postmarked 07 Mar 1985
Here we go again, you know this is very good for me. To look at my life from my present viewpoint.
You know I never liked my grandparents. My mother’s parents where the only grandparents I knew. They had children almost the same age the rest of us were. We had an aunt who was only a little older than my sister, and an Uncle who was 2 months younger than me. So they were not interested in us as grandchildren. And now that I look back on it, they had their hands full with their own family, but they weren’t even kind to us. I did love my great grandmother Hamilton, she was my mother’s grandmother and lived in a little 2 room house on the back of my grandparents property. She was such a precious lady, she kept her house so clean you could have eaten off her floor. She didn’t have much in worldly goods, bu she was so sweet.
everything was so neat. She was so neat never a hair out of place, her clothes starched and crisp. Everything in its place.
And it was so peaceful at her home. Just the opposite of my grandma & grandpa’s with all the kids they had, and they were nasty kids, I don’t care if they were relatives. There was a big grape arbor in the back yard and my granddad wouldn’t let us have any. So we would play hide and seek at night & of course we would hide in the grape arbor and eat all the grapes we could cram in. Kids are pretty sneaky! I remember my aunt used to take us up to the attic where we would made cigarettes out of ground coffee rolled up in newspapers, I don’t remember smoking them, but my, Aunt & Carol & my uncle Kenneth did (I was a scaredy cat!). I never liked to go to their house, but with the turmoil in my own home, we often ended up at their house to stay.
My granddad was such a mean man he loved guns, hunting & fishing & was so selfish. He made good money for the rail road, but he fed his family the lowest kind of food. He never let
my grandmother go to the store, he went up town with a burlap bag, (on the street car) and would come home with soup bones- which were usually free, bulk peanut butter in a quart pail. He raised a huge garden beside the house, so most of their vegetables and fruit were raised right there. Then they – I should say she, canned & preserved as much as they could put up.
Their cellar was full of canned fruit & vegetables. They actually had a furnace altho most houses were heated by wood stoves, (something like you have in your home now.) There was one great big register in the dining room in the middle of the house, and then as I recall grandma had a big range in the kitchen. My grandfather was not a lazy man. He built the house they lived in, it was a huge bungalow. about 8 rms. on one floor – living room, dining room – Hall bathroom – cellar way & then a huge kitchen. upstairs was a big attic. With partial flooring, on the side was a big tank that caught the run off water from the down spout on the eaves. It was almost the side of a double sized
bath tub, when I was little I thought it was as deep as the whole house, and that if I fell in, I would never reach the bottom! but the attic ran the full length of the house, and we often had to sleep up there. They had 4 bedrooms, but with that large a family you had to have some overflow room.
You know it’s funny, I don’t remember being afraid of the dark or being alone, but I do remember being scared to death in the day time, when my mother went to town and I would hear a siren, I was sure something had happened to my mother, and I crawled under the bed to hide.
My mother worked when we were small and we had some baby sitters, boy were they weird, we had one who was sort of loony, all she ever fed us was oatmeal & she blowed out spit bubbles!
Then mom got a young girl who turned out to be a shop lifter! We liked her! She played saxophone. But when mom paid her, she came home with a whole bag of clothes, much more than she could have paid for on what she was being paid. “So mom seen her duty & she done it” Ha. She called the cops -
I realize now, she had to our she would be liable too. The detectives came out, and nosey me – I went into the bedroom while they were questioning her. Mom tried to get me out, but the detectives said it was o.k. for me to stay. They were nice to her, But they insisted on sales slips for the merchandise. She she couldn’t of course they arrested her! Poor thing, they were mostly nice underclothes.
I remember when we lived in the little house on 4th st, when people had childhood diseases, measles, mumps, whooping cough, etc. they quarantined your house! They came out & put big signs (not bill board size, more poster size) on the front of your house, and you couldn’t go out, and no one could come in until they came out and took the quarantine signs down. Then you had to fumigate your house with sulfur candle. That’s how they tried to control childhood diseases. It wasn’t very effective but it did help. So medicine has come a long way since I was a child. Can you believe that we
saw many children who were crippled by – what we call “polio” now, but when we were little
it was called “infantile Paralysis” Many died, now we seldom hear of it, because of the Salk vaccine. You children are so fortunate, health wise. Science has found so many cures for so many ills, but they can’t show us how to live together!
