Monday, September 10, 2007

Granddad - Michael J. Munroe

When my grandfather turned the TV to one of the prize fights, I could tell that my grandmother was angry. She didn't exactly stamp around but the atmospher chilled and I noticed that she no longer addressed questions to my grandfather. She now would only communicate through me.

The TV room in their city row house was less a room than it was a wide hallway between a formal sitting room and the dining room. The dining room had french doors with lace curtains, a row of window seats and on the window sills were her African violets.

I think my grandparents had color TV before we even had a black and white set. The TV sat on a big mahogony side table that was in the space in front of the open staircase to the second floor. My grandfather used pieces of broken glass to scrape off the old finish. Today we would use a flat scraper or a sander. In my grandparents house, the steps to both the second floor and to the third floor were always beautifully finished.

The shows my grandmother loved to watch with me and Granddad included, Queen For a Day, Art Linkletter, Laurence Welk, and Jackie Gleason. My grandfather loved Jimmy Durante and his prize fights.

Granddad had lots of stories. He had grown up in the rough side of Wilmington leaving school in the sixth grade. When he left school, he continued to leave each morning with his lunch pretending to go to school for some time until his parents found out. He had worked at many jobs such as taking cows to pasture, working on a hack taking people into Wilmington, working in a glass factory, shining shoes and a rolling mill.

In the end, his father helped him get a seven year apprenticeship at Lobdells where he took up the trade of a molder. A molder was one step below a pattern maker who would have been just below an engineer. It was a skilled job with great responsibility as the rolls he poured were the among the largest being made at that time. Lobdells made chilled iron rolls for the paper industry and this work was a very good occupation. At Lobdells, he got the nick name Pete. He started out as "little Pete" until the original Pete left and granddad became known simply as Pete. My granddad worked at Lobdells until he retired and there are several stories from that period of his life that will have to wait until later.

michael munroe
June 23, 1999


Mary McConaughy said...

Oh, I did chuckle when I read how your grandmother gave your grandfather (known to me as "Uncle Mike") the silent treatment! My grandmother, Emma Mae Young Monroe (no apologies for the spelling! *winks*)employed the SAME tactic when she was irritated w/ my grandfather, Willis Monroe (usually when she got him lost in traffic in some unfamiliar city due to techno-troubles reading maps).

Michael C. said...

My name is Michael Munroe O_o.... Michael C. Munroe.

Lee Harrison said...

One of my earliest memories is the day we went to visit my father's "cousin", John (A. Munroe)in the early 1960s.

To an eight year-old, the ride to Wilmington from Bucks County, PA seemed to take all day; especially in the "Sunday" clothes that my brother and I were required to wear to visit this somewhat-distant part of our family.

I don't remember much about that particular visit to be honest, but I do remember meeting an older gentlemen who my father knew from childhood as "Uncle Pete".

At the time, I believed he was John's father. Was Uncle Pete in fact Michael J. Munroe?

Memory of Mary E. Munroe Brown said...


I wish that I knew who you were so I could be sure that you see this response. You can respond directly to me at my email below.

To answer your question, yes. You are correct. My grandfather, Michael J. Munroe, who was also the father of John A. Munroe was also known as Pete, Uncle Pete and Petey by many people outside of his direct family. I can explain in more detail but it started as him being called "Little Pete" at Lobdels, an iron foundry where he first worked with another worker named Pete. Later, possibly after the original "Pete" left, my grandad was no longer known as "Little Pete" and only as "Pete".

Memory of Mary E. Munroe Brown said...

Lee Harrison, you can find a fairly up to date family tree at: also Do write, michael munroe,