What I Want My Grandchildren to Know

My story may not interest our grandchildren until I am long gone. So I’ll try to write it down now.

I’ll try to publish more pictures as I find them.

We Love Our Grandchildren

First of all, I want their parents, all my children, grandchildren, and their children to know I will always love them. There is nothing they have to do or say to make me love them. I just do.

I don’t always show it, but I also love my husband. Sometime we don’t see things the same way and it makes life difficult, but we do love each other.

When I don’t know what to do or who to turn to, I turn to God and Jesus. Aging made this more important to me. I grew up in a church and didn’t always agree with some of the people, but my belief in Jesus and God remains. God knows my heart well and sometimes other people can just ((leave me alone)).

To My Grandchildren – What Was Growing Up Like?

Neither my Mom or Dad talked very much. Mom would insinuate that she didn’t agree with us by telling us stories about things she didn’t like. I don’t remember either of them hollering or being mean to us. Brother got a whooping from Dad sometimes on vacation, but that seemed to be a boy thing at the time. Dad expected him to be tough and he was.

Religion and Politics

Once upon a time, people considered it rude to talk about religion or politics with unfamiliar people. I’ll just say that I have a very diverse background in each. For more on this read The Big Difference Found – Worship and Architecture.


We never talked about it. My sister and I made green-tipped carnations out of Kleenexes when Atoka Fertilizer Company opened.

Our Home

At first, we lived close to Dad’s parents. We were grandchildren at one time, too. We moved to a house that Dad designed. Mom still lives there now. The house didn’t have air conditioning at first. Dad didn’t think we needed it. I guess we did ok without it. One day he brought home a window unit. We were thrilled. Later, we got central heat and air. Now everybody HAS to have it.

We drank well water that was pumped to the house. I had a hard time getting used to city water. It didn’t taste nearly as good to me.

Amy got a Shetland pony one year. We all thought it was ours, too, because everybody (little) got to ride it. Then Dad started buying horses – Quarter horses, registered quarter horses. He built/designed a barn for the horses. Read Barn; Played in the Hay and Had a Great Time. Suddenly the pasture around the house was full of horses.

Dad built a swimming pool, a real cement pond, in our back yard. Amy and I spend a lot of time sweeping and vaccuuming that pool. We had a lot of fun, too!

One of our best Christmas gifts was a trampoline. I’m sure my sister heard Santa that night.

Television – Some History for the Grandchildren

We watched the horrors of the Vietnam War one minute; and cartoons, comedy, or The Wizard of Oz the next minute. The TV was always turned on. Home computers did not exist or hand-held calulaters, for that matter.

Family – Memories from when I was a Grandchild

Holidays were for family. See People With “Disabilities” – They Are Absolutely Amazing to learn a little about my extended family.


My first birthday was on Easter. We used to have a picture of me celebrating at Mom’s parents’ house. We searched for Easter eggs there

With Dad’s family, we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus at church.

4th of July

Independence Day was always a big day at Mom’s parents’ house. Her Mom and Dad grew a lot of their own food. So there was plenty to go around. Plus everyone brought something to contribute. Papa didn’t like fireworks, so there was no loud noises there. But when we got home, everybody was ready for fireworks. Great food, great family time, and great fireworks!


Halloween was a time to meet the neighbors. Our church friends were the best. I still remember Cousin Goldie (John McLaughlin’s wife) having popcorn balls every year. Ms. Nellie Butt’s house was always a fun place to visit. Dad took us from house to house so we would be safe. The distances were much too far to walk.

We also went on hay rides. It was scary the time one of our cousins fell off the trailer though. I think she ended up with a broken arm.


Mom had sisters galore, so Thanksgiving was a time for everyone to take turns having Thanksgiving at their house. But it was also harvest time for farmers. Mom and Dad had a hectic time keeping pace during this holiday.


Christmas was a busy time of the year. We celebrated the birth of Jesus at church. Sometimes we were in a play. We ate at Dad’s parent’s house sometime before Christmas. We had a large family meal and exchanged presents.

Sometimes we went to the woods and cut down a tree to decorate. Other times I remember having a silver tree with a spinning colored wheel that changed the color of the tree. We always decorated a tree and made Christmas cookies.

