Back in the Day!
Pops had big hands. Wide and strong and they would sweep me up and hold me over his head. His silver gray hair was always Bryl-creamed back. He had eyes that twinkled when his granddaughter walked into the room. A train engineer, his hats lined the stairs to the basement. They were gray, striped and much too big for my head when he fitted them on me, pulling them over my eyes.
An immigrant from Germany at the age of 14. Pops survived world war I in Germany and became a patriot of America during World War II. Later, he ran for office in his small town in South Dakota, and became a county commissioner. He loved his family, his five children, his wife and my best memory of him is sitting on my sofa in my teenage years, clasping the hand of the wife who loved him for forty-plus years.
I loved going to their house - the yellow Sears & Roebuck box house in Mobridge, SD. The one with the two attic bedrooms - one for the boys, and one for the girls. I would bury myself in the clothes hanging on the pole along the pitched roof, emerge with vintage shoes and purses, my imagination stirring. They had a pitched cellar door that led to the basement: I loved to slide down it when it was closed, and it fascinated me that it led into the depths of their home when opened. Mumps (Pops' name for her), had a roller dryer that she fed the wet clothes through, then hung them on the line in the backyard. I feared that my fingers would turn to hamburger between the rollers.
Mumps and Pops had a stove that had a little warming tray for toast, and in their back room ... an organ. In the closet in the back room they also kept an old fashioned picture viewer - the kind that came with double postcards that fit into a slot. I would curl up on their sofa - the one covered in plastic - and spend hours peering at the black and white postcards of The World's Fair, Chicago in the twenties, and images of the sea.
As I write historical fiction set in my favorite era, the 1940s, I often return to the little yellow house, the taste of my grandmother's chocolate chip cookies crunching in my mouth (she kept them in the freezer to deter quick consumption), Pops' smile as he came in from his walk downtown, holding a paper. Or, in the early days, coming in from the train station, green thermos and black lunchbox in hand. He'd set down that lunchbox and scoop me up...in his big hands.
What memories do you have of the generations that came before? The ones that set our course and shaped who we've become and the society we are today?
Share your stories for a chance to win a Memory Prize Pack! All the details are below.
Susan May Warren
Sons of Thunder!
Each one of us has a wealth of stories from the past - while they might not all be as sweeping and dramatic as that of Sofia and the Stravos brothers (swoon), your family history is a treasure nonetheless.
Well - let's hear them! Were your great-grandparents 'fresh off the boat'? Was your great uncle a war hero? Did your grandmother make unbelievable sacrifices to help or protect the family? Did your father harbor a family secret until his death? Are you related to someone famous (my assistant is related to presidents Harrison and Jackson - wow! Who knew?) Do you have a family treasure? Maybe like me, you just have a lovely memory or two. Whatever it is that is unique in your family history - share it with us.
Have a photo to go with your story? Even better!!!! Email those to email@example.com!
One grand prize winner will win a Memory Prize package containing a gift certificate to create your own hard cover photo book, a 6 month membership to Netflix (to satisfy that flick fix!) and a signed copy of Sons of Thunder! 5 runners up will also win signed copies of Sons of Thunder!
Please use the form at the Sons of Thunder website SHARE page to share your story. Each story and the accompanying photos will be posted on that page! Head over there now to read the latest entries. Some amazing memories!
About the book:
Sofia Frangos is torn between the love of two men and the promise that binds them all together. Markos Stavros loves Sophie from afar while battling his thirst for vengeance and his hunger for honor. Dino, his quiet and intelligent brother, simply wants to forget the horror that drove them from their Greek island home to start a new life in America. One of these sons of thunder offers a future she longs for, and the other the past she lost. From the sultry Chicago jazz clubs of the roaring twenties to the World War II battlefields of Europe to a final showdown in a Greek island village, they'll discover betrayal, sacrifice and finally redemption. Most of all, when Sofia is forced to make her choice, shell learn that God honors the promises made by the Sons of Thunder. Book 1 in the Brothers in Arms series.
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Read an Excerpt!