Ontopic Post interesting stuff that's happened in your family.

Mr. Argumentor

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Most of my really neat stories (to me) come from my grandpop.

Dad periodically sends me an email when he happens to remember a particularly interesting story
I once asked Pop where he was on December 7, 1941, when he heard about Pearl Harbor. (He graduated from his Army Air Corps Class in 1938.) He said he was sitting in his green Ford at the end of Miami Field runway, listening to the car radio. He immediately returned to the command center. Within a month he was stationed at MacDill in Tampa. In the next month he was transferred to Newport News Field, where he was in a position to decide on approving volunteers for the Doolittle raid in April. At Pop's memorial ceremony, I met the widow of one pilot whose application for the raid he denied, not because he wasn't capable, but because she came to Pop's office and begged him to not forward her husband's application. She was recently pregnant and feared for her husband's return. She said she didn't tell her husband about it until well after the war was over. He was majorly pissed when he found out.

At another time in the late 50s, Grandpop was (I believe) the Vice Commander at Aviano Air Base. Chuck Yeager and his team were doing PR tours or some such and they came through Aviano. They got all sorts of shitfaced at the Officer's Club on base, started wrecking up the place. The MPs showed up at grandpop's house and asked him to come down. Grandpop went down there and had all of them taken into custody and put under house arrest for the duration of their stay.
 

eileenbunny

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The story of Dan's family is epic.

Alex was Dan's grandfather. He was born in a village in Poland or Russia depending upon where you draw the line. When he was 16 years old the Nazis came and burned his village to the ground killing most people including his family. He and his friend escaped. They didn't know what to do then so they lied about their ages and joined the Russian army. Alex could drive a tractor so they made him a tank driver. He fought in many battles in WWII and nearly starved to death. He told a story where they found a dead horse buried in the snow so they dug it up and ate it. Then they all got horrible diarrhea. He talked about how they would do things to entertain like taking turns riding up and down on (and now I'm going to sound like the girl I am) the big gun thingy on the front of the tanks. He was so mind controlled that even when I got to know him decades after the war he still considered all Germans to be animals that deserved to be shot on sight. He talked about all the killing he did like it was no big deal. It was creepy, but I respect that I cannot imagine what he had to face and I'm impressed that it didn't ruin him. He just dealt with it how he could.

After the war he was not allowed to leave the military so he defected. He wound up in a displaced persons camp and that's where he met Joanna. He told me she was still a virgin so he married her. Her story is less clear to me. I gather that much of her family was killed in the war but there was some kind of a rift formed between her and the ones that survived. I do not know why. Anyway, she agreed to marry Alex and they snuck out of East Berlin and traveled to Israel. They had a child (Dan's mom Eva) and Alex got a job as some kind of radio technician for the Israeli government. They then sent him and his family to Ethiopia to help with the infrastructure there. There was still an Emperor at that time. They lived well in Ethiopia. They had a house and servants. They enjoyed hiking and camping and hunting. We have a picture of Eva getting her high school diploma from Haile Selassie.

In the meantime in Yugoslavia, Dan's father John was born into a large and loving family. He had 10 brothers and sisters. He was one of the youngest. Then one day, while drunk I believe, John's father was trying to cross the street and was struck and killed by a car. Soon after, John's mother died of a "broken heart" leaving her children alone in the world. They were all taken by Christian Services to an orphanage in New York. Many were adopted but some were too old and lived at the orphanage until they were 18 and could make it on their own. John and one brother and two of his sisters were adopted by a family in Iowa that adopted children for the money. They didn't take very good care of the kids and when his sisters reached the age of 16 they were kicked out without a dime. When John reached 18 he was drafted and then he learned land surveying. After he left the army he continued to work for the government doing this. He was among the first to use GPS technology and has a lot of stories about the early stages of this technology that I will never understand.

