Ancestor of the Week: Nancy Sue (Musler) Hays (1935-2006) [My paternal grandmother]
Prompt of the Week: Dear Diary
I have written about my grandma Nancy before, but she fit this week’s topic as well. She’s the only ancestor I can think of, or that I know of, who wrote something close to a diary. In 1999, she started a notebook that was intended to be information about various people in her family. She wrote out a few pages detailing her childhood – where she lived and who she lived with, what schools and churches she went to, etc. Her dad died when she was six years old and she and her mom, my great-grandma Jo, at various times lived with Jo’s parents and siblings. She even remembered actual addresses of some of the homes. Her favorite place was apparently on her uncle Ted’s farm in Kentucky where they lived in a little wooden house. This would have been in the mid to late 1940s, and I can imagine rural life during and after wartime was not easy for the adults. She continued on writing about being a church pianist as a teenager, working as a soda jerk, and how she met my grandfather on a blind date set up by mutual friends. She wrote briefly about his service in the Coast Guard in Boston and their comings and goings until their first child, my dad, was born.
She also wrote a few pages about my grandfather’s childhood – where he lived and went to school and worked as a young adult. She wrote one page about her grandmother May (Robinson) Harper, my 2x great-grandmother, including the names of her siblings and what she remembered about them. She started a page about her grandfather John Harper, but only got as far as his birth and death dates. I wish she would have written more, of course, as I know she had a wealth of information about her mom’s side of the family. She told a lot of stories about them, and I do remember some, but I am grateful to have what she did write. She was very intentional about preserving family memories, and I am very thankful.