Memories of Summers Gone By

I become nostalgic this time of year. Summertime during my childhood was some of the most wonderful memories I have. Summer meant spending time with my maternal grandparents. As long as I live I believe that summer will be filled with beautiful memories.

To say I was spoiled by my grandparents is an understatement. Both of my maternal grandparents had several other grandchildren, but I was the only one that lived close enough for them to dote on.

During the summers I remember most, I would spend the day with my Granny and Grandpa. I would spend the suppertime hour with my dad (after my parents separated), and usually he would take me back to their house to spend the night. When we woke up Granny would start cooking on her gas stove. It was usually bacon, scrambled eggs, and then the star of the show was her “cat head” biscuits. They were called that, because they were as big as a cat’s head. Sometimes we’d eat breakfast at the kitchen table, but most of the time she would bring me a metal tv tray to sit in front of the television and watch PBS. My grandparent’s television only got about 4 channels, but I had Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.

My Granny was a very kind woman. She was always full of laughter, and sometimes we’d spend part of the day just giggling away. She would color in coloring books with me, talk to me as I’d interview her with a tape recorder and later a camcorder, watch cartoons with me, and give me life advice. It was always an adventure when we’d go walk the road to get to the mailbox. She loved mail, even junk mail. One of her best friends was her next door neighbor. We’d go to her neighbor’s house quiet often to visit. Her friend was a widow who had a few animals and a large garden. My grandmother was one of my best friends, even when I got older. She always took my side, and listened to all my teenage angst on the phone. It’s been over 10 years now since she passed, and I still miss her.

My grandfather was a brilliant and gentle man. He worked until he was way into his 70’s. He dropped out of school in 8th grade to help his family take care of the farm. He had taken a mobile home that they had lived in during the 60’s, and by himself started adding on rooms. He added a large room with a wood heater, a living room, a screened in porch, and a workshop for his projects. Inside the workshop he used large pieces of cardboard to create a room inside a room. He put a door on the front of it, and used it for developing photos and had a CB radio set up in it. He taught me how to use the CB radio, and I kept myself amused for hours with it. It was kind of like an early chat room. I remember talking to truck drivers getting the signal in their trucks. My user handle was Jumping Jack. My grandfather enjoyed making things for me. He once put up a zip line in the back yard between two trees. Once he created a battery powered car for me. He didn’t go to church, but he studied the Bible often. He had a desk in his bedroom with a lamp hanging over it. There was a window into the large room with the heater that looked into his bedroom. I remember most nights I would pass by the window, and would see him reading at his desk. He would either be reading the Bible, a magazine, or looking at catalogs. He had a thirst for knowledge. Sometimes when my grandmother was busy in the kitchen she would send me to his room where he’d show me catalogs with chickens for sale, or sometimes cut out paper chain dolls for me. He always had large garden, and when I was 6 he planted me my own small garden. I learned many of the things I still love in life from him.

Time hasn’t diminished the happy memories I have of my grandparents. They both have greatly shaped me into who I am today.

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