sometimes warned, “Be careful. You don’t want to lose your eye like Grandpa.” Mom and Dad will probably disagree that Grandpa was used as a warning to me, but I know the truth in this respect . . . .  The other way I knew was that he had one blue eye, just like mine, and he had one green eye.

Everybody else I knew had two eyes of the same color.

In this next part of Grandpa’s story he tells Connie what happened to his eye.

In 1911, Grandpa’s eye was treated at the University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor, about 100 miles away from his home.  I imagine the worried parents and the frightened boy travelling all that way on “streetcar, train and horse-drawn carriages.”  What would that trip be like today?  A visit in the car or ambulance to the nearest hospital, then perhaps a drive of an hour and a half to the medical center?  In an ambulance or a car, depending on the urgency.  The car would have the boy’s car seat in it.  What was it like for him? Was he carried as they moved from one mode of transportation to the next?

I believe it’s likely that he was seen at the old hospital in Ann Arbor on Catherine Street.  It is no longer there as it was replaced by the 700-bed University Hospital in 1925.

Photo by Wystan

Photo by Wystan

Today it’s hard to imagine letting your three-year-old play with a needle, but in those days children learned how to perform daily chores and trades at their parents’ sides.

The description of Grandpa bouncing off the table from being shocked by the X-ray machine is frightening. When I looked up the history of X-rays on Wikipedia, it was even more frightening. Although a lot of research led up to the moment, X-rays were not actually “discovered” until 1895. The site states, “The first use of X-rays under clinical conditions was by John Hall-Edwards in Birmingham, England on 11 January 1896, when he radiographed a needle stuck in the hand of an associate.” Since Grandpa’s injury was in 1911 and UM had only had the machine for twelve years, that means that they bought one of the first machines in 1899.

1899 X-ray machine

1899 X-ray machine

I understand that Grandpa’s medical records from 1911 are still stored at the University of Michigan. I hope I will be privileged to see a copy of them some day.

Here is a photo of the cute little boy who got a needle stuck in his eye:

Adrian Zuidweg, 1908-2000

Adrian Zuidweg, 1908-2000

Grandpa’s stoic attitude about his blind eye was typical of his personality. He didn’t show emotion very often, and he was quite practical. He loved his routines. His talent with routines and his prodigious memory proved invaluable when he became completely blind.

I hope you’ll stay tuned for Part IV of Grandpa’s story . . . .

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