Monday, August 4, 2008

Playhouse and Grandmother

I have some wonderful pictures to go with this post how ever due to technical difficulty ..... Oh crap they just will not up load for some stupid reason. So when I find out what is wrong I will come back in and up load the pictures ..... Sorry, ever just have that feeling that something is just going to screw you up sometimes??? Well that about what it is today.. Anything that can go wrong will kind of thing... Oh well.....

So here goes this will be in two parts .......... Once again sorry for no pictures.......

I have been told that my mind is like a filing cabinet …lol…
Everything I have seen and heard through my life has been filed in special order so that one day when I do decide to sit down and write things out they will there waiting.

Well I thought I would pull one of those drawers open and share yet another childhood memory with you. Something that hasn’t seen the light in a while….lol…

I have shared already about playing hooky with my friends and tracking over the railroad tracks to go fishing and just goofing off the whole day.

So hear is yet another one that maybe after you read it you can look back to your childhood and remember someone older in your life that made a special imprint into your life with a laugh or something special..

My grandmother was one of those ladies that wore the old round lens wire glasses. She never cut her hair and it was always up in a bun on the top of her head.
The only time I every seen it down was at night before she went to bed and she would sit at her vanity on this stool and brush her long grayish colored hair what seemed like a million times to me at the time.

She had a brass container that had a lid that after she got done brushing her hair she would remove the hair from her brush and put it safely in until the next morning when she would use the hair as some kind of natural tie to hold her hair together before she pinned it into a bun.

She would wear these flannel gowns at night with long sleeves. In the morning she would get up and change into one of her many flower printed dresses. The kind that was made of linen very thing and cool.

Always with a full slip and the dresses always buttoned up the front with the same color buttons as the flowers in the dress or just plain white.

She would wear stockings all the time. Not pantyhose stockings that looked as if they were a hundred years old and the would be held up by these black elastic bands and she would roll them until you couldn’t see the band until they were right above the knee. Well you never seen that because the dress was just below the knee.

She wore flat shoes that tied up with laces and they were either the basic black, or tan. I don’t remember if there were any other colors and I never seen her in a pair of high heels in my life.

Her dress always had two pockets in the shirt part that seem to be never ending and she would always have her hanky a very soft linen with the dainty thread work around the edges and something always in the corner maybe and initial or a flower.

She also had this little change purse that she kept with her just in case she needed something from the store she wouldn’t have to go to her hiding place or ask my grandfather for it. Typical female always hiding a stash somewhere …lol…

She also had what she called her gum pack. I don’t really know what it was because she never gave me any of it to chew.

In the other pocket she carried a small tin can of powdered snuff. I can remember the name as if it was yesterday.
Beechnut it’s label was white and it either had orange or peach writing or white with green writing on it.
Other than the writing I really don’t know what the difference was.

Thinking about it I can almost smell the powdery substance now. Very smooth with a hint of dusty qualities to it. And if you inhaled it well lets say it would make your nose burn and you would sneeze your head off.

Now to me she wasn’t the little old grandma that when you came to her house she had milk and cookies waiting along with the smelly hugs and kisses. That wasn’t her at all.

Now my grandfather he was maybe 6 ft. tall. Slender but his frame was strong. Always a button up thin cotton shirt with a undershirt. The work pants that was either gray, brown or green and a small thin belt he wore.
The reason I remember the belt is because I got a few spankings with it from time to time not much though. He wore a straw cowboy hat around the house when he was at home to work in but when he went up town he had a gray felt one he wore.

His hair was full but kept short and trimmed often. He also had the snuff that my grandmother dipped and always a small block of chewing tobacco he kept in his pocket which he would take his knife and cut a square off to chew.

His hands were large but worn from all the hard work he had done all his life. But they were genital at times also when he would hold your hand or rub your hair when he was trying to tell you something.

He had a smile that would make you feel safe and smile back. He was a very good man and he always tried to be fare at all times.

I loved my grandfather and always enjoyed being around him and watching him and at times when I did get to stay over sometimes I would get up when everyone was in bed and I would try his work boots on. They were so large.

Now I wasn’t the favorite grandchild at all. There were only three of the out of 16 of us. My cousin Tammy from one of their daughters {please forgive you shouldn’t talk ill of the dead my Aunt passed many years ago.}
And Arby and Arland from their other daughter that lived in Lakeland at the time. These were the special kids why who knows….

