During breakfast one sunny spring morning, Grandmother informed both Grandfather and me that she was going to sew that morning and she didn’t want either of us under foot. That only meant one thing; she was going to sew my new Easter dress and she didn’t want me bothering her while she sewed.
Grandfather looked over at me and asked if I wanted to walk to town with him. OH BOY, WOULD I!! After we finished breakfast I ran into my bedroom and retrieved my black patent strap shoes. I went to Grandfather who was now sitting in his rocking chair and bolted onto his lap.
Resting on my lap as I sat there were my black patent shoes and I asked him if he would buckle them for me. He took them one at a time and buckled them snugly on my feet and then put me on the floor in front of him. I twirled around and he said I looked just fine in my little dress and black patent shoes.
I crawled back onto his lap and asked if I could see his pocket watch. He slowly drew it out of the small pocket of his overalls.
As soon as it was out of the pocket I asked to hold it and after he opened it and wound it he laid it gently in my upturned hand. I immediately placed it up to my ear to listen to it tick for a few seconds.
The sound of that round gold watch always fascinated me. All to soon Grandfather took it back and snapped it shut and said, “If you are going to town with me you had better get down.” I quickly jumped to the floor and ran to Grandmother and told her we were leaving.
We stepped out the front door at 9:15 and I heard the screen door slam behind us as we crossed the freshly mowed lawn to walk up the gravel driveway.
Grandfather always wore black leather shoes that laced above the ankle using hooks to hold the shoe lace as it was tightened up and tied with a bow. The soles on his shoes were heavy black leather and they made a very distinctive crunching sound when he walked on gravel. This sound is still engrained in my mind and when I hear it, it always brings back Grandfather’s presence.
Once on Stolp Street we walked east, past the Riggins house, then the Skinner mansion that intrigued me every time we walked by. They must have been very rich I thought to have a house that big and it looked like a fairy tale castle to me.
Just past the Skinner house we walked down the hill that was very steep to a 4 year old and once we were on flat ground again it was another 2 blocks to Main Street.
We crossed Main so we could walk down the side walk on the east side of the street. This was my favorite part of the walk to town because the houses sat above street level and the yards were raised so they were flat and had cement walls holding the yard up. The walls were 3-4 foot higher than the sidewalk and became an amusement park for me.
Grandfather would lift me up and place me on the retaining wall and I would walk along holding his hand. Even though I was somewhat afraid of the height, as long as he held my hand I was fearless.
When we had walked the three blocks to the downtown shopping area, the ground leveled off and I had to walk beside Grandfather on the sidewalk. As we walked down the sidewalk downtown the first thing we passed was the school playground and then the large red brick school building that sat on the next corner.
On the corner tucked back close to the school sat the statue that honors the signing of the Peace Treaty between the Plains Tribes and the United States. The statue is a soldier and a proud Indian shaking hands. It is beautiful white marble, and always fascinated me.
One more block down the street and we arrived at our destination. The Western Power and Light Company sat on the northeast corner of the intersection and it had a huge window that looked out onto the sidewalk and Main Street. Along the bottom of the window was a huge chunk of stone that formed a long ledge 6 inches wide.
When we arrived there were 5 men already propped on the ledge visiting and Grandfather quickly escorted me into Carper’s drug store that sat next door. He picked me up and sat me on one of the stools and laid a nickel on the counter. The soda jerk asked me what I wanted and I quickly told her a cherry 400. Grandfather told me to stay on the stool and behave myself and left me there to aggravate the soda jerk with my questions.
Grandfather walked back outside and sat down on the ledge with the other men so they could gossip about every one that walked by on the sidewalk. An hour later Grandfather came back into the drug store and retrieved me from my stool and we retraced our steps back to the little house on Stolp Street.
Thirty minutes later we arrived home. Grandfather went to the sewing machine where Grandmother was almost finished with my new Easter dress and told her that Lydia was pregnant. Grandmother told him Lydia was not pregnant. He just shook his head and turned away and told Grandmother again that she most definitely was pregnant.
I remember a conversation a few months later at the dinner table; Grandmother told Grandfather that Lydia was pregnant. Grandfather told her he knew that and he had told her about it after our trip to town 2 months ago. I wondered what pregnant was and why they were so excited about it.
Grandmother asked him how he knew Lydia was pregnant 2 months ago because she was only 3 months along then. He said it was the way she walked. Even though I had no idea what pregnant was and why it made them walk funny, I could hardly wait until I could walk to town with Grandfather again to find out who was pregnant. To contact Sandy: [email protected]