Tuesday, March 1, 2011

THE THREE MUSES - ANCESTRY



The young man on the left of this image is my maternal grandfather. He was accompanied by his elder brother on a voyage that brought them from Iceland to their new home, Canada, in the late 1800's. This cabinet card photo was taken at the Lyceum Studios in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They settled, like many Icelanders, along the Icelandic River. My grandfather married and his wife died in childbirth. They had been blessed with 1 daughter and a set of twin boys. When she died in childbirth she had given birth to another set of twins, girls. Unable to look after 5 children himself, the newborn twin girls were given to childless married friends who raised the girls to adulthood. They lived in a small community so my grandfather was able to see the twins grow to adulthood. My grandfather, having been from Iceland, sent for a housekeeper/nanny for the family he was raising. That lady became his wife two years later and the following year my mother was born. My grandmother (In Icelandic grandmothers are called "Amma", while grandfathers are called "Afi"). They had 4 more children after my mom, 3 more girls and the youngest a son. I was only a few years old when my grandfather died at an elderly age. I still remember Afi as a gentle, kind man who never raised his voice. He had a full head of beautiful white hair, and my mom said he had lovely black curly hair as she remembered, as she was growing up. My fondest memory was going to visit Amma and Afi each day as they only lived about a block from my childhood home. The visits were wonderful, and I must admit as a child they were also self-serving as Afi always had a small paper bag with Scotch mints that he kept atop the rafters in a wee room under the stairs to the upper floor. The memories are few, but still cherished.

14 comments:

Yvonne said...

Beautiful picture, Gayle! So nice to hear the stories of our ancestors. Thanks for sharing :)

Grannie Annie said...

A wonderful picture and a great story Gayle. You are the first person I have ever met with Icelandic heritage...awesome.

danit said...

What a lovely story.

LiveArt said...

What a wonderful tribute and thank you so much for sharing the touching story of your ancestors. Loved reading about your childhood memories :) Have a wonderful rest of week my friend!!
hugs and smiles,
Linda

Kaylene said...

What a touching story.

Junibears said...

What a gorgeous photo and a lovely story! Thanks for sharing it Gayle.xx

indybev said...

Handsome ancestors! Thank you for sharing their story. I think it's wonderful our community of Three Muses artists are sharing a bit of their family stories this week. I'm savoring each and every entry! I loved hearing about your Amma and Afi!

Taluula said...

Oh wow, Gayle, a wonderful picture and a very fascinating history to accompany it. I loved reading it and thinking about all the twists and turns in their lives. Beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

Lizbethem said...

A lovely story and two very handsome young men!

LynnF said...

Thanks for sharing...what a wonderful history...your grandfather sounds like a special man. The picture is just wonderful. I really enjoyed reading about your family...beautiful!

Faye said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your family, Gayle. What a different world it was back then! This is a beautiful tribute to your grandfather.

Janine said...

It is wonderful to read the story about your grandparents.
And iceland, they really came into a new world then.
Your grandpa, was almost a child, when this picture was made.
Have a great weekend
Janine

Dolly Daydreams said...

Wonderful picture and beautiful memories. Thanks for sharing. Marie

Ozstuff said...

Gayle, I love your story about your maternal grandfather. He must have been very young when he moved from Iceland to Canada. He looks like a boy of maybe 15 or 16 in the photo. How lucky you were to know him - at least for a short while. The photo is a wonderful keepsake.