Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Armistice Day

This is my paternal great grandfather, John Ulrich Fauster, MD. [I went back to some family records and have to correct the next few statements] His family emigrated from Schaffhausen, Switzerland, in 1854 (they tatted lace to make the money that they used to buy steerage over to America) Gramps (as he was known to me when I was a little girl) seems to have been born in the US and thus could serve in the US Army at the time of World War One. He was the doctor in Defiance, Ohio, a small town in northwestern Ohio, where I grew up. I wonder if, given his profession, and the fact that he was perhaps one of a very few doctors in the area, he was allowed to leave. He also had 5 children at the time, although at least one was over the age of majority.

This is my maternal grandfather, Claude Frederick Holst, MD. His family had emigrated from northern Germany to the US in the late 1800's as well. They dropped the "von" that had been the prefix to their surname to better fit in in the New World. He also served in World War One, and I know from stories that my grandmother told me, that he was sent by the military to someplace other than Little Falls, MN, where he was working with his brother, Burton, as the town's doctors. My maternal grandparents had only been acquainted a short while before he was sent off. My grandmother had come, after graduating as the valedictorian of her nursing school class at Marquette University, to Little Falls to start a nursing school at St. Gabriel's hospital there. My grandfather was quite a bit older than my grandmother (who had actually lied about her age to get the job), but something clicked (apparently a Sr. Teresa played matchmaker) and they married in June of 1920, postponing their wedding to assist in the aftermath of a tornado that hit somewhere near Little Falls. Or so I was told by my grandmother.

This is my paternal grandfather, Seth Cullen. He's the tall guy on the left with the friend that looks like George Costanza. His grandfather and namesake had emigrated from Nottinghamshire, England in the 1850's and was an itinerant Methodist minister. Seth was from Paulding, OH, and served in World War One, shipping out right after marrying my grandmother, April 12, 1918. He rode ambulances in France, on the outside at night, so he could direct the drivers, as they could not turn their lights on because they would be shot at by the "Jerrys." I read about this in the letters that he sent home to his parents. I found the letters in 1981 when I was back in Paulding for the funeral of his sister, my great aunt, Bernice Cullen Sullivan. I gave the letters to my grandmother and she threw them away. I will always kick myself for doing that. She had her reasons for discarding them, ones I discovered later after she died, when I inherited a five year diary she kept in the early 50s. They deserve a thread of their own someday. Let us just say for now that she and Seth ran off to Michigan and eloped, something incredibly uncharacteristic for the very straight laced grandmother I knew growing up. When Seth returned from France, he brought silk aprons for his mother and sister and a beaded evening bag for his wife. The apron he brought home for his mother is such a work of embroidery art that I had it framed and it is hanging in my house.

And this is my father, John William Cullen. He was drafted and served as a medic in the Army during World War Two. He was never sent abroad because his eyesight was too poor. Instead, he was stationed in South Carolina where he met a young woman he became briefly engaged to, but it broke up for reasons he never mentioned. Although he did say that her house had a separate entrance in the back for their black servants, which he found off-putting. After the war was over, he finished college at Miami University, went to medical school at Case Western, and met my mother while both were working at Yellowstone Park in the summer of 1950, and voila!

These are the veterans in my family. I remember them today and thank them for their service to our country.

1 comment:

Katherine said...

What a handsome Dad!!!