When we left off, Grandpa had lost his parents and grandfather.
According to Connie:
Adrian and Edna were married just before Adrian’s mother passed away in 1932. That same year he bought back the family market. The following year he tore down the market and built a gas station on the corner of Burdick and Balch. He ran that station for the next 50 years.
As the story goes, Adrian and his sweetheart, Edna, married a few months before his mother passed away. They got married in May of 1932 in South Bend, Indiana, without a big wedding. This is their wedding portrait:
What I hadn’t realized was that Grandpa bought back the “family market.” I hadn’t even known the store was sold! After his father got ill, Adriaan (sr.) sold the soda shop along with, I presume, the beautiful marble countertop. I don’t know who purchased it, but Grandpa bought it back–and instead of running the same sort of shop as his father, he turned it into a gas station.
In this photo of Grandpa by the pump, we are facing the station, which was at the SW corner of Burdick and Balch in Kalamazoo. On the NW corner, just across the street stood, and still stands, the Richard DeKorn house, built in 1885 by my great-great-grandfather. The brick house in the background of the photo is not the Dekorn house, but a different house, a bit farther down Balch Street.
Connie writes that Grandpa said that although he worked 12-14 hours a day at the station, he spent plenty of time with his kids.
When I was five Grandma babysat me every school day, and I saw that Grandpa had his own routine down. Early in the morning he would leave the house and pick up a newspaper at Michigan News Agency. It was still dark outside. Then he would leave for work while it was still early. However, the station was only three lots down from the house so he didn’t go far. And we could go down and see him whenever we liked–and always to bring him a home-cooked lunch.
When Grandpa came home from work at suppertime, his work uniform was covered with grease from working on cars down in the “pit.” He’d go straight downstairs to the basement and take a shower under the shower head he had rigged up over the drain in the floor. That way when he came upstairs to greet us, he would be squeaky clean and ready for his dinner.
Grandpa’s shock here at the loss of ”personal contact” is emblematic of his practical and logical thinking, as well as his homespun philosophies. I can’t help but feel that he was so right in what he said. If he knew that today people sit with each other and interact only with their cell phones, he would be appalled.
It’s true that Grandpa loved to take his family on vacations. My mother has good memories of the family road trips. When I stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, I discovered a cedar chest filled with my mother’s treasures, and one of them was a very pretty silver and turquoise bracelet she had gotten on a family trip. I still have that bracelet.
I hope you’ll stay tuned for Part VIII of Grandpa’s story . . . .
Here are the first parts of the story:
Click this link for Part I
Click this link for Part II
Click this link for Part III
Click this link for Part IV
Click this link for Part V
Click this link for Part VI