Grand-da Joseph was born in Czechoslovakia in 18 something--1901 at the latest. Keep in mind, my grandfather was Slovak, not Czech. Grand-dad could tell you about those Czech devil-dog bastards for hours. Joe fought in World War I on the side of the Austio-Hungarian Empire as a conscript. He moved to Canada soon after and brought Grand-ma and aunt Emily across later.
There's a 15 year difference between my mom and her sister. Considering all my grandparents are dead, Aunt Emily is the closest I have to a grandmother.
Aunt Emily lost her first husband, Vernon, soon after World War II. He and a friend had been in a motorcycle accident; the friend was killed and Vernon was stuck in a leg-brace and a pill habit. After a while he couldn't take it anymore and shot himself in the chest with a shotgun. My mom was still a kid when this happened (she could have been 16--I'd still call her a kid) and was the one to find the body. First thing she did was unload the gun and put it away. My cousin Karen was a toddler at the time.
Mom studied for radio at Ryerson and went on to work for a CKNW in Vancouver--the "Top Dog" on the west coast. This was during the big quake in Alaska--Mom felt some of the after-shocks.
After dating an Egyptian, whipping ass in fencing tournaments, and making a general pest of herself, Mom finally did what grand-dad had been begging her to do for years.
In May, 1970, my mom got married and moved to Texas. She became a US citizen 2 years after my father did--but I was still able to vote in this country longer that either of my parents.
I was born in May, '74, and Sylvia was born in August, '78. Mom
was still fencing after my birth and quit soon after Sylvia was born. She
can still whip anybody's ass.
My dad was born in 1932 in Consort, Alberta. k.d.lang is from Consort and it's such a tiny place the only reason dad's not on a first name basis with the queen of flannel is the 40 year difference. The place is tiny.
Grand-dad was from Ireland and originally came across for the gold rush. Yes... the gold rush. Bob was a homesteader, staked a claim to build his house on, was a Mason, and distributed government supplies during the dust bowl. Yes, THE dust bowl.
Grand-dad spoke English, French, Spanish, and Esperanto. This landed him in jail once after a Spanish prisoner had escaped. Bob met the description, so the officer asked him something in Spanish. Bob answered in Spanish and had to spend several hours explaining he wasn't Spanish.
Grandma--Margaret--was from Edinburgh, Scotland and graduated with a master's in the humanitarian arts from the University of Edinburgh. Most of the pictures I have of her from this time have her decked out in Victorian garb---so..... I'm guessing it was pretty early in the 1900's that this happened.
Margaret's father was a private tutor and gave lessons from a room in the house. My grandmother once said she had never had a meal with her parents. I'm thinking Victorian--so Victorian.
Dad left home at 17 and became a lumberjack in the Canadian Rockies. After that, he worked doing repairs on steam-engines.
In the 50's, my father was a beatnik...one of the originals. He worked as a garbage man to pay his way through art school and missed out on both the Korean and Vietnam wars.
He moved to Texas in the 60's and settled in Corpus Christi. He was doing radio at the time and became pretty popular with the local Latinos because he was the only "gringo" with a green card. Later dad moved to Forth Worth and worked for NBC channel 5. Before my parents were married, Dad had moved to Dallas, bout the house my parents still live in, and was working for KRLD 1080 AM doing morning commentary.
After working for KRLD for 18 years, dad decided to get himself fired and wrote a piece called "How to Run a Radio Station Into the Ground." Management decided not to renew his contact and dad wound up working for WBAP in Forth Worth. That fell through after a couple years, and he moved on to some obscure little AM station. I don't remember the call letters or the frequency, but it was one of those stations you went to when all your industry friends were saying "at least he's working". As I was finishing high-school, KRLD came under new management and took the prodigal son back and gave him his own national show from 9pm to 1am. "Texas USA" was popular enough for dad to try TV on channel 27; but the format was too similar to Rush Limbaugh, and Dad's demographic was in bed by the time the show came on. It flopped after less than one season. He bounced around a while and wound up at Halcyon Associates doing PR. He's done a lot of other work since then and now he turns bowls.
Back to the Index