He was sent all over the world doing surveying. He went to remote places that I'll never see like the middle of the Sahara. He went to places where there were so many homeless people that he had to climb over them on steps and streets to get to his room. They were just sleeping everywhere. He dined with kings and received expensive gifts they thought were just trinkets. He wound up in Ethiopia on business and met Eva. She was 10 years his junior, just barely 18. After 6 months she ran off with him and married him. They traveled around the world together a lot, driving through places where these days you'd probably be shot if you attempted. Eventually they settled back in the US even though they traveled around here a lot too. New Mexico, Hawaii, Maryland. Somewhere in there Dan was born and they eventually settled here. Eva's parents came to join her and they all bought a house together, the house that Dan, John, Sam and I now live in. We are what survives of this family. Brewer isn't even John's real last name. It's Gumbotz, but he's apparently embarrassed by that name as he is by his real first name, Emil. For whatever reason he thinks it's not a cool name. I think Emil Gumbotz is awesome, but whatever.
 

Domon

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The story of Dan's family is epic.

Alex was Dan's grandfather. He was born in a village in Poland or Russia depending upon where you draw the line. When he was 16 years old the Nazis came and burned his village to the ground killing most people including his family. He and his friend escaped. They didn't know what to do then so they lied about their ages and joined the Russian army. Alex could drive a tractor so they made him a tank driver. He fought in many battles in WWII and nearly starved to death. He told a story where they found a dead horse buried in the snow so they dug it up and ate it. Then they all got horrible diarrhea. He talked about how they would do things to entertain like taking turns riding up and down on (and now I'm going to sound like the girl I am) the big gun thingy on the front of the tanks. He was so mind controlled that even when I got to know him decades after the war he still considered all Germans to be animals that deserved to be shot on sight. He talked about all the killing he did like it was no big deal. It was creepy, but I respect that I cannot imagine what he had to face and I'm impressed that it didn't ruin him. He just dealt with it how he could.

After the war he was not allowed to leave the military so he defected. He wound up in a displaced persons camp and that's where he met Joanna. He told me she was still a virgin so he married her. Her story is less clear to me. I gather that much of her family was killed in the war but there was some kind of a rift formed between her and the ones that survived. I do not know why. Anyway, she agreed to marry Alex and they snuck out of East Berlin and traveled to Israel. They had a child (Dan's mom Eva) and Alex got a job as some kind of radio technician for the Israeli government. They then sent him and his family to Ethiopia to help with the infrastructure there. There was still an Emperor at that time. They lived well in Ethiopia. They had a house and servants. They enjoyed hiking and camping and hunting. We have a picture of Eva getting her high school diploma from Haile Selassie.

In the meantime in Yugoslavia, Dan's father John was born into a large and loving family. He had 10 brothers and sisters. He was one of the youngest. Then one day, while drunk I believe, John's father was trying to cross the street and was struck and killed by a car. Soon after, John's mother died of a "broken heart" leaving her children alone in the world. They were all taken by Christian Services to an orphanage in New York. Many were adopted but some were too old and lived at the orphanage until they were 18 and could make it on their own. John and one brother and two of his sisters were adopted by a family in Iowa that adopted children for the money. They didn't take very good care of the kids and when his sisters reached the age of 16 they were kicked out without a dime. When John reached 18 he was drafted and then he learned land surveying. After he left the army he continued to work for the government doing this. He was among the first to use GPS technology and has a lot of stories about the early stages of this technology that I will never understand.

He was sent all over the world doing surveying. He went to remote places that I'll never see like the middle of the Sahara. He went to places where there were so many homeless people that he had to climb over them on steps and streets to get to his room. They were just sleeping everywhere. He dined with kings and received expensive gifts they thought were just trinkets. He wound up in Ethiopia on business and met Eva. She was 10 years his junior, just barely 18. After 6 months she ran off with him and married him. They traveled around the world together a lot, driving through places where these days you'd probably be shot if you attempted. Eventually they settled back in the US even though they traveled around here a lot too. New Mexico, Hawaii, Maryland. Somewhere in there Dan was born and they eventually settled here. Eva's parents came to join her and they all bought a house together, the house that Dan, John, Sam and I now live in. We are what survives of this family. Brewer isn't even John's real last name. It's Gumbotz, but he's apparently embarrassed by that name as he is by his real first name, Emil. For whatever reason he thinks it's not a cool name. I think Emil Gumbotz is awesome, but whatever.

Emil is a good name.

Also, thats a kickass story.

Also, big shoes to fill for dan.
 

