Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Iceman Cometh: August Dietrich, my Great Grandfather--the story of Irene Grace

Thank you, cousins, for providing this little article which tells the story of my Great Aunt Irene, whom we called Aunt Reeney.

I only ever knew her when she was in the wheel chair. The accident happened before I was born. She was the first person I knew who had something majorly wrong with her body. She got around fine in her chair. She had some caged birds as pets. She was a widow. She was exotic. And she was tough as hell. Her sister, my father's mother, was a much softer Dietrich.

Aunt Reeney was sharp and tart. You got the sense that no one would ever cross her. I think everyone was afraid of her? I don't know. But you certainly wouldn't think to do anything untoward or childlike in Aunt Reeney's house. She was sweet with cookies and candy. She was not at all self pitying. She had very long white hair and looked just a little like my grandmother, her sister. She was a hero. I can just imagine the day she tossed that baby carriage to safety and took on that oncoming car with both legs.

What is surprising is--I never knew my great grandfather had an ice business. Even more surprising is that it was cold enough to support that kind of business.

Read the little town newspaper story--written in 1983 about a time way before that. It's sweet. I guess clicking on the image to get it even bigger makes sense.

"I only have ice...for you."

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