Bahama Tales - Grammy and Grandaddy

Grammy and Grandaddy (my father's parents,both born in April of 1900) lived in Phoenix, Arizona. My grandfather built their house...but that's another story. Many parts of my childhood memories have them doing things with me, no matter where we happened to be living.

Grandaddy was born in Machias, Maine, and met Grammy near Boston, Massachusetts. (That's an interesting story, too.) They had five children (adopted another later). They lived in Center Strafford when my father (the youngest) was young before moving to Arizona because of my aunt's asthma problems.

Grammy and Grandaddy were living with Uncle Roy and Aunt Ruth when we moved to the Bahamas. One of my very first memories is my mother cutting the fabric for a pink dress. Grandaddy was teasing me about it being for him. I knew it was for my birthday (4th) and learned to love his teasing.

He had a special name for me, Yonie-the Cat Island Girl (pronounced Wi-oh-nee ) He was the only one who called me that, and I think I'd rather keep it that way--not that I don't like it; I love it because it was my grandaddy's name for me.

Grandaddy was a carpenter. He helped design and build the chapel in Old Bight, which is still there. (found a picture of it!)The window behind the pulpit has a semi-circle, with the three crosses within in. The concrete front steps go to either side with a flower garden in front.

Grandaddy appeared gruff to some people because he had a dry humor. If you didn't know he was teasing, you might think he was upset about something. I knew better. I loved pulling off his work boots at the end of the day and crawling up into his lap, where he'd rub his whiskery face on my cheeks. He'd pull out a Flinch game whenever we got restless. (I still have his old game of Flinch, the red cards all tattered and worn.)

Grammy was a thin, loving grandmother. She always had some kind of nutritious remedy for everything. I remember getting a sty (an eye sore) while she was there. She made me eat crushed egg shells in a peanut butter sandwich. YUCK! *shiver* She drank pineapple juice every morning. To this day, whenever I taste pineapple juice, I think of Grammy.

I remember her telling me of when she was a girl. She taught me a song that she and her sister sang for a school program...

"I'm going to wait for Santa, for Santa, for Santa;
I'm going to wait for Santa,
But I'm not going to sleep.
My eyes keep a-blinking, a-blinking, a-blinking,
My eyes keep a-blinking,
But I'm not going to sleep.
My eyes keep a-closing, a-closing, a-closing,
My eyes keep a-closing,
But I'm not going to sleep."

She said they ended with pretending to fall asleep. She thought little children should be allowed to believe in Santa and such when they're little, and thought I was much to serious.

She told me stories of my aunts and uncles and my father growing up and the things trouble they'd get into. I'm sure there were many other stories that they never told her. I wish I spent more time listening to her, but I preferred doing things with Grandaddy.

I remember Grammy getting upset with Grandaddy's foolishness. He'd let out a HUGE sneeze that could rattle the windows, and Grammy would say, "Paul!" She didn't like him sticking out his false teeth, either. *smile* I think he did those things just to hear her holler.

Grammy wrote us letters when they went back to Arizona. She wrote in tiny script and all around the edges, squeezing out every bit of space she could fill. She sent me some old fashioned valentines and birthday cards. (packed away in a box, somewhere in my attic)

They've passed away now, but sometimes, it seems like Grammy and Grandaddy still live in Arizona and will come visit me sometime. I get an overwhelming feeling of "homesickness" for them, especially Grandaddy. I know they are waiting for me in heaven. I can't wait to see them again.

1 comment:

Sherri Ward said...

I enjoyed this bit of nostalgia, very sweet!


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