Family History: Grandma’s House


My maternal grandmother was born on April 1, 1919 in this house in Southgate, Kentucky.

Florence Alberta Buckley (later Francis) was the eighth and last child of James Coleman and Ida Sophia Buckley.

My great-grandmother, Ida Sophia was 48 years old when she had my grandmother.

The pregnancy embarrassed my great-grandmother, mostly because it was very public evidence that she and her husband still had a healthy sex life.

My grandmother told me that as I parked my car in front of 376 Linden Ave.

I had been driving my grandmother to her regular week day bowling league when she asked I take a detour up a because she wanted to show me the house. This was many years before the onset of dementia and then her death in 2009.

My grandmother laughed as she talked about sibling fights and never getting in trouble because she was the youngest child in the house.

This announcement appeared in the “Random Notes” section of the Cincinnati Enquirer on Sunday, April 22, 1928.

She also recalled with sadness the night her father sat in the basement with the family dog as it slowly died after a hateful neighbor fed the poor pooch poison.

My grandmother pointed to a place in the front yard where a tall oak tree once stood and then to a stained-glass window that was still framed above the front door.

She shared in great detail the day her family was forced out of their house during the Great Depression. James Coleman Buckley was a house painter and not too many people could afford to have their houses painted at the time.

This is an image of my great-grandfather taken from an undated family photograph.

I sat behind the wheel fascinated as I listened and watched my grandmother transported, reliving those moments as she shared them.

I learned to love oral histories, storytelling in general and learning where I came through her.

I have more glimpses to share like these and plan to again soon.

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