Grandparents are wonderful. As a little girl I was convinced that my grandparents names were really “Grandpa” and “Grandma”, I even bragged about it to a few of my school bus companions one morning while traveling along Randall Road. We were heading to my grade school, Hillcrest Elementary and I was only five and in kindergarten with Miss Embry as my teacher. I blame my own parents for this misconception, for that is what they referred to them as whenever I was around
I loved my grandparents immensely. Grandpa Robert and Grandma Adeline were my father’s parents and they were very much a part of my life. We went to their home every Sunday and on all the major holidays, and that’s where me and my brother were taken when Mom and Dad had “errands” to run that did not involve children.
My Grandma was a large woman with German ancestry. She could cook up a storm and there is nothing on earth as good as her apple pies. My father used to brag about her skills and then he would shake his head and say with a bit of sadness, “… and then she went instant.” Once the easy-to make meals came around, the home cooking from scratch waned considerably. For some reason, I always remember her potatoes. Now my Uncle C would laugh and regale to you a tale of me eating an entire bowl of mashed potatoes all by myself when I was only four and how my grandfather kept looking under the table to see if I was just throwing them out of sight. I don’t remember it, but I’m sure the tale is true as it has persisted throughout the years.I knew a few facts about my Grandmother that will always remain true…. She kept a bottle of whiskey on her nightstand to take care of the tickle in her throat. It wasn’t a small pint, it was a gallon jug because it was more cost effective.
She had an obsession with hoarding cups you would bring home from 7-11 – we found a whole box of them she had packed away and put in storage when she moved. – Dad said it was a residual effect of having lived through the Depression.
There was a constant supply of butterscotch candies in her pocketbook, along with handi-wipes and a wad of crumpled Kleenex.
Grandpa Robert was a man of mystery to me, but one I loved dearly. We knew the moment he pulled his truck in the drive and me and my brother would come running to get a peppermint flavored lifesaver. He was most commonly dressed in a pair of pin striped bib overalls and a ball cap depicting the local feed store. He was a man of few words and he always seemed to be the one supervising the work on the farm. He drove a mint green ford pickup with a cattle rack and I would often hear him humming a tune of sorts. I could never imagine him as a child and I learned early on that going for a walk with Grandpa Robert would always end up working in some fashion… like pulling weeds in a bean field.
I know the relationship my father had with his father was not always one of mutual respect, but I truly believe my father loved him much deeper than he has ever let on. I know this because even to this day, my father refers to things his own father told him and they are never said with malice, but rather as wisdom.
These were the grandparents I knew and loved well. I was a Senior in high school when Grandpa Robert gave up his fight to stay, and I was a young mother when Grandma Adeline left to join him. Often I have wished my son could have known them, almost as often as I wish he could have known his own Grandma Nancy.
I barely knew my Grandpa Al or my Grandma Elsie. What I do know is mostly what I’ve been told. Eventually I will share those tales, but that’s for another day.