Let's talk grandparents. A couple at a time. Let's start with the couple on the left. My Dad's parents. We called them Momoo and Popoo. Momoo was a tall and thin and always had this expression on her face like she had just eaten something really unpleasant.
She was an east Texas farm girl who married a German immigrant (my grandfather). At the time, he was considered an alien (aliens were not illegal at the time). Her family disowned her entirely, including her twin brother. During World War II, the federal government stripped her of her United States citizenship. I have the document she was required to carry at all times. After the war, her citizenship was restored and my grandfather earned United States citizenship.
But she pretty much remained unhappy and unpleasant. Even her furniture was unpleasant. It was scratchy horsehair stuff that was really uncomfortable. We always had to be on our best behavior in Momoo's house. Even outside was dicey. She would tell my mother that if she let us play on wet grass, we'd get 'kidney trouble'. I know my Mom loved those visits as much as we did. It was always pretty tense.
However, there were two really good things about going there.
The first was pallets. They had no beds for us kids so they would pile quilts up on the floor - lots of quilts and they called them pallets. The adults really did a great marketing job on these sleeping arrangements cause we thought it was the coolest thing ever to sleep on the floor.
The second thing was Chaffee, MO. It was a tiny, magical town. If you wanted to build a small 1950's town in middle America, you'd build Chaffee. Green grass and a band shell in the middle of town. And there was a Woolworths dime store 'downtown'. Momoo and Popoo lived about 3 blocks from downtown and we (my sister and I) were allowed to go to town by ourselves. This was huge. Major. The biggest deal ever.
The very minute possible, I'd bolt from the house and make a beeline for downtown. And to Woolworths. Usually I had a dime. Sometimes nothing. I enjoyed wandering up and down the aisles dreaming of what I would buy when I had no money. It was tougher when I actually had 10 cents. The decision was real and serious. I spent hours and hours shopping downtown and loved it.
There was actually a third thing that made trips to Chaffee not only bearable but fun and that was Popoo.
To Be Continued...