Sunday, March 1, 2015

Respecting my Grandmother's Life Trials

I awoke today thinking about the trials my grandmother endured during her lifetime. Of all the people in my childhood, I felt closest to my grandmother. When my twin brother and I were only 2 years old, our mother divorced our dad and moved to another town in Kansas. As a single father, our dad worked hard as an Accountant at Thies Packing Company in Great Bend, Kansas to support us. He kept our house in Great Bend and moved our family to Hoisington, Kansas to live with his parents, John and Mollie (Koleber) Margheim. So as a toddler, I felt like my Grandma Margheim was more like my mom. She was gentle, loving, kind, and adored us as her first grandchildren. 
Grandma Mollie (Koleber) Margheim in her front yard
with grandchildren Becky and Dennis 1949
I spent some time this afternoon preparing this timeline that includes the major events of  her life. As I look at the family births and deaths she experienced at the ages indicated, it increases the compassion I have for her, which in turn increases the respect I have for her in my memories. 

This timeline shows that my Grandma Margheim was born in Russia, immigrated to America with her parents and two older brothers when she was only one-and-a-half years old. As a 13 year old she lost her older brother Daniel.
John George and Catherine Elizabeth "Katie" (Dietz) Koleber
with sons George Jr (at back), Daniel, and daughter Amalia "Mollie".
At age 18 she married and gave birth to her first son, 13 lb. baby Ernest, my dad. When Grandma was 21, she gave birth to her second son Alfred, on Nov 11, 1923.

John, Mollie, Ernest and Alfred Margheim
about 1927.
Just before Grandma turned 27, her grandmother died. Six weeks later she gave birth to twins (with a combined birth weight of 15 pounds!).
Leonard Marvin and Laverna Margola Margheim
Exactly one month after Grandma gave birth to her twins, her mother died! I'm saddened to even think about it. 

Due to the Great Depression, two years later, in 1931 the family lost their farm and moved from Trego County, Kansas to Longmont, Colorado. My father told me that they initially lived in a barn that belonged to family friends. Their living quarters were divided from the animals by a blanket wall. My grandparents were ages 28 and 30, with 4 small children, ages 10-2. 

Within two years of moving to Colorado, my dad's younger brother Alfred got sick and died. 
Ernest Margheim visits the grave of his younger brother
Alfred in the Hygiene, Colorado Cemetery. 
Within months the family moved back to Kansas. All this happened by the time my grandmother was 30 years old.

In contrast, during my first 30 years of life I experienced no deaths in my immediate family. I graduated from high school, then college, taught school, got married and adopted my son by age 28. My husband and I had moved into our 3rd home and established our own family business. Life was good. I'm grateful that I didn't experience the losses my Grandma did.
Amalia "Mollie" (Koleber) Margheim
Oct 6, 1902-June 6, 1986
Looking at the trials and losses my grandmother experienced during her young life increases the compassion I have for her. I've always had great love and respect for her because she was not one to complain, whine, or feel sorry for herself.  She laughed easily, worked hard for her family, and opened her arms and home to anyone who needed a safe place in which to thrive. She was an affectionate person who had a ready hug for any of her family. 


Pflughoeft said...

Becky...what a beautiful story of your Grandma Margheim. The pictures are wonderful and I especially enjoyed her remarkable timeline!!! As usual, you have inspired me. Thank you so much for sharing!!

Grandpa Landmeier said...

What a great heritage. I need to stop complaining. I had relatives too that lived in WaKeeney.

anitab said...

Wow - this is beautiful - so glad I found your blog!