Monday, November 30, 2009

Memory Monday

Hoyt Grandparents

There is so very little I know about my paternal grandparents, and so few relatives remain who would be able to recollect meaningful memories.

In an attempt to keep what little I remember alive, I made Grandma Hoyt's Holiday Fruit Salad for our Thanksgiving meal. My aunt Thelma sent it to me years ago when she was still coherent. Now I wish I had kept the letter too, but I do have the recipe:

In bowl mix:
1 cup crushed pineapple (drain the juice into a double boiler)
2 oranges cut up
24 marshmallow, cut up, or equivalent mini marshmallows
1 cup chopped nuts

Add to juice in double boiler:
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp flour
pinch of salt
Cook until thick, then cool.
Add 1 cup whipped cream.
Pour over fruit and fold in.

It is creamier than the common 5 Cup Fruit Salad, in fact so cream-coated that it is rather colorless that's why I decorated it a bit. I personally like the nutty crunchiness. If you chop them too fine or there is too much fine 'nut dust', the salad takes on a grayish color. Not attractive. Adding the oranges too long before affects the flavor. These are my personal observations, now you can experiment and give your own opinions.  
(And I must go get a bowl of left over fruit salad.)

This week my online writing lesson is about going beyond our own memories and finding information from a variety of sources. I started with the internet and a website recommended by the instructor.

I began to search for my grandfather because I never really knew him and only met him once. I was amazed at how much information I was able to gather in one morning. But I doubt we will ever understand or know the truth about why he abandoned his wife and ten children.

Nor will we know their love story. I have not yet come across their wedding date. Their first child, Gavin, died in infancy. We have a photo, but he does not appear in the records so far.

Clarence Lyman Hoyt was tall, medium build, had blue eyes and brown hair. He was a self-employed auto mechanic. He was married to Anna Leola Dorsey. All this appears on his World War I Draft Registration Card, which was filed two days after his 34th birthday, in Dallas County, Iowa.

He was the oldest in a family of seven. At age 19 he appears in a census record as living with a family under "Servant" status (i.e.relationship to the head of the household), and "Farm Hand", his occupation.

His World War II Draft Registration Card, in 1942, has him living in Rockford, Illinois, and working at Star Pattern and Model Works.

There was so much I did not know when I began researching:  his middle name, date of birth, parents names, siblings, addresses, re-locations, employment, etc. I have learned a lot since, yet it is a mere beginning. The next step will be to contact the few family members that may have information or memories to contribute. If you are one of them, please write, call, e-mail, or 'Facebook' me. (How do you like that verbified noun?)


  1. that is so interesting. I will have to go to that website. I tried for a while to find my dad's birth parents (mainly for medical info) but hit a road block and stopped years ago. Maybe I will try again.

  2. wow... amazing how much info you found out. I am interested in hearding what you find out from others.
    The fruit salad sounds good... I will have to try it sometime!

  3. I'll have to check out that website; I've had a lot of questions about my family (both sides).

    Fascinating that you discovered so much in a short time! What year did grandpa leave his family? I wonder, did he start a new one? Or did he live out his days alone?

    Thanks for taking the initiative and starting the process!

  4. I'm glad you were able to find some information!

  5. You found out a whole lot more than I have in such a short time. I guess I was not looking in the right places.
    I do have names of Grandpa's siblings and of his parents and grandparents. Will try to get that all together and send it to you ASAP


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