Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My maternal grandfather

My grandfather on my mother's side was named Claude Frederick Von Holst, although the family dropped the "von" from the name when they came to the New Country from northern Germany in the late 1800's.

My grandfather was a doctor in Little Falls, MN. He practiced with his brother, Bertram. They had the clinic there and the soon to be famous flyer, Charles Lindbergh, was a friend of theirs. Mr. Lindbergh used to buzz the clinic and wiggle his wings, when they would run out to see the commotion. My grandfather was quite a few years older than my grandmother, Regina Werner, who grew up in Milwaukee, WI and graduated first in her class from the nursing school at Marquette. She came to Little Falls in the early 1900's and lied about her age to get her first job. She opened two nursing schools, one of which was in Little Falls where Claude Frederick was located and eventually time, neighborliness and familiarity created the right factors for a proposal, even overcoming the fact that my grandfather was Protestant and my grandmother was Roman Catholic. The setting was a huge train crash north of Little Falls, where Regina went to tend to the wounded. Claude proposed and wanted to take her away, but the sisters at the hospital where she had set up the nursing school intervened and said, "Please don't go now in the midst of this crisis. If you wait til it's over, we will give you a lovely wedding breakfast." Which they did, after Regina agreed to postpone the nuptials.

My grandfather Holst died several months after my birth in late 1952, so I never got to know him. But I do know that he was a hell of bridge player and he darned his own socks.

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