Jennie Lamb-Madden of Dundee Scotland
My grandmother was born in Dundee Scotland in the last quarter of the 19th C. She would migrate to America with her mother, Jane Lamb, when she was still young. The reason we were told was because the air was cleaner here in America than in the more heavily industrialized Scotland. However, I'm not sure I believe that any longer, as we were also told they were associated with royalty. As it turned out, mostly that was in someone's mind. I have no idea who to blame here. And does it really matter at this date? Not to me...it is what it is.
I've included my grandmother's birth certificate with this journal entry. I'm not judging her or my ggrandmother, who by all accounts was a stern Presbyterian who wanted my Uncle Ernie to be educated in Scotland and to become a Presbyterian minister. He was indeed educated in Scotland - at least for a few years - until he learned of the plot that he was to become a minister and that's where that educational journey ended. Uncle Ernie went into the Army during WWI, served entirely in the US - although to hear him talk, he saw action. I suspect the action he was referring to was the ire of his Grandmother Lamb or something to that effect for not becoming a minister.
At any rate, I want to talk about Grandmother Lamb - my grandmother. She came here as a young woman full of hopes and expectations, I would assume. She would marry my grandfather, August Eldenburg, in NYC after her arrival. Another immigrant, I can only imagine what stories he told about himself and his adventures. I know for a fact he neglected to tell her his true identity. But that story was written about yesterday, if anyone cares to review it. (I am determined to speak about Grandmother Lamb....so Grandpa, scoot!)
According to everyone who knew her and remained alive to tell me - mostly my uncles, aunt and mother - my grandmother was a kind woman who went out of her way to be social and to care for others. I have stories of the boys marching off to WWI and as the troops passed their house, my grandmother was out front passing out freshly made donuts from her own kitchen. She was said to be beloved among many and for years after, visitors returned to their door step to inquire as to the health of 'Ma Madden.' My uncles told me many young men fondly called their mother 'ma' or 'mom.'
Thus, I've always had an image of a softer version of my ggrandmother Lamb. I know she looked nothing like her mother, either. For my great grandmother was tall, willowy with blue eyes and a long, oval Scots face. My grandmother was short, dark with a squarish face and the same chocolate brown eyes of my own mother.
The saddest part of my life was never meeting either of my grandmothers. My dad's mother died of TB when she was only 29 and he a very small child. Meanwhile, my mother's mother died when mom was only 11 - and my grandmother was a mere 50. Both my grandmother's died of TB. I often thought of these things when I was a child and worried that my own mother would die when I was still young. After all, it had happened to both my parents. How could I be lucky enough to escape the same travesty in life?
What I didn't think about was the gift of antibiotics in my life time. I didn't realize that when my grandmothers died, there was no such thing as sulfa or penicillin. The facts of my parents' lives was disease, death and dying. My own mother nearly died when she was 6 months old from pneumonia. She lost two brothers before she was ever born: One was 3 and one was 5. I know their names as well as my own: Edwin and George. My dad also lost a sister with his mother. Her name was Lucy....
As to Grandma Lamb, I suspect she also had a fine sense of humor, as mom's brothers and sister were always jolly and telling stories and jokes. They were far different in personality from my mother and her brother, who were both young when their mother died. Both my mom and Uncle Bob seemed to wear a cloak of sadness all their lives. I truly think that came from losing their mother when they were so young.
I wish I could have known her and heard her voice and way of speaking. I'd hear her words in my Aunt Hall's voice, but it was but a ghost of my grandmother. I often wonder if I might have been different had either of them been around. I have memories of my dad's dad and his sitting at our table on hot summer afternoons as we ate. He put ice cubes in my milk and to this day, I love ice cubes in milk. What would I have gained had my grandmothers' lives not been cut down too soon for me to know and learn from them?
I'll never know....