Monday, February 2, 2015

An Era of Threads Part 1

Edna, the oldest of five children, grew up through the Great Depression. Her belief as the eldest was to keep everything running. It was her job to help raise he siblings. As a young adult in movie theater, during a news reel saw a friend die while storming the beach at Normandy. Did her part to support the cause of World War II.
Edna married Johnny and they had three kids. When Johnny’s Step Mother asked him to help run an Orange and Olive ranch, the family moved. All three kids have stories to tell about squirrel shooting, burning tires on frosty nights to save the oranges and working together.
Photo by Sgarton 

When Edna and Johnny retired, they moved back to the Central Valley small town. Edna went to work at a doctor’s office. Johnny worked in an appliance store. If there was something in their community to be involved in, Edna was there. Somehow she held command of a room filled with people.
I met Edna in the late 1970s. We moved from Utah to California. My Dad, fresh from the military, looked diligently for employment. My Mom early in pregnancy, a little sister who was three and I in third grade lived together in the spare room. It was an adjustment for all of us. She and my Grandpa Johnny had strong opinions about everything. Often exchanged views in the kitchen. Edna made it very clear to me what rooms I was allowed into and where I was not. What could be touched and what was to be left alone.
Both of my parents were visibly uncomfortable when they left for their weekly card games and bowling league. Often they smelled strangely when they came home. Parents reluctantly explained to me about cigarettes and alcohol.
As much as Grandma Edna and Grandpa Johnny scared me, I was also intrigued by them. In the quiet my parents discussed their need for salvation, but we all attended church together. I liked their pastor. The Congregational Church seemed to have air within its walls, music and we could all sit together.  Children were welcome in service. After a time of worship, the pastor would call all the kids up for a story. Then we would run to our classes. It felt like an honest, whole body.
The Aunt and Uncle who lived in town seemed nice. Aunt was Grandma Edna’s daughter. Their relationship seemed filled with love and laughter. Aunt and Uncle had two teenage kids. Grandma Edna and Grandpa Johnny doted on them.
My Dad found a job and we moved into a neighboring town. Sister Three was born, Sister Two toddled around and I landed into my Third school of the year.  Three schools in Third Grade is a story for another time. Two years later Sister Four entered the world
Once in our own rhythm, the visits with Grandma Edna and Grandpa Johnny were limited to holidays and an occasional weekend when Parents needed to go out of town. The relationship, however, never changed. It was cordial always but what Grandma said went. No one disagreed with her. We watched golf and played Yatzee for fun. Otherwise we were expected to be quiet and play with our own toys.

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