On Christmas Day we opened our presents. It was magical. Santa drank his milk and ate his cookies. We had lots of fruit and nuts. They were a special treat because they weren’t very plentiful. Dad’s Mom and Dad arrived early in the morning. After checking out our presents from Santa, we headed out to Mom’s Mom and Dad’s house. We ate a large lunch and exchanged presents.

Kid's Christmas in 1960's. For our Grandchildren.
My older sister, me, my younger brother in the early 1960s.


Children and grandchildren, if you ever have a chance to travel, go! Read A Frantic Vacation Every Year Was a Ritual for more about our vacations.

Eating on Vacation

We took family vacations once a year. Potted meat, Vienna sausages, and crackers made up a lot of our meals during a trip. We traveled by car over most of the United States. We also ventured into Canada and Mexico.

Getting Started

Dad tickled our feet to get us up to get started early. I learned to fold my legs under my body, so he couldn’t reach my feet.

One of my favorite memories is of the way I felt when we were told that we were going to Disneyland. Most of the time we had no idea where we were going. This time we were told the destination shortly after we got started. Pure amazement – Disneyland!

Around my ninth year in high school, I took a European bus tour with a group from school. I was so fortunate to be able to have this adventure.

Last Years of Traveling with Parents

The last two years of travel I remember, Dad flew us to Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and Jackson Hole and beyond.

I have so many fond memories of childhood vacations. They meant a lot to me while I was growing up. Mom and Dad continued traveling as we got older. They traveled all over the world.

Mom and Dad Continued to Travel

When I got older, Mother took some of us to Alaska to see my brother. So now I’ve been to every state but Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, and several European countries. Fun times!


Any chance to learn was a good time for me. I loved learning and hope you will, too. It’s not just a formal thing but can be a lifelong experience.

Early Education

I attended the first through eleventh grades in the same private school. It had different names over the years. Today it is known as Tipton-Rosemark Academy. I was in the first first-grade class. You might get a better understanding of my early school years in School Uniforms – Did Not Like, But Now Absolutely Do. In the eleventh grade and seventeen years old, I graduated early. That was the last time I stayed permanently with my parents.

Going to College

I fully intended to marry the guy I was dating. And I was trying my best to get through college as quickly as possible. That summer I went to Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. I seriously wanted to be an architect, but I never told anybody. Staying close to home seemed to be a better idea. I started taking engineering classes at Christian Brothers College. This article goes into more detail: Is What Happened in Rural America Every Woman’s Reality?

My boyfriend thought it was time to get married now. I was seventeen and marriage was not on my mind at that time. The brake-up was hard and cost me the first semester at Christian Brothers. Everybody at home thought he took it pretty hard. I guess I must have been viewed as a terrible person. I found out about a lot of his secrets after we broke up. The brake-up didn’t keep him from getting married soon after though.

When I started back to school in the second semester, I attended Southwestern at Memphis. The Best and Worst of Times at Southwestern, Behind the Scenes, We Formed Our Own Terrific Social Society, and The Girl Crushed My Volatile Ego – A Reality Checker are stories about Southwestern and my two best friends in college. The names have been changed to protect their identities. Today it’s called Rhodes College and it’s a beautiful school. I continued on a heck tick schedule with no idea where or what I was doing. I went 2 quarters; summer – 2 quarters, I think; 2nd-year – 1st quarter, 2nd quarter, summer quarters. Read about one of my most memorable college courses in “If I Have Taught You How to Learn I Did My Job”. That’s it. I was done.

Learning by Living

I was working at a college bar on Madison Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, while I was still in school. Two friends and I got a duplex behind East High School close to Walnut Grove Road in Memphis, Tennessee. It Seemed Like All of Downtown Was on Fire is a story about working in the college bar after my two friends and I had moved in together. I got a job at Pier I Imports on Walnut Grove close by and my life changed forever.

I Found the Guy. We had Children and Grandchildren.

Early in the year, before I turned twenty, I met a guy that was an assistant manager at Pier I Imports. By September that year, we were getting married at Idlewild Presbyterian Church, where his mother worked. Shortly afterward, he got reassigned in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I had no job, partly because Pier I had a nepotism clause in their company regulations. But off to Chatanooga, we went.

That’s a quick look at the first twenty years of my life. My early life was very much determined by how Mom and Dad grew up, by the friends I made along the way, my teachers, and the different places I lived and visited. My grandchildren will be affected by how their parents grew up as well.

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