Today in My History
Books Read in 2019
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23 July 2019
First of all, apologies to Jerry from Dallas, who left an "interesting" comment on yesterday's entry, which I accidentally deleted.
When we were kids, I loved to go and visit my mother's parents. We saw my father's parents at least once a week, and usually more often. They had no car, so we always took them to Mass, frequently had breakfast together and often got together for dinner or something else throughout the week. I also had overnights at their apartment, sharing the Murphy bed with my grandmother, especially loving how it had a sag in the middle, which was like sleeping in a hole.
My father's parents lived in San Francisco, just a few blocks from our house, so it was easy to be with them all. the. time.
My mother's parents, however, lived in Inverness, which is about 50 miles from San Francisco.
Now it's freeway most of the way, but in my childhood there were no freeways and it was a long drive, much of it on winding roads. I was not a good traveler and got sick to my stomach at least once every trip. My father hated that and always made me feel bad for feeling so sick and making him stop to let me throw up.
Also, my father didn't much like my mother's family, whom he considered "beneath" him (they were "hicks from the sticks") and so he was never happy to make that trip;. "I'll be so glad when I don't have to make this trip any more," he often said. "You mean when my parents are DEAD?" my mother would ask him. Such fun.
But we did make the trip to Inverness a couple of times a year. I don't remember a lot about it. My cousin Peach lived in a small house on the land that my grandfather owned, so that was where she grew up.
We drove onto the property and past the corn field to the little house. Peach and I (along with our cousin Kathy) went back to the house a few years before Peach died. It didn't look anything like I remembered; the new owners had remodeled it.
The strawberry patch was gone, for one thing. I loved going out into the field and picking strawberries with my grandmother.
In addition to the strawberry patch there was a whole wall of blackberries that, when I was older, I loved picking with Karen or with my cousins. We would bring a bucket into the laundry room of the house, where, later, my grandmother would make a pie. She always had Lorna Doone cookies out there and I liked to sneak in and take 2 cookies and squish blackberries between them. No wonder I was on my first diet at age 10. Picking blackberries was always fraught with fear because there were lots of bees trying to compete for access to the blossoms.
There was a chicken house near the corn field and my grandfather, who was not a very kid-friendly grandpa (had too many kids of his own, I guess -- 11 in all!) would let me go into the chicken coop with him to collect eggs. I mostly remember him taking me into the little house where he kept the baby chicks. I don't know what he did when they grew up, whether they went into the group or were served for dinner. I only saw them when they were little and cute.
My grandmother was a greawt reader and belonged to the Book of the Month Club. In December, when her grandchildren came to visit, she let us take one of her books. I remember that I chose "The Tontine," because it was 2 volume book and so I got two books istead of one, though I don't think I ever read it.
As my grandparents got older, they converted more of their property into housing. Two of my aunts had houses built on the land.
In front of my aunt Betsy's house was a big tree that was great for climbing. Peach and I sat up in that tree for hours, eating green apples from Grandma's tree, and discussing what was going on in our lives.
When my grandfather died, his ashes were buried under a tree near the house. My grandmother eventually moved in with one of my aunts, who lived next door to us in San Francisco. As her mental capacity diminished she eventually was moved to Napa State Hospital where she ultimately died. After her death, we went back to the house, supposedly to look around. The new owners were very happy to have us there and while we were talking with them about the changes they had made, and sharing our memories of the house, someone from our group snuck down to the tree where our grandfather was buried and scattered our grandmother's ashes.
I think the last time I was at the house (which I can barely recognize any more, it's so much like a suburb there), Peach and I had our picture taken under "our" tree. No way either one of us could climb it then, but it was nice to visit it again.
As much time as we spent with my father's parents, the memories I treasure the most were the days we spent with my mother's parents.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Getting ready for her trip to the Western Nationals.
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This is entry #7060