As you see from my featured image, I am taking a little different spin with this blog posting today. Normally, I feature a vintage postcard; however, my featured image today is of a vintage, or likely antique Valentine’s Day greeting card that actually opens up. There is no publishing company listed and no lyric written on the interior of the card. This particular card seemed to be a good fit for me in writing this piece today.
There was no prior thought, on my part, given to writing this blog story today. It was unplanned, very last minute. So, a few of the record-type items that I possess will not be included even though I wish they were. The hope would be to expand on some of the family information in future blog pieces.
As my grandfather has been brought to my mind on every Valentine’s Day, without fail, I thought perhaps maybe this time I should share a little of his story.
On that Valentine’s Day, in 1972, I was in ninth grade, 14 years old, when my paternal Grampy took his last breath. How is it that so many years ago can seem like it was yesterday? So clearly, I remember being at the hospital that evening, it brings to mind the dreary darkness of that winter night.
Just a couple of doors down the hospital hallway, my best friend’s mother was a patient at the same time as Grampy and her family was in to visit with her at the same time. Both families were very close, they lived next door to us. We lost her mom the following year after her difficult battle with MS.
A couple of years prior, my grandfather had to undergo major surgery after receiving a cancer diagnosis. At the time, I was not aware of too many particulars, only that I had the knowledge that they removed a huge amount of his intestines. What an awful thing to do through. Back then, they really did not have chemo type treatments, so a long-term outlook was pretty bleak.
In the picture above, Grampy is sitting in the middle with my dad in the red shirt and Uncle Richard in the tie. The picture top right is of my grandparents and my dad as a baby. The picture bottom right is Grampy helping my dad and my brother Mark as they were making the clam bake, which became a bit of an annual tradition on Labor Day weekend.
My paternal grandparents lived in the apartment upstairs from ours until I was about eleven years old. I can remember my grandmother being extremely upset one evening when we returned from our weekend at the cottage, in Charlestown. In today’s lingo, she was basically “freaking out”. Apparently, my grandfather was passing blood in his urine, bad enough to cause such alarm.
The details of him going to the hospital during that initial phase of his health decline, is a blur. However, I do remember when he had the surgery and going to visit at the hospital. He was on plenty of medication so he was out of it most of the time upon our visits.
Some time after that major surgery, my grandparents moved into Senior housing, on West Shore Road, in Warwick. I think that I was in sixth grade at that time. I can remember staying overnight on the couch a few times and Grampy having to go through quite the morning process in the bathroom since he had one of those “bags”. My mind cannot quite remember but I believe he may have had a couple of additional stays at the hospital between the major surgery and February of 1972.
My life, as a child, had been very intertwined with my paternal grandfather. He used to play the string game: cat’s cradle with me on a regular basis. He taught us how to properly play domino’s. Many hours were spent with my reading chapter books to him that I brought home from the school library. Grampy had one of those old time wire baskets, with the long handle, that was used often for popping corn over the flame of the propane gas stove.
Grampy loved to garden. Whenever I see marigolds I think of him as he always seemed to make sure to plant those. He used to have a great vegetable garden with huge tomato plants, that our ducks would flatten in quick order upon our return from the summer cottage the day after Labor Day. Those vegetables had been planted in the duck pen, making use of their fertilizer.
Being old-fashioned, Grampy always used the hand-push mower to cut the grass. He would sharpen the blades to keep it in good working order.
Frequently, there were “Sunday drives” taken with my family and my paternal grandparents, especially after my dad bought the station wagon with the third seat in the back. In early Spring, Grampy would have us stopping to collect “brakes” which was some type of young fern plant growing in swampy areas. He enjoyed cooking and eating them, as well as, the young leaves of the dandelion plants he used to have us harvesting from yards. I found their taste to be a bit too bitter.
Grampy was a pipe smoker, of the tobacco variety and the cherry blended type seemed to be his favorite. That cherry tobacco had a memorable aroma that I can recognize to this day as I still run across it once in a while.
For many years, I remember my grandfather working as a Guard for Pontiac Mill, in Warwick, when the Fruit of the Loom Company was operating there. I can remember they had a huge billboard out by the road.
The picture below shows the family at Christmas 1965 in our apartment on the first floor. Grammy is shown on left toward the front and Grampy next to her in the tie.