Tammy always got what she wanted. A playhouse was built and let me tell you my play house that I have talked about to me it was the a great place.
However to be compared to her playhouse it was nothing but a bunch of three board propped up next to each other and another board thrown on top of it where the simple thing as a breeze would blow it down…. Makes you think of the three little pigs and the wolf that blew there house down …lol…

Her playhouse was maybe 500 feet square. Windows that opened and closed on hinges and locks. A front door with a small window in front and a brass door knob. The lock on the door was on the outside and it was one of those hinge locks that you needed a key padlock to lock it.
It had electricity in there so she could play as long as she wanted in there.
There was a play stove, sink, cabinets to put the play dishes in and pots. All the things you would have to have to play house. There were shelves on the walls where all the dolls and stuff animals sat safe.
And a very large wooden toy box with other types of toys to play with. Everything a little girl would ever want. And still she remained selfish.

My grandfather built this playhouse with his own two hands. He was always a gentle man. I recall how tall he always stood his worn body at the age of 76.
When my grandmother was living he was always very quite you never heard them become angry with each other. I remember she would be up at the crack of dawn and making his breakfast and then he would get up and after he would go out side and do this morning chores with the animals.

There was a large tree in the back yard like a Mulberry tree. On the weekends I use to go over and to walk into my grandmothers kitchen was like walking into a room with so many smells going on at a time.

She was always cooking something good. She would give us these little tin buckets and we would climb into the tree and pick the berries. Well what ones we didn’t eat. Most of the time we would come down and have blue/purple stains around our mouth and all over our hands.

The berries she would wash and cook down into a cobbler with thick sweet juices. After dinner we would get a bowl of this still steaming and fresh cold cream poured on the top to cool it down some before we ate it. It never cooled it completely and some bites would be hotter than others but it was very good.

She was a very good cook. My grandfather would kill a old chicken that couldn’t lay eggs any more and she would make homemade chicken and dumplings. As I said she wasn’t the kind of grandmother that was into making all her grandchildren happy just the select few.

She was always short with me and to the point I can’t really remember ever seeing her smile or treating me like I was a special child. And to play in the playhouse I had to have permission from my cousin to go threw the doors. She was very cold to me at times.

And at the time I really didn’t realize the tension between her and my mother. But she was my grandmother bottom line and the memories she gave to me was not of hugs and smiles and pleasant things.
They were of scolding and little remarks that hurt deep that would never be forgot.

When the day my grandmother passed away that day was a very ugly day. I can see it clear in my head as if it were yesterday. She had a headache all day and late afternoon she went to lay on the bed.
My grandfather paced back and worth with worry in his eyes. I can remember the worried look in his eyes almost as if you could see the life some how slipping away from him.

His strong features and jaw line seemed to be tense. The wrinkles showed more in his face. He walked back and forth walking in and out of the room you could hear him say ‘Bell are you feeling any better?”
All I could hear her say to him was “my head is killing me Sylvester will you get this kid off my bed”. And he got my cousin Tammy by the arm and pulled her off the bed. She was crying calling out to my grandmother.

My mother walked in and called her dad. When he walked out of the bedroom they whispered back and forth and the next thing there was an ambulance pulling into the front part of the house.

The ambulances then weren’t like the ones we have now with the square frame and lots of room in the back. The ambulances then was shaped like the Hurst from a funeral home. Long and no room really other than to slide a gritty from the back and slide it back in and one person to sit as the other drove.

They were all dressed in white from the uniform. I remember them putting her on the bed with wheels and strapping her in and rolling her to their vehicle with the one red light bubble on top of the roof.

Turning to my mother and my grandfather saying something and then pulling out from under the shade of the big oak trees that covered the front part of the yard all the way up to the house from the edge of the road.
Before too long the house starting feeling up with Aunts and other people everyone doing there part to get things settled into place. My grandfather left with someone I don’t really know who carried him. But that was the last time I saw my grandmother alive.

A few days in the hospital she had a massive stroke and passed away.
That was a very sad day a large part of my grandfathers life passed away also. When I saw him again he had aged so much he had a look in his eyes I had never seen there before. Loss of his heart…..