Domon

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My grandfather was a lead engineer on the early space mission rockets, and later the x programs. Almost all of what he did is still classified for a couple more years. A few docs from his early years have come public and theyre really cool
 

Sarcasmo

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My dad could (and should) write a biography. His early years were spent hobnobbing with the Green Bay Packers, as he grew up down the street from Lambeau Field. His dad was close friends with Ray Nitschke, who my dad adored. When "Uncle Ray" died in 1998 my dad was at the memorial. Many family members, friends, and associates swear my dad and his brother started the Packers tradition of giving the players rides to the practice field on their bikes, a practice which continues to this day. Several years ago a petition was started to have the organization recognize them, but nothing ever came of it. I've heard the stories my entire life, and even seen a couple pics, but I don't know if it's true or not. He swears it is.

He became the first person in his family to graduate college, earning a B.S. and Masters in geology and then a PhD in paleontology. His career took him to Norway, where I grew up, and then Kazakhstan and Russia where he opened Mobil's offices in Almaty and Moscow, respectively. The next several years were spent being monitored by the KGB (a common event for foreign businesspeople in Russia and formerly Soviet republics), meeting dignitaries, heads of state, and celebrities. He identified and developed Mobil Oil's Caspian Sea petroleum deposits, a multi-billion dollar asset. After Mobil merged with Exxon he retired but was then hired by ChevronTexaco to do the same thing, resulting in two golden parachutes upon retirement.

His driver was a Russian medical doctor nicknamed Dr. Death due to his penchant for vodka toasting. Russian medical doctors made 50 times more money driving for westerners than they did performing surgeries and saving lives. Dr. Death is, not surprisingly, the man who almost killed me during a visit, as we attended the wedding reception of an associate and spent approximately five hours doing vodka shots. I spent 30% of my vacation in the fetal position experiencing vertigo and dry heaves. I was horribly sick for days.

A close friend and coworker of my dad’s named "Bolat" (not Borat), and frequent house guest of ours here in the States, turned out to be a Russian KGB lieutenant who had been keeping tabs on my dad for years. We loved Bolat, a portly and gregariouis Kazakh "petroleum engineer." It was shocking when we discovered the truth, which I believe occurred when the U.S. envoy to Kazakhstan recognized Bolat in a photo and identified him. Bolat never admitted it when confronted by my dad, and vanished the following day. He had virtually unlimited access to our private lives while staying in our home. We even bought him cowboy boots and a cowboy hat at the State Fair. In 2007, Bolat called my parent's house in Dallas late on New Years Eve to wish my dad a happy new year. It was short, to the point, and friendly. And creepy as f*ck. Years later, they were still sending a pointless message.

There is a statue of my dad somewhere in Almaty to thank him for the millions of corporate dollars he funneled into museums, orphanages, and other charities while Director of Mobil Oil Kazakhstan, the first time anyone had done so after the Soviet Union spent decades repressing Kazakh culture.

Dozens of local artists lavished Kazakh artwork on my dad during his years in Almaty. We have a storage unit filled with all sorts of gifts, both hideous and cool.

My dad once took a flight from Almaty to Astana with some colleagues, on a plane filled with instrumentation panels and individual seats. Midway through the flight, the pilot stormed back into cabin, looked angrily at my dad and the others, pointed to the instrumentation panels, and yelled “Nyet!” He then made a hand gesture like an airplane flying and then nose diving into the ground, complete with sound effects. Turns out they had contracted a Soviet training plane with one or more live instrument panels (their other option had been a notorious Aeroflot flight), and by absently flipping toggles and switches during conversations they were causing some kind of interference with the pilots in the c*ckpit. It’s a miracle they didn’t kill themselves.

One evening my dad slipped on ice in the park outside his townhome in Almaty and hit his head, knocking himself out cold. He woke in the dark, alone but unharmed. That park is filled with packs of wild dogs, and the impact knocked one of his retinas loose. He had the choice of having a Kazakh eye doctor reattach it or an American doctor. He flew home.

He has about a hundred more stories, but I’m done typing.
 
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DJBrenton

In Her Majesty's Secret Cervix
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My father was on HMS Amethyst during what became known as ( and had a film called ) The Yangtse Incident. The ship was fired upon by a shore battery on 20th April 1949 and sustained over 50 hits and ran aground with 22 dead. One way or another it was unable to get to open water until a night run under the noses of the Chinese guns at the end of July.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amethyst_Incident
 

123

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Me and my wife are out in Fremantle, having a night to ourselves for our 5th wedding anniversary.