Commonly, Grampy wore a fedora hat. As his father before him, he stood on the taller side and had those lanky legs that seem to be a family trait. My grandfather’s pride and joy was his DeSota car that was used as his primary vehicle right up until they moved into the Senior housing. He kept that car washed and waxed–I can still picture him constantly polishing the shiny black surface and the nifty visor that hung along the windshield. There was a running family joke that if Grampy was polishing his car, “watch out” because it meant surely rain would soon follow.
My paternal grandparents went along on many of our family vacation trips that usually included some camping and maybe some vintage cabins. We visited New Hampshire several times, the Lake George area of New York and a very memorable trip to Pennsylvania one summer that I will write about in the future.
The picture on the left above was taken in 1969 on one of our adventures. The picture on the right was taken at my adoptive maternal grandparents house, by the little fish pool in the garden backyard area. My Grampy is the one in the middle with the suit, the little boy I believe is my dad’s brother Richard. My mom is standing on the end and her adoptive parents on the opposite side.
Grampy’s father was a Carpenter, by trade, and a lot of that knowledge was passed down. He helped my dad in building the little cottage in Charlestown and I remember, firsthand, when they put together the addition. He made sure everything was done “just so”.
Personally, I tend to be quite the “worry wart” and this trait was also common to Grampy. He could also yell up a storm. My poor grandmother had to tolerate an earful on a regular basis and truth be told, I do believe she found a fair amount of peace upon his passing.
So, you can see how that Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1972, was a turning point for our family. For me, it has never been the same.
The following information will provide some of Grampy’s family background. Previously, I have touched upon some of his genealogy and I do hope to explore additional family members in future writings. It is still a work in progress and I have recently had some interesting findings.
My grandfather, James Burton Lindall was born on Sept. 1, 1898, in Coventry, RI and died on Feb. 14, 1972. Several years ago, when I applied to the State of RI to get a copy of my grandfather’s birth certificate, the only thing they could come up with showed his name as Clarence. I have seen people list him as Clarence in their tree’s. I don’t know what the story is about that, whether his parents changed their mind or what but he was never known as Clarence and all his official information was listed as James B. Lindall. He was married to my grandmother, Alice Holden who was born on Dec. 28, 1901, in RI and died on Dec. 6, 1985.
Grampy’s parents were William Olney Lindall, born July 3, 1854 and died Dec. 25, 1939. William was married to Elnora Marie Bennett, born 1866 and died 1916 (I do not seem to have her exact dates handy).
In the picture above, Grampy’s father Wiliam is on the right in the dark suit, Grampy is standing in the middle and his sister Claude is sitting. The picture on the right is Grampy’s mother Elnora.
Grampy had three siblings, two survived. In the pictures shown below, the top left corner shows Grampy standing in the middle with Aunt Hazel in the light colored dress and Aunt Claude is in the pink colored dress. The picture shown on the right is Aunt Claude in her younger days. The picture on the bottom left corner is Grampy with Aunt Claude.
His sister Claudia E. Lindall (1896-1995) was married to Gustaf Frederick Irons (1896-1958). They had two sons, William and James. They are in the picture shown below.
His sister Hazel I. Lindall (1905-1990) was married to Vernon Magnuson (1900-1971). They had two children, Eleanor and Robert. Shown below is Aunt Hazel with her daughter Eleanor.
His third sister Jesse May, died as an infant of bronchial pneumonia (again, I don’t have her dates handy).
Our direct Lindall line goes back to the first James Lindall, his exact arrival year is unknown but he was said to reside in Duxbury, Mass. by 1640. In 1645, he was a merchant in Bridgewater, Mass., and migrated to the Salem area at some point.
Recently, I discovered that the mother of William O. Lindall (Hannah Weaver Jordan) was descended from Clement Weaver from her mother’s side.
Clement Weaver came over from England to Boston by 1640 and then settled in Weymouth, Mass. by 1643. By about 1650, he migrated to the Newport-Portsmouth area of Rhode Island.
In closing, I have given just a limited amount of my grandfather’s genealogy above. If you would like to read about some of the Lindall history that I have written about previously, then you may go to my “home page” and click the tab labeled “Lindall”. There is a lot more to explore. My hope would be to share some brighter stories in the future and hoping that my personal connection of my grandfather’s memory to this Valentine’s Day is not too grim.
Until next time…