Wedding picture of Charles and Lorena Kline
I’ve spent much time writing about both sides of my mother’s family and I have received good feedback from the entries, especially the one about my great-aunt, who was committed to a mental hospital by her husband.
There is far less excitement about my father’s side of the family—or I was never told the stories—but they too had an interesting life for their times. It probably resembled many other families of the day.
My Grandfather Charles Arthur Kline was from Medway, Ohio. His wife, Lorena Catherine Laing was from Greenville, Ohio. In today’s automobiles, it’s at least an hour’s drive. I do not know how they met; but I do have evidence that he wrote to her during WWI. They were married in September 1920. I don’t know anything more about their courtship. With the distance, I am left to my imagination.
They were eight years apart. When they were married, Grandpa was 29 and Grandma was two months over 21. They moved into a house in Medway where they started their family. Three sons were born to them. Carl Arthur came along in 1922, Charles Ray in 1925 and my father Robert Lee in 1930. Having a baby at 30 was about it for my grandmother, although she doted on him.
I know my grandfather was involved in farming with his own father, and he worked at the grain elevator, but later in life (presumably after my great-grandfather died) Grandpa worked at the Fairborn Post Office until his retirement. The USPS also employed my Uncle Ray after he returned from WWII. Eventually, he was appointed Postmaster in Medway, Ohio in 1959. It is in this capacity that he is still remembered by many of the “old timers.”
1959. The new Post Office was dedicated and my uncle
was appointed Postmaster.
Carl built houses and my Dad helped him (Ray did too, when he could). At a certain time of his life, my Dad left working for his brother and went into sales to provide better for his family. It was a rift in the family that lasted a long time. Carl moved to Florida in mid-life to continue his building career.
The Klines didn’t live long lives. Grandpa lived to be 79. His cause of death is hard to determine. He recovered from a massive heart attack, only to succumb to the after-effects of prostate surgery. I firmly believe this was mental, not physical. There was no reason, even in 1970, for him not to recover from that surgery. He just decided life was over.
Grandma, who I physically resemble, had Type II Diabetes. I watch my sugar like a hawk, since my brother ended up with Diabetes. She only lived two years after my Grandpa died, and although she had a massive heart attack, and it was easy to see why physically, I think there was a mental element to it also. There was nothing left for her to live for.
My father died tragically at the age of 47. That’s another story that has nothing to do with heredity.
Uncle Carl and Uncle Ray both had lung cancer. Carl died at 61 and Ray at 67. I have outlived Carl and nearly Ray’s wife, who died about 18 months before he did. Much of their illness had to do with heavy smoking however, and I haven’t ever smoked a cigarette. I took a puff once and I DID NOT INHALE, and wondered what it was all about that all my family did this!
I don’t know much about Grandma’s family. She had two brothers and she was the baby of the family. I can see where my father and my one brother resemble them. I don’t remember meeting them; but her parents and the one brother and sister-in-law are buried a stone’s throw from my grandparents, aunts and uncles, dad, and brother. The other brother went out west or something. There was no “estrangement” but he had another life.
Grandpa Charley had one sister, Hazel. She died of something we can prevent today when she was 19 years old. My grandmother always said that I resembled Hazel somewhat, but she didn’t know her. She is buried in a plot with her parents (although my great-grandfather married again, he is buried with his first wife) and my first cousin’s cremated remains. He died at the age of 50 from AIDS.
Judging from my father's age, I would guess
this to be about 1936.
A question that I ask myself is why, when I was not as close to this side of the family, do I still have such an identity with them? Oh, I have great memories as a child and I loved living in their small town, and my decision to be buried in their cemetery has never been in question…. ever! When I go to the historical society meetings, there is a connection to these people, and to their history as a community.
This goes beyond the obvious physical attributes—and I certainly have physical attributes from my mother’s side of the family too—sometimes it’s like I FEEL their blood running through me. My reactions are what I think theirs would be in this setting. It has been 10 years since the last Kline died.
I don’t have the answer to this question, but I put before you, the reader: do you not have similar feelings about certain relatives?