He was very quite and his eyes didn’t raise high enough to look you in the eyes. My thoughts were he didn’t want us to see the tears in his eyes. It had been five days since he left to go see my grandmother. Where was she I thought to my self no one really said anything of her.

So when all the adults started coming in from where they lived I knew something was going on.

My grandfather still got up early that morning and went to do his chores feeding the horses and the chickens. My aunts were in the kitchen fixing coffee and sitting at the table everyone was in tears.

I stood in the small hallway listening to them talk. What was he going to do now she was gone? She was gone?? Where did she go I thought to myself. I was confused and my Aunt said well we are going to have to make the arrangements sometime today. And what about dad what are we going to do about him?

I was only 8 or 9 yrs old and I didn’t realize what was going on. So I slid pass the kitchen door to the back door which was made of wood and screen with a eye and hook that latched the door closed.
I pushed the door open softly to make sure no one would hear the squeak from the hinges.

Once out the door I walked pass the play house it seemed empty and abandoned in the morning light. Over close to the wood pile which was only a few feet away from the barn which he kept his farm tools in and the big tin garbage cans which held horse feed in one and corn in the other. He had to large buckets that hung from two big rusty nails at the door.

You could smell the molasses from the feed can so strong and sweet. The door was pushed all the way open and I could see him standing there putting feed in the buckets for the horses.

I watched him for a while as he walked out and turned towards the horse pin to feed them. When he started around the corner coming back he walked into the barn and hung the buckets up and took a tin can and filled it with the corn. He then started walking to the chicken pin.

They must had 50 or 60 chickens all fat and healthy. And one big old white rooster which you knew was the boss of the coop and then a young red rooster. He pulled open the wire door to the coop and walked in and I could hear his voice lightly calling the chickens. Here chick, chick as he scatted the corn to the ground and then took the rest and poured into the wooden troth.

After he finished feeding up the chickens he walked to where the wire basket hung and took it off the hook. Then he walked into the chicken house. I knew what he was doing collecting the eggs. Sometimes there would be 4 maybe 5 dozen of eggs collected in 2 days.

The laying hens was very good. Some would be left in the nest so the could be hatched for more little chicks. He then came out of the hen house with maybe a dozen and a half of eggs.

Closing the coop door and hooking it I watched him walk towards the barn and put the tin bucket back in and close the door and head to the house. He was so quite today.
Most of the time you could hear him humming some old song or something. But not today. It was as if he was lost some where else.
He took the eggs to the back door and said something and one of my aunts came to the door and took the eggs into the house.

He then walked over to the hand pump. A iron hand pump well that you had to always prime with some water out of the rain barrel at the corner of the house. He pushed the iron handle up and down about a half a dozen times before the water came rushing out and running into a bucket.

I finally found enough courage to walk up to him and I remember looking into his eyes. They seemed so empty and cold.
I remember reaching out and taking him by the hand and smiling up at him and something like “Grandpa are you ok?” came from my mouth. He tried to smile at me and whispered yes. I looked at him and then I knew something was wrong. “Grandpa where’s grandma is she coming home soon?’

All he could do was look at me with a half smile and told me “Your grandma is not coming home child. She has gone to see the angles. And a single tear fell from one of his eyes and rolled down a cross his cheek. All I could do was wrap my arms around his legs and hug him as hard as I could and tell him “I love you grandpa.”

I remember him placing his hand on my head and petting me and saying everything would be fine.

That was when I learned about death for the very first time in my life. And after my grandmother was laid to rest things was never the same any more at the house.
He was different more quite and when he walked he kind of drug him self. I didn’t know until later in my life that when you have been with someone for so many years like that well over 50 yrs when one passes the other some how passes a part of them with that person.

When all was done that’s when I started running away from home early in the mornings. Going threw the alleyway crossing the back yard to the back door of my grandfathers house to the back door to have grilled cheese and hot tea with him every morning.

Well that’s another yet another file to pull from another day. I hope you enjoyed the story. This story is in memory of my grandmother “Bell Arnold one tough old cookie. And my grandfather Sylvester Arnold a very wonderful kind man” I do love you both and I hope you did find each other some where on the other side…… Rest in peace.........

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I liked the story .. it made me think of my grandma mae ...