She was born in the middle of a family with 7 kids whose roots go way way way back into Texas but the urban parts not the cowboy parts. Grandma's mother was the only great grandparent I ever met. Great Grandma Jones was a tiny munchkin of an old lady when I met her as a child but she did have powder soft skin and her back yard (in Austin, TX) had the best, sweetest figs on the planet.
Grandma and Grandpa had two children. Billy was a year or so older than his sister, my Mom. Billy married Joan and then went off to World War II and got killed in France. My Mom and Joan, her sister-in-law, kept in touch well into their 70's .
Grandma and Grandpa's remaining child, my Mom, never lived very close so they were really on their own. And when they saw their grandchildren - me, my brother and my sister - we were treated like the Treasures of the Sierra Madre. We could do no wrong and nothing was too good for us. Their house was like a castle of amazing. Grandma had candy bowls with actual candy in them right out in the open where you could get some any time you wanted! They had a walled in back porch that was a play land of all kinds of amazing toys.
Can you see Grandma's amazing doll house behind us there? And she even had furniture our size. By the way, she made those jumpsuits for us. AND she made matching jumpsuits for our dolls! Can you imagine? Another huge treat was her cereal bowls. Each had a surprise at the bottom - a cartoon - that was completely hidden until you ate all the cereal. They were like magic!
And my brother just reminded me that they kept their toaster right in the middle of the breakfast table. You got fresh hot toast without having to even move from the table!
A random memory was watching Grandma paint her skirt. She had this black cotton skirt that had little white and blue and green squares all over it. She had a red blouse she wanted to wear with it, so she pulled out some red paint and painted red squares randomly all over. I have no clue why that is glued to my memory but I was fascinated by it at the time.
Grandma was also an adventurer. We were at her house the summer Oklahoma City got air conditioning in the city busses. Grandma marched the three of us - 2, 5 and 6 - down to the bus stop and we got onto a bus and road it to then end and back. It was THE biggest adventure and the most fun I could ever remember having. As we got to the end of the line we were the only people on the bus beside the driver and we were allowed to crawl all over it, stand on the seats, run down the aisles. It was wonderful in every way. Grandma knew fun.
She always had time for a tea party and had beautiful bone china cups and saucers for the occasion. I still have most of what we didn't break of her collection.
At her grocery store, when you first walked in the door was a giant black box that was a cartoon theater for little kids. It was the absolutely coolest. You go in through an opening (like a dog house) and there were little benches and an endless loop of cartoon on the wall. It was way too small for adults. We'd stay in there mesmerised and totally content until Grandma finished her shopping and then we'd beg her to go buy more stuff so we could stay. That kind of thing would never fly today and what a shame that is.
Grandma lived long enough to meet and enjoy her great grandchildren who would ride in her lap while someone pushed them in her wheel chair. She had giant, pillowy soft, amazing arms and could render a hug that was Olympic Gold in quality. She was amazing to the end.
I actually had all of my grandparents alive and cogent until I was in my 20's. So so so lucky.
To Be Continued