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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Grandparents

Michael Manning has a post about Airstream travel trailers that sparked a warm memory. My maternal grandfather was sad that his only children were daughters so Mom named me after him with my middle name. My son and grandson now share the same middle name.
My maternal grandmother was diagnosed with cancer in either 1958 or 59. She was given 6 months. Grandma and Grandpa owned a building in Pueblo, CO living upstairs and the bottom floor was the Record Music Company. One of my dear friends in my Writers2Writers groups that meets once a month is from Pueblo and remembers buying records there. "The shop" as Mom always referrs to it was the first store to sell color television sets.
When Grandma was diagnosed with cancer Grandpa sold the shop to my aunt and Mom. What happened to the shop after that is another story and why we moved to Albuquerque.
Grandpa bought a brand new pink Cadallac, the only car Grandma was comfortable riding in, and a Boll's Air travel trailer. It was beige and white and square, but about the same size as the Airstream. He felt that if they only had a little time left they'd spend it traveling around the country since they'd spent most of their lives working in the shop.
Grandma received radiation treatment for her type of cancer and lived thirty more years. They got to do alot of traveling in that trailer. Grandma liked riding in the Caddy, but resented the two or three times extra cost to get work done on it.
When they'd come home from their travels they'd set up in a trailer park and we'd go over to visit. They'd set up a screen and show us the slides they took in Florida, Texas, California and other states they traveled through.
A few years later Grandpa sold the trailer and car. They settled into a house in Pueblo and bought a GMC pickup with a KamperKing. It was a beast. We'd already moved to Albuquerque. Mom and Dad were both working so they offered to take my younger sister, who was a toddler and me for the summer. When we were in Pueblo I'd work at the shop selling records and my aunt feeling some guilt for shoving us out of the business let me keep as many 45's and LP's as I wanted. After converting the LP's and looking at the huge stack of 45's now I wish she hadn't been so generous. The shop also sold band instruments so my brother got his coronet and I got my clarinette.
It was in the GMC truck and camper that we went fishing. Colorado has great fishing lakes and three times over that summer we went out. I remember stopping between Coatapaxi and Salida to spend the night. It was still a little light out so we got our fishing poles to see if we could catch something in the Arkansas river. I had the reel that has the button you take your thumb off to let the line fly. I threw the whole thing into the river on the first cast. Grandpa had to get out his waders, grab a flashlight and in the rushing water retrieve my rod and reel. We didn't catch any fish that night. Dad would have exploded, but Grandpas, and now that I am one too I understand, have more patience.
In all I spent three summers with them working in the store and going out fishing. They are great memories. The last summer when I was thirteen they were living above the shop again and my bedroom window overlooked Colorado Avenue. They turned in early and that left me with a lot of time on my hands to read. I read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy that summer, special thanks to Mrs. Mojica who read The Hobbit in my English class that school year gettin my head full of elves and goblins and dwarves and dragons.
The last time we went fishing was at John Martin Dam outside of La Junta on the plains not far from Kansas. Up in the mountains it gets cold at night; on the plains it stays hot. There you fish with minnows. Grandpa was fishing off a pier and I found a nice spot where I could sit on the metal minnow cage where they farmed the minnows they sold to the fishermen. I caught four fish fairly good sized rather quickly then nothing for about an hour. I'd put the fish I caught on a stringer and left them in the water by the cage. When I picked them up all that was left were their heads. A turtle got a free meal.
From then on Grandma and Grandpa would come down to visit, but our summers of fishing were over. I haven't been fishing since. I don't think it would be the same.

2 comments:

Michael Manning said...

P M: I was Honored to find my name mentioned here! This story is of course very rich because it strikes me as belonging to people who were real and grounded. Grandparents are a gift, as your post clearly reveals. Your writing took me back to growing up around my brother's TV repair shop. Golden memories! I miss those days!

P M Prescott said...

Memories are the feel good part of life.