Friday, August 30, 2013

Hintz Family revisited - Melvin Hanson's story

When I posted earlier on the Hintz family, I had a careless error in my narrative, caught luckily by my cousin, Carol.  So here's the post that should clear up that problem:

Ancestors of Melvin Hanson

Melvin was one of 5 children of Mabel Hintz and Harvey Hanson to survive out of 11 births.
Melvin Hanson, high school

Mabel and Harvey produced children from 1920-1932.  The 6 children who died, died at birth or before age 2. One curious piece of data is that first-born Maynard (b. 1920) and one of the twins (John, b. 1921) both died on the same day (Feb 10, 1922).  I would suspect illness, like the flu, perhaps.  Mabel had two sets of twins, and only William (Bill, b. 1921) survived to adulthood and old age.

My Dad (Mel) told me those early years were brutal.  Mabel divorced Harvey in 1934. He claims they were essentially living in a tar paper shack, all the kids in one bed.  Often cold and hungry.  He always said that Harvey was a mean drunk and hit his Mom.  He remembered her being hit in the stomach when she was pregnant. He also told a story of his grandma and grandpa Hintz (Karl and Anna) coming in the middle of the night to take the whole family to their house and away from Harvey and the tar paper shack.  My Dad was always bitter about those years, about not having a father, and about "coming from the wrong side of the tracks". He carried that hurt all his life and struggled with it while raising his own children.  It was only after his kids were all grown and out of  the house that I could see Dad mellow and accept to some degree his childhood hurt.  He would have been about 8 years old and so he saw his family through his 8 year-old eyes. I wish I could have heard the stories from other adults in his family, but I never asked and we never talked about it.  Was it really as bad as he remembered? Whatever the truth, he carried his version of reality throughout his life.

I wish I had pressed him more for stories about his childhood.  I do know he lived for a time at his Grandma and Grandpa Hintz' house.  And I know Mabel married Walter Palmbach in 1938, when Mel was 12, so it is likely that it is the years 1934-1938 that Mabel and family lived with Karl and Anna Hintz.  He always loved his grandparents dearly.  In fact, when he married Patricia Sullivan in 1947, the wedding reception was at Karl and Anna's house.

Walter Palmbach & Mabel Hintz Hanson
Wedding Photo, Oct. 25, 1938
Walter was 40 years old when he married 38-year-old Mabel.  They didn't have any children together, but did manage to own a house on Harriman Street that I remember well.  In fact, we lived there with Grandma and Grandpa Palmbach for several months while our house in Appleton was completed.  That was in 1957 from late August till December.

April 1959 Mel Hanson Family
Lynn, Pat, Carl, Nancy, Mel (holding baby Dale), Sharon

There were 6 of us in our family then: Mom, Dad (Mel and Pat Hanson), me, Nancy, Carl and baby Sharon.  I'm not sure how Grandma put up with us and I know my Mom was a bit crazy with the arrangements.

1 comment:

  1. wow; thanks for sharing this. The interesting part about losing two children on the same day - don't know how I would have survived that. And loved the memories about growing up and living with Grandma and Grandpa....had no clue that you did.