Saturday, June 09, 2012


My father's mother was named Minnie.  I called her Mammy. She did not see a car until she was 7 years old.  She told me it terrified her.  She thought it was some kind of animal that had gotten hold of her uncle.

My earliest memory of her is from the summer before I started Kindergarten.  My father and mother and I drove from California to Missouri to move her out west.  She was thrice widowed and living alone in a mobile home near Springfield.  I remember she had pretty flowers, and a manual water pump in the front yard.  My dad showed me how to prime the pump and get water to flow.  I remember enjoying playing with that pump.  I don't remember anything about the drive to Missouri and back to California.

When I was nine years old Mammy and I rode the Greyhound bus back to St. Louis to visit her sisters.  I bought a comic book at every depot.  I remember the Flagstaff depot was enormous and very clean.  I remember the soldiers on the bus getting off near Ft. Leonard Wood.  I remember a couple kissing, and really going at it, on the seat across from us.  Mammy told me not to look at them.  I looked anyway.

We didn't spend anytime in St. Louis.  One of her sisters, I forget which, picked us up at the bus station and drove us accross the river into Illinois.  I remember seeing the arch.  And on the way to that sister's house we ran over a snake in the road.  Actually, we skidded the tires on it to kill it.  The women in my family bear no sympathy for snakes.

At my Great Aunt Goldie's house I had a lot of fun.  We played aggravation (the board had been carved out of a piece of plywood) every night.  They let me use the blue marbles. We ate radishes from her garden at every meal.  They were big white radishes.

My Great Aunt Virgie took us fishing when we visted her.  That was a lot of fun except for the water moccasin which was scarry.  They told me about their uncle who died from a water moccasin bite.

At my Great Aunt Mable's house I had the most fun.  Her house was built out of stones her husband had pulled out of the field.  It was a beautiful house.  In the field was a garden where I pulled weeds, and picked strawberries and green beans.  We made strawberry jam, and when we were finished we bleached the strawberry stains from our fingers with lemon juice.

When I was twelve my parents moved to Florida, and Mammy moved with us.  She lived in a little house behind our house, and she made breakfast for me almost every day: Two hamburgers with mayonaise and mustard.  When she was in her eighties and I was a soldier at Ft. Campbell she died of cancer.


DebD said...

What lovely memories. May their memories be eternal! I'm so sorry your Mammy died while you were away.

We were just out on the IL side of St. Louis. It's always so peaceful out there.

s-p said...

My paternal grandmother's name was Minnie and my maternal grandmother was Mabel. It is interesting what impresses us of our childhoods.