First up, Grandpa. He was born and raised in a German community of Texas. He did not learn English until he went to school. He was a sweetheart. He was a kind and gentle, suffering soul. He carpooled to work every day at H. Dorsey Douglas Office Outfitters in downtown Oklahoma City. He loved tinkering and baseball.
EDITED Later: My brother bill_schubert just chimed in with even more delicious memories of Grandpa.
He made us a roller coaster in his back yard. I'm not kidding. And I found pictures! He made a cart (you can see it behind this adorable photo of my sister and me) and a track. You pulled the cart up to that high part (which was VERY high if you were 5) and then you rode it all the way down and the length of the yard. Over and over and over again. It was amazing when I was 5. But now more than 60 years later, it's even more amazing.
Everything was fun at Grandma and Grandpa's. Especially the rituals. There were a lot but the best was baseball.
Every Sunday we were at their house, we'd go to church. After church was lunch. After lunch, Grandpa would walk down to the drugstore to get his cigar and take as many of us kids as wanted to go. I never ever said no. One big incentive was scoring the ultimate treasure - the cigar ring.
When we got home, we'd settle in front of the TV to watch the baseball game. The rules were clear. You could not talk, laugh, or make noise of any kind or you would get kicked out of the room. But, if you were quiet as a mouse, at the 7th inning stretch, Grandpa would get up and go to the kitchen and get a Coca Cola for him and for anyone left - which was always only me. We were rarely allowed to have sodas so this, alone was pretty big, but, Grandpa let you drink RIGHT OUT OF THE BOTTLE!! And he did, too! This was breaking about 25 of Mom's rules and so just the most fun ever. Along to the way to this nirvana, I developed a deep love of baseball.
He was a mild mannered wonderful man with some spunk mostly hidden. Once, when I was out of college, I was in Oklahoma with my Mom and we were taking Grandma and Grandpa out to lunch. We piled Grandma into the car and as we were putting Grandpa in, he slapped the side the the car and barked at his daughter 'You got gas in this thing?' His tone was just as if he was chastising his teenager for the millionth time. And Mom took it exactly that way, she was clearly put out and reacted with an eye roll big enough to make any 13 year old proud. It was hilarious to watch - a teensy instant glimpse into the past.
But, Grandpa suffered from severe headaches all his life and glaucoma for half of it. His brother, interestingly enough, was a renowned ophthalmologist in Dallas, TX. I figured this out when I was about 12 and put it all together. I remember asking my Mom why Uncle David couldn't fix Grandpa. I suspect Uncle David and Grandpa asked this themselves many times. Grandpa was legally blind by the time I was about 10. The state of Oklahoma, however, kept sending him renewed drivers licenses. So he kept driving. It was great fun to ride with him because you got to sit shotgun and had a job. Your job was to tell him when the lights turned green or red. (Seriously. It's a wonder we didn't take out large crowds of people.)
When he and Grandma moved into 'the home', he used to go with Grandma down to the residential beauty parlor. He'd sit there blind as a bat, munching on the free donuts and telling all the ladies how beautiful they looked. He was enormously popular.
To Be Continued