A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Other Grandmother

So those who have been following this week's posts you may be wondering What about your other grandparents?  I'll get this out of the way first - I had no other grandfather.  Only the one I've written about previously and he was as good as two for me.  My mother's father died at the age of 29 when she was a young girl.  My grandmother re-married years later and although I have very vague memories of him, he was always "Bud" to me and not Grandpa.  More like a friend of my grandmother in my child-like mind.
My two grandmothers lived in the same town less than 5 miles apart so on weekend visits I was shared between the two.  Guess I need to lay out some other pertinent information - I am an only child, as was my father and mother.  So one could think little Johnny was spoiled.  I suppose in attention yes, but as far as being showered with toys and gifts, not really.  I just had it all to myself.

My two grandmothers were light years apart.  My grandmother Florence (above) kept her home neat as a pin; so clean you could slide a donut across the floor, pick it up and eat it without a care, even though she always had two little spoilt dogs in her home.  While grandmother Lois' home had a multitude of things for me to get into,  grandma Florence had one drawer of old toys, most of which left over from my mother.  Yet I was never bored there.  When an only child you learn early on how to entertain yourself.  Grandma Florence had the biggest avocado tree in her backyard and it was prime for climbing high up into, much to the consternation of my grandmother.  Grandma Lois would just let me loose in her backyard - the "Jungle".  Grandma Florence also had a great sloping cement driveway and smooth sidewalk perfect for roller skating.  You couldn't see grandma Lois' driveway (or even inside the garage) for the piles and stacks of boxes and crates of her "collection".  I'll make this clear here grandma Lois kept me in line.  Grandma Florence had little control over me.

While grandma Lois exposed me to the arts, grandma Florence exposed me to religion.  Every Sunday it was to church and I was thrust into Sunday school early on.  I must have grew bored with Sunday school for later on I would sit with her in church.  It was all entertainment to me - the sermon which meant little to me and all the singing which I usually just hummed along out loud since I didn't know the words until I could read them fast enough from the hymn books.  But I was fascinated with the stories from the Bible which she gave me several books written as so they made sense.  When the movie "The Ten Commandments" with Charlton Heston came out, you can bet we went to go see it together.  Loved it.  The only other thing that was as important to her as church was Knotts Berry Farm.  Oh how she loved that place.  This was long before it became the Disney-like place it is today.  I think it brought to her pleasant memories of life in rural Missouri as a young girl. 

I loved both grandmothers equally and never favored one over the other in time spent staying with them.  Although my grandfather and grandmother died unexpectedly at home, I have greater regret over my grandmother Florence's death.  She became ill and went to the hospital in October 1989.  I was unable to get time off from work to go visit her, but then I didn't think it that big of deal either as she'd surely come home soon.  She died there in the hospital.  She was 82 years old and I should have known better.  At least my wife and her two great grandchildren were able to see her one last time.  At her funeral, I was unable to sit up in the front row.  I just couldn't.  I sat in the back upon the last of the vacant rows of benches, and my wife stayed by my side.


  1. What a gift you have given us, John! In spite of the fact that you didn't get to see her in the hospital just before her death, I am sure your Grandmother Florence knew you loved her - Grandmothers know these things. Thank you for sharing your heart with these past posts - I feel I know you better each time! Love that photo of the 2 of you! I have a tape recording of a conversation with my grandparents from 1977 - a cousin did it as a project. Once in a while, I listen to it, just to hear their voices again. They have been gone since the 1980s also.

  2. I have enjoyed these posts immensely... they've brought so many thoughts and feelings to me that I can really put them down in words.

  3. Beautiful shot and wonderful post again.

  4. one of those decisions/circumstances you can never un-do.

  5. I'm an only child too! And not spoiled in the least, just more interesting and self-assured for all the attention!

  6. What nice stories and photos. Your grandmother Florence could be the twin sister of my Aunt Rula at that age, although your grandmother Florence was probably 5 or 6 years older than my Aunt.

  7. I think you resemble Grandma Florence a little. You have great memories of both grandmas, which makes me want to write down my own ancestral memories. My regret is that they've been gone a long time and I didn't ask nearly enough questions when they were around to answer them.


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