There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Stick 'em up.

You all remember Grandmother Minnie don't you? She's the grandmother that never knew my name, called me "girl" and gave me a penny every summer when we went to Ohio and Virginia on vacation. The look on her face in this picture says everything I remember about her...sour, non talkative and judgemental.

In the picture next to her is my grandfather, William Henry. He was a master carpenter and brick layer. He didn't know my name either and didn't even bother to call me girl or anything else. I don't remember him ever talking to me period. He looks really good in this picture. It was taken at my Aunt Marcella's apartment in the living room. See the shoes he is wearing? My dad always wore the same style; Romeos.

I can't imagine these two people being married and having a whole bushel of kids.

That my father loved his parents was obvious. He was attentive and affectionate with them, visited his mother every summer until she died, visited his father several times a month, paid many of his father's bills and for care in an "old folks" home when he was unable to participate in the activities of daily living.

Proof that I was a bad-gun-totin-babe at 4 or 5. This was taken in front of my grandfather's trailer in El Monte, Calif. It was parked on a huge lot with other trailers and sad looking homes made of scraps of wood and tar paper. With me are my cousins Billy and Carol Anne. They lived in El Centro. Billy had the nappy hair trait that Carol Anne and I were lucky to have missed! My dad and Uncle Pete made the "horsey" that Billy is sitting on. I spent a lot of time at my grandfather's trailer over the years. He was a smelly old man that chewed tobacco and shaved infrequently...bathing was optional on Saturdays. He had a scroungy dog named Lassie. I was never allowed in his trailer...before my dad and I would leave for a visit my mother would lecture me about how important it was to use good hygiene after using the bathroom. We would stop at a gas station before we got there and I would use the restroom and stop again after we left. I don't remember much about my grandfather....he eventually lived in an "old folks home." It was literally old three story converted home with a bunch of rooms that old people lived in . I remember visiting him one last time and he was sitting on the porch of the home in a rocking chair. He died shortly after that visit and my dad was broken hearted.
I'm the old person now.


Cazzie!!! said...

I love that name Minnie..thoe images are just great. The post is just wonderful :)

jan said...

My grandmother was a very formidible looking woman too, but she remembered all her grandchildren's names, all 14 of us and what we all liked for desserts.

kenju said...

You may not believe it, but my father's mom was named Minnie and his dad was William Henry. Our Minnie died when my dad was 5 years old, so I never knew here - or did he, for that matter. William Henry lived to be 88-89, and I don't think he ever spoke 2 words to me at the same time.

Nunnie's Attic said...

Rosemary I had to crack up that you had to use a gas station restroom to access a more hygienic commode! My grandmother (my Nunnie) was the sweetest woman ever and I miss her terribly! My father's dad was a force to be reckoned with when my dad was young but he had mellowed way out by the time the 23 grandkids came around.


seniorwriter said...

I, too, had a Grandma Minnie, my maternal grandmother. Mine smiled a lot; she was a career woman long before that was fashionable, in what I assume was the world's second oldest profession: she was a milliner. She held a lot of other jobs, too, and worked crossword puzzles with a pen. Of course she had only two children; perhaps that's why she smiled more. It's a grand old name!

Seniorwriter, of "Never too Late!" and "Write your Life!"

Auld Hat said...

Yikes! Minnie looks bitter enough to blog!

Sandy said...

After reading Eat, Pray, Love I'm in love with everything Italian - even old, sour relatives.

Lorraine said...

What Hat said!

Mom said...

You are not old!
Your grandparents sure missed a lot of fun by not talking to a rootin' tootin' girl like you.
I love seeing your old pictures.

Jennie said...

So cute - you and the guns. Now, I think your grandparents' expressions DO look like they had a bushel full of kids! lol

Middle Child said...

Your grannie does look like someone who ate something that disagreed with her...maybe life?

Grandfather...nice shoes

But the picture of you as a kid ... priceless

live family history stuff

more cowbell said...

wow, she looks a lot like my great-grandmother, May! May had that same hard look in all the photos, and her husband's name was Henry.

She died when my mom was a girl, I never knew here. When her daughter, (my grandmother) was born, May's mother reportedly said, "Well, you'd best throw her in the river. A girl's no use on a farm." May didn't throw her in the river, but by the look of the photos, she was pretty sour and dour.

My grandma Audrey, having escaped the river, was the best the grandma ever, by contrast.

I love seeing your old photos. Did you save all those pennies?

panthergirl said...

My mother called my son "fella" for the first two years of his life. She couldn't relate to the name "Lucas" because it wasn't "Michael" or "Joey" or something normal (in her mind) like that.

At least your grandfather liked dogs... that says something for him!

I do love that picture of your grandmother, though. And of course the gun-totin' you. Similar to the gun-totin' me!! :D

madretz said...

i always have to wonder what can make a person so bitter that they can't even fake a smile when someone is taking their picture. Especially back then when taking photos wasn't a frivolous thing as it is today.
I think you should write a book. there's a lot of southern california history behind your life history.