I was blessed with another set of grandparents (my mom’s parents). They were very loving, but really different from my other grandparents. They were very loving to me, but not really calm about most events. Everything little problem seemed to be a mountain and grandpa had a tendency to talk really loud.
My mom and I stayed with granny and grandpa McClure while my dad was in World War II in France and Germany. I was only six months old when daddy left and almost three when he returned. This was the family I bonded to when I was a baby.
Granny had a younger son, James and he was only seven years old than me. I thought he was my brother. I will tell you more about all the pranks I pulled on James as the stories continue.
Grandpa had a huge farm and raised lots of corn, strawberries, beans, apples, grapes and various veggies. He also worked a full-time job at Wesvaco Chemical plant. I remember him having a stinky smell when he returned from work. Work, work and more work. There were large corn field to plow and hoe and everyone helped.
The big huge barn was the most exciting place to explore and play hide and seek. Through the years, all the grand-kids liked to go to the barn and climb in the hay loft. We would play hide and seek and it was such fun to cover up in the hay while someone was looking all over the barn for you.
Sometimes grandpa would ask James and I go to the barn and feed the chickens. We had to shell the corn and this was done by putting the ear of dried corn in a machine and turning the crank. The corn would go in a bucket and the ear would shoot out the side. We always fussed about who would get to crank.
Back in the 40’s you had no TV, but we always did something to entertain ourselves. In the summer grandpa would give us some produce and we would set up our vegetable stand at the end of the bridge. He would let us keep the money that we got from selling his “extra” produce. During the winter, we would listen to “Sargent Preston of the Yukon” on the radio. Granny loved to tell us ghost stories or just old tales passed down from her dad.
Grandpa McClure was the only man I knew that parted his hair in the middle. He had a round smooth face and dark hair. He would let me play barber shop and I would comb his hair to the side and make it stick up. Grandpa and I thought this was funny.
Some of grandma and grandpa’s kids had married and moved into the city. Almost every Saturday grandma would begin making cakes, pies and kill two chickens for Sunday dinner. Back then, all the family usually drove to Yawkey for Sunday dinner. The men and kids would eat first and then the women. Boy, has that changed.
After we washed the dishes, everyone would go out in the yard and sit in chairs or lie on a blanket under the big tree. My dad hardly ever sat down. He was one of the best baseball players in a three county area and he and his brother-in-laws would pass the baseball. They would make sure all the little kids were out of the way and Uncile Bill would zoom the ball to daddy. Daddy could throw the ball really hard and he would zoom it back to Uncle Bill. Daddy would laugh when Uncle Bill took off his ball glove and said his hand was burning. Everyone seemed to be talking at one time and you couldn’t hear what anyone was saying. Someone usually wanted to get ice cream and pop from the service station. The big treat was usually Grapette, Orange Crush, Coke and ice cream bars. Someone would make out a list and in a few minutes they would bring the pop back in glass bottles and a wooden case. This was the only time during the week that we had these treats and they were so good.
Grandpa always had a family prayer with everyone before we went to bed. He carried on this tradition from the time I was little and throught my teen years. Everyone would sit down together, someone would read a section in the Bible, prayer request were taken and we would pray. This early practice of pray has been a very positive impact on my life, even now.