My memories start from the late 1950s at the earliest. No one had air conditioning. They had open windows and fans. I remember spending the entire vacation, at both grandparents homes, in my unders, with no shirt. This is my grandfather (my Dad's father) that we called Papaw. All of our northern friends had Grandmas and Grandpas. We had Mamaw and Papaw. I was always self conscious about that. Now, living in North Carolina, I'll hear a little one in the grocery store, or where ever, ask for "Meemaw" . It warms my heart. I was surprised when I saw this picture that he was not in the blue denim overalls, with the straps at the top. That's how I most remember him.
This is the grandfather that went frog gigging and caught the catfish my mother so loved. I can still see my tiny little grandmother standing at the stove with a couple of black cast iron skillets full of hot grease popping and sizzling around those frog legs and hush puppies. She never sat down at the table to eat with us. She cooked and nibbled, with a cigarette in one hand and sweet tea in the other. It would be murderously hot in her tiny kitchen, but the food and love that came out of it was wonderful.
This picture of me with my Mamaw was about 1952. She was a tiny woman, never reaching 5 feet or 100 pounds. I remember standing next to her in the front seat of the car as she drove us around and her throwing her arm out to catch me when she would come to a stop. My parents moved back to Missouri from Michigan, for a couple of years. My sister was born there. Then they returned to Michigan for the work. Being a Nana away from her grands now, I can see how that must have broken her heart.
These are the grandparents that owned honky tonks and truck stops. I could go to the cooler and get my own Nugrape or Chocolate Soldier ( which is kind of like Yoohoo). This is the lady that swore her grandmother was a full blooded Cherokee and that Elvis and his band would come in to her" Dew Drop Inn" or "The Palmer House" (I don't remember which one) for burgers after playing county fairs. Is it true? Elvis did perform in that area of the country. I'm sure she remembered it as it might have been and then it became true to her. But, heck, it makes a great story.
She taught me how to "prime the pump" of the well in the front yard. Yes, they had indoor plumbing but I think that pump was a leftover from the days when they didn't. That pump provided great summertime fun. I remember us kids pumping buckets full of water and throwing them on each other.
Nothing felt as wonderful as pulling back the thin chenille bedspread and laying down on cool fresh sheets, with the fan blowing across you. Tired from playing in the sun and full of love and joy at just being there.
So on these stifling days, I can take a little trip, in my mind, to visit Mamaw and Papaw again. That's one good thing about being my age. I don't mind owning these daydreams.