Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Beginning

I was born in Lincoln, NE in 1937. Mom and Dad married in 1935, mom was 25 and dad was 27. Mom was a teacher, grade school, in small one room school houses in outlying towns. Dad, well, dad was dad. As was normal in that time, they moved into my mom's moms house. It was on 28th street, between P and Q. The front porch wrapped around the whole front, with a door at each end. The far right door was Gram's Beauty shop, a waiting room, and a two chair salon behind that. Gram slept in a reclining salon chair at the back of the salon. I think that may have begun just weeks earlier than my birth, my grandpa died the day I was due, so she was a new widow. The other side of the house was a front room and dining room, I do not remember a kitchen, just a narrow hall with a hot plate where grams coffee was always perking away. In the back was a bathroom and small bedroom. Off the hall was a stair way to a scary, dank basement that we never went into, and a narrow twisting stairway to the attic where mom and dad and I took up residence. The attic was very "peaked," you could stand up in the middle but the eaves were very sloping and I still remember how you had to stoop if you were more than 2 feet tall. My bedroom had a big feather bed, the living room was in the center, and there was a painting of an Indian on a horse with the sun setting behind him. I have seen that painting since, think it was a classic. The kitchen and dining room were under the eaves, and very hard to use, mom and dad had a bed in the dining room. Grams beauty shop was very modern for that day. A perm was done with tiny rollers, then clamps on the rollers, and wires attached to a hanging electric hood clipped to the rollers. It smelled awful. Being beautiful was a tough affair. Gram was president of the American Hairdressers Association, and very proud of her expertise. I always had a welcoming lap, and am told I had a stack of books and was always asking "read to me a gook please." When I was one year old, mom's sis married and she and my uncle moved into the downstairs bedroom. It was a full house, but full of love and happiness. We had some great growing up times. A year later, my cousin Bill was born so we spent our first years there in Grams house. Each neighborhood had a grocery store, small, but with all needed supplies. It was just across the alley from Gram and we used to run over, go in the back door, and get what she needed. It was put on the tab, which was settled monthly. Before too long, the house next to gram went up for sale, and my Aunt and Uncle bought it and moved in there. I remember building igloos with big blocks of snow, and skating on the flooded back yard. Uncle worked for Cushman, and got a motor scooter that he built a box on the front of. We were taken to school many days in that contraption. No seat belts, no roof, would be unacceptable now, but it was fun to have the wind in your face. We lived with gram til I was seven. Then mom got pregnant with my second sister and we needed more room. so we began the hunt for a bigger house. Living with gram had been a remarkable period, she and I were very close, I considered her as special as my mom, maybe more so at times, could always look to her for solace if mom and I had a tif. When I was 2 or 3, gram and I rode the bus to town and she bought me a lovely new outfit, all white, even the shoes. And then she humored me and let me have a chocolate ice cream cone. There were pictures of me in that nice new dress, with chocolate all down the front, my face and hair all smeared, kind of funny but sad too. The clothes and I both cleaned up nicely. Leaving was very hard, now I would see gram much less, but a new chapter was beginning.

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