Today in My History
19 May 2020
I had such a good time on Sunday Stealing talking about my grandparents, which I don't do all that often, that more and more memories of them have been coming in and I thought I would talk about them. My father's parents were always Nannie and Grandpa because my grandmother thought "Grandma" made her sound old. My other grandparents were Grandma and Grandpa.
One thing that occurred to me as I compared the two sets of grandparents is that I don't remember ever seeing a book at Nannie's house. I don't think she ever read. Grandma, however, was a member of the book of the month club and there were always books. She had 32 grandchildren and if we came to visit her at Christmas time, we got to pick one of her books to take home as a Christmas present. I remember clearly looking at all the books and finding a 2-volume story and choosing that so I could have two books, not one. I don't remember if I ever read it.
Grandma and Grandpa had a small, cramped bedroom with a bathroom attached and Grandpa's teeth were in a glass in the bathroom, since I don't think I ever saw him wear them. But he could eat anything, even corn on the cob, with his gums.
They lived on a 1 acre farm and had a wall of blackberries that we picked when they were ripe, fighting off the bees. She always kept Lorna Doone shortbread cookies on her back porch and I would sneak there and make sandwiches out of cookies and berries. She also had a big strawberry patch outside her kitchen and I loved to go and pick strawberries.
You'd never find Nannie on her knees in a strawberry patch.
Grandma's house was more like ours, and I was more comfortable there.
Nannie collected figures of horses. She loved to ride horses when she was younger and I loved horses. She kept her figures on the shelf of a table and I was allowed to sit down next to the table and look at them, but never to touch them. I was sad when she died and the horses disappeared. I would like to have had them. (They could have played with the story book dolls, if I had been allowed to touch the story book dolls !! LOL)
We frequently had dinner at Nannie and Grandpa's. Dinner was always preceeded by hors d'oeuvres -- high balls for the adults and ginger ale for Karen and me. There were always Cheetos for snacks with drinks. We sat in the same places and talked -- I don't know about what. She had a radio in the kitchen and I would go in there and turn on the classical music station, which I listened to at home. I remember her coming in and saying "that's nice, but you couldn't listen to that all the time, could you?"
And I learned to drink ice water there. She kept a bottle of water and a glass in her ice box (it was eventually a refrigerator, but I remember when it was a box with ice in it) so I always had a cold glass and cold water. I have loved ice water ever since (though now it comes out of a water dispenser)
Grandpa West always sat in the window of their apartment and looked down the street to the newspaper stand. He read the San Francisco Call-Bulletin, which published I believe three times a day. He would give me money to buy the paper when he saw t hat the last issue of the day had been delivered. I would run down to the corner, buy the paper, run back and run up the stairs and Nannie always scolded me because she felt running was bad for your heart.
I don't know what my grandfather's experience with the 1906 earthquake was and I don't actually know what Nannie's was either, except that she was terrified of earthquakes. She and her family lived in a tent city after their house was destroyed by the quake.
She was also terrified of rodents and when Karen started keeping hamsters, she had to keep them hidden so Nannie wouldn't know there was one in the house.
Grandpa Scott raised chickens and I liked it when he let me come and collect eggs with him. I still remember when he showed me the new baby chicks and I got to hold them against my cheek. I don't remember ever doing anything with Grandpa West.
He started in the early years of their marriage parking cars for a guy who owned a parking lot in San Francisco. His name was Larry Barrett. He had several parking lots and he offered my grandfather the chance to go into partnership with him, but Nannie was so concerned about losing money she never let him. So Larry went on to become very successful, and very rich, and my grandfather spent his entire life parking cars, while my grandmother thought him a loser.
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This is entry #7321