Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How Bubbe and Pop Came to Live in East Liverpool, Ohio

I call my grandfather, Sandy Lebman, by the name Pop. My Pop's parents, Sam and Pauline (aka "Polly") Lebman, were called Bubbe and Pop by their grandchildren, and they originally came to New York City from Poland. They came separately, which has posed some interesting challenges for me genealogically. They grew up in the same shtetl, Kurow, left Poland as teens, and ended up getting married in New York. During my recent visit with my grandparents, my Pop told me they left New York because Sam did not have a job. They went to Detroit to work in the Ford factory building cars. They hated it. Sam and Polly decided to head back to New York, but they didn't have enough money for a train ticket all the way to New York. Instead, they told a ticket salesperson how much money they had and asked them how far it would take them. The ticket salesperson told them they could make it to East Liverpool, Ohio, and that's where Sam and Polly went. They raised their family there. It is where my Pop and his siblings and my mother and her siblings were born.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Enjoying Some Living Genealogy

My family and I spent some time with my grandparents last week, and we had a really great time! I will probably post several items about this visit, because it was so rich in genealogical and family history material.

Here are some things that I learned during this visit:

~ My younger daughter's unusual eyes come from my grandmother's mother. My younger daughter, Callie, has eyes that can be blue, green, grey, or yellow, depending on what she is wearing at the time. My grandmother, Lois, reminded me that her brother, my great-uncle Jack, also has eyes like this, and so do my aunt, Sherry, and my uncle, Len.

~ My grandmother, whom I have always called "Gran-Gran," would have preferred being called "Bubbe," the traditional Yiddish word for grandmothers. The reason I didn't call her that is because my grandfather's mother was called "Bubbe" and was still alive when I was born. Of course, Bubbe died when I was four months old, so why didn't we call Gran-Gran "Bubbe" at that point? After all, I never would have known the difference.

~ My grandmother kept all of the letters she and my grandfather sent each other while he was fighting during WWII. I want to see those letters!

~ My mother and one of her sisters (I forget which one she said it was) will be compiling a book this summer detailing my grandfather's life. This is particularly important now, because he is losing his memory.

~ My grandfather started talking about his experiences in WWII, and my Mom recorded it without him knowing about it. She got over an hour's worth of interview! I want a copy of the interview!

I'm sure I will post more observations about this visit in the near future.