Do your realize how much we allow other people to push us in to their molds, We either try to be what they want against our own nature, or we rebel & decide we won’t be anything, just in case its what someone else wants. Either way we lose. We have to learn to be ourselves. And thats hard, because there are so many pressures, but we don’t have to be someone else’s dreams or wishes, and they, the ones doing the pushing or rejecting are to be pitied because they’re so dissatisfied with themselves! Thats most of the problem. But I had to learn who, I was. It was a long process, and probably took longer than it should have, I guess I was a slow learner. Most of us are. When we’re young we’re so unsure of ourselves
we’re not sure what we want to be. We’re not even sure what we can be. Then other people are putting their demands on our life – be smarter (than other people’s kids) be better, better looking, better at sports better- better- not because it’s best for us, but because they want to bask in our accomplishments, or because they have a dictator complex, and they know whats
best for everyone. That’s a dangerous point of view. I wouldn’t want to take that kind of responsibility for someone else’s life. Would you? Then again there are the ones who are so involved with themselves that they don’t care about anyone other than themselves! Not their children, not their parents, not their wives or husbands, or friends, just themselves, and they’re just as emotionally crippled as the others.
How do we reach a happy medium? It’s hard. It’s like walking tight rope. Pray that you will develop the right point of view. That you will try to help your children be the best self they can be, for themselves, not for you, but to teach
them to respect you. And of course to be respected. You have to earn it. Be interested in what your children do, but don’t make that your total focus. They have to grow in their own way. not ours.
Oh I sound like I’m preaching, but I guess I’m remembering how disinterested my parents were in my development. They never went to school for any of my programs, or for parents day. They never showed any interest in my grades.
Altho my dad did tell us one time he would give us a dollar for every -A- we got on our report cards. I got five but I never got the money! He was always good at promises, but very poor on performance. Ah well, that made me tough! I made up my mind not to let them whip me and break my spirit!
And I didn’t! Praise the Lord. I learned I had to be tough, tough minded and let them talk, but they couldn’t reach the real me. I wouldn’t let them!
I can remember going in the closet & pounding pillows & saying through gritted teeth (under my breath) “I hate you” “I hate you”. I guess that was my safety
valve. We all need one. I was little & wiry- and I guess I was really sort of mean inside. I had a bad temper, but I learned to control it (most of the time) Temper is not bad, its what we do with it, and whether we control it or let it control us.
Back to memories. There was a Japanese family that lived several houses down when we lived on Williams st. That was unusual. They had a photography studio up on Calhoun st. They had 3 little children, Sumi, Aachen, & Charlie!
Their last name was “Ozaki”. Anyhow my brother Harry was playing with the children in the sand box & he flipped the shovel (it was probably a spoon!) up while he was digging in the sand & it flipped sand in one of the little girls eyes. He really didn’t mean to, but that Japanese lady chased him down the street, yelling “Sumi, Aachen – eyes” – she couldn’t speak English very well, but Wow! was she mad? My mom had to really talk fast to calm her down.
believe it or not, we found out they were spies for Japan and were deported during the second World war!! Now that is interesting. Don’t you think?
We used to go over to Reservoir park in the evenings, they had concerts and fountains with colored lights in them. We’d take a blanket and listen to the music, and us kids would go & roll down the hill which looked like a mountain to us that’s the kind of fun we had.
The popcorn man would come by the park with his horse & wagon & we’d get a couple bags of popcorn or ice cream cones. They were only a nickel a piece, but the nickels were hard to come by. A penny was a fortune to us.
Well I’ve reminisced long enough for this time. More later. Are you getting bored? Well be patient, its good therapy for grandma. And because I think you’ll save them and read them over & I will have left something of myself with you.
I love you.