“up in the clouds”

Standard

Historical fiction has always been one of my favorite genres.  I love the fact that the story is based on history, but that the characters in the story can come alive in any way that the author chooses.  This photo was sent to me last week because my cousin Doug is also curious about our family history…he wondered if the cousins knew anything more about the picture.

my grandpa looks like jeff

When I got this picture I had absolute chills looking into my Grandpa’s eyes…one of the things I remember most about him…were those grey blue eyes that matched my own.  He was this solid rock of a man who loved to watch and learn, a swedish immigrant- a man of few words but a man with a giant lap for his granddaughter.  I loved the way he opened his silver lighter.  He would let me hold it too, heavy in my little girl hands.  Then he would bounce me and sing this Swedish song,”Rita rita runka, asta beet a blunka…”( my phonetic rendition).  Sometimes he would show us his small garden plot near the apartment where he lived.  He was proud of growing his flowers in the shade of the tall buildings.  When I was eight he moved to California…so far from Illinois.  When I saw him again three years later he happily tended a bigger garden with lemon and orange trees in back of his small house in San Fernando.

I know that my Grandpa worked hard in Chicago in the trades after World War I.  He built their family home and then lost it in the Great Depression.  I know people on the north side of Chicago loved and helped each other out during hard times.  They all had the hope that things would turn around and dreamed big dreams for their children and their grandchildren.  America was still their land of opportunity, where the immigrant citizen mattered.

This picture makes me want to write it…his story of survival in our bustling city.  Research is needed, I know…but I feel like have a  start.

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About Judson RISE professor

lifelong teacher who is semi-retired (does this sound better?) who loves God, family and laughing... who hates social injustice... who wants to write every day... who needs to exercise every day... who blog hops... who wants to live her everyday life led by her savior, Jesus Christ!

10 responses »

  1. Wonderful photo-he is so handsome & full of hope! What a project you have ahead of you. You should try to find out more, see what happens! Maybe you can piece together his story, for yourself, for your children and grandchildren. I hope we get to hear more!

  2. It looks like you have a plan for when you finish teaching – children learn so much from historical fiction so I guess when you write your book you will continue to teach but in a different way

  3. You should get started on this project ASAP! I really think that one of the GOOD parts of the Common Core Standards is that we are once again realizing that we learn about the “times” of history through the stories of its people.
    As for me….when I retire….I want to write about my dad and his life growing up as the youngest of 10 on a farm in upstate NY during the Depression years. It’s finding time to write that is challenging for all of us….but this SOL exercise certainly gets the juices flowing!

  4. I have goosebumps for you. It’s exciting to be a the brink of a project — inspire and itching to move forward. I hope you begin collecting bits — bits about your grandfather; bits about the Depression; bits about post-war Chicago and San Fernando; bits of language and images from books you are reading. And I hope you share them with us.
    Happy writing,
    Ruth

  5. I have goosebumps for you. It’s exciting to be a the brink of a project — inspire and itching to move forward. I hope you begin collecting bits — bits about your grandfather; bits about the Depression; bits about post-war Chicago and San Fernando; bits of language and images from books you are reading. And I hope you share them with us.
    Happy writing,
    Ruth

  6. The photo is an awesome springboard for your writing. What an exciting project for you. I hope you keep us updated on the information you learn.

  7. What a great strategy for kids too – using a photo to jump start writing. Loved the description of his eyes and how they are also your eyes. That is such a cool connection to carry with you.

  8. You have a good start with your memories of this special man in your life. I hope you will write the book. It sounds like a good story to tell.

  9. Pictures always seem to be a jumping off point – far back in your memory, you have probably heard many stories about the grandpa and what an awesome project to start. Happy searching and writing.

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