My story may not interest our grandchildren until I am long gone. So I’ll try to write it down now.
We Love Our Grandchildren
First of all, I want their parents, all our 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. Read more about our wedding at 40th Anniversary Arrived; Was Actually Unbelievably Sad.
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. He is my only judge.
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.
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 in 2020. 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 central heat and air.
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 as well water to me.
Amy got a Shetland pony one year. We all thought it was ours, too, because everybody (little person) 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
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 calculaters, for that matter.
The shows we watched were often in color. The TV remote did not exist until we older. The cartoons were often Popeye the Sailor Man, Wylie Coyote, and many more I can’t seem to remember. Wrestling (which I believe was fake) was a big hit. Dad spent a lot of time watching (American) football, professional boxing, and the news. I don’t remember Mom watching TV that much.
Family – Memories from when I was a Grandchild
Family holidays to remember were Easter, the 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Our holidays usually centered around our family and the church. 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. As Christian Presbyterians we believed that Jesus had died for our sins on the cross. But he had risen after three days and was no longer on the cross. The empty cross represents his resurrection. We took communion at church. We meditated on his death by eating broken bread which represented his body and grape juice (instead of wine) which represented his blood. The death and resurrection of Jesus is a special remembrance celebration for Christians, usually on Easter.
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 were no loud noises there. But when we got home, everybody was ready for fireworks. Great food, great family time, and great fireworks!
Later I started to associate the 4th of July more with the American Revolution. I learned more about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the other Amendments. The sacrifices of the people who created the United States and were part of the American Revolution became much clearer to me.
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.
December 25 is not necessarily the actual day that Jesus was born. Many Christians celebrate his birth on this day. I had one set of grandparents that did and another set that did not. Both were Christians.
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.
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.
Dad tickled our feet to get us up so we could 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 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. We traveled by bus from Amsterdam in the Netherlands, to Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France, England, and Brussels. Over 40 years later, I don’t have visions of these sights in my minds eye. But I do have a sense of awe and gratitude that I had a chance to experience these places.
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. Read more about flying with Dad in Bottom Line – I Enjoyed Flying Too Much to Be Afraid.
Mom and Dad Continued to Travel
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.
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, several European countries, and 49 U.S. States are included in my life experiences. Fun times!
Learn more about geography by visiting https://geology.com/. View Canadian geography at Canada Map and Satellite Image. See United States geography at United States Map and Satellite Image. Check out Mexican geography at Mexico Map of Cities and Roads.
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.
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.
Going to College
I fully intended to marry the guy I was dating in high school. And I was trying my best to get through college as quickly as possible. The summer after graduating high school, 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,
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.