When I lived with my grandparents, my favorite thing to do was play school. My grandmother bought me a chalkboard and I suppose that made me feel like a teacher. No matter who I managed to corral for students, I was always the teacher.
My Aunt Beulah and Uncle Harold would come to visit often. Uncle Harold always gave me a nickel to put in my fat china piggy bank. And they were willing students in the game of “school.” I taught them their ABC’s, how to write them, and how to recite them, as well. I knew that I’d one day teach them to read…as soon as I mastered the first grade primer of Dick, Jane, and Spot. Back then we didn’t bring our books home.
I was expected to perform for them, too. Usually reciting a scripture I’d learned in Sunday School. The longest scripture I learned was the 23rd Psalm, for which I received my very first Bible. (My oldest daughter carried that Bible when she went to Sunday School, though the cover was brittle and pieces of it broke off.)
I loved my Aunt Beulah and Uncle Howard Beach. They were the “rich” aunt and uncle and lived uptown. When they visited they were always dressed as if heading to church. And they drove a Studebaker, which none of my other relatives could afford to drive. The picture is of my grandmother and her sister, my Aunt Beulah, in front of that Studebaker. (At least I think this is the Studebaker!) Notice my aunt’s suit and purse while my grandmother is wearing a housedress. Oh, how I’d love to go back and walk down those streets again and wave to the neighbors who always took time to speak to a precocious little girl.
It’s funny how a picture can stir memories. My grandparents used to take me for a drive every Sunday afternoon. We’d go along roads where there weren’t any houses and Gram would talk to me about all the “flowers” we’d see along the road. My favorite was Queen Anne’s Lace. Gramps kept two bags of candy in the glove compartment. One was pink mints and the other white mints…pink was my favorite. He’d pull out the bag and we’d all get one after making a stop to view the flowers. Then we’d be on our way. Later, at the end of our ride, we’d stop at the Dairy Queen and get a sundae. I loved butterscotch even though it made me cough.
Back then, we didn’t have a lot of money, but we had a lot of love, even though I never realized it until I grew older. Their hearts were big enough to take in a scared four year old and provide for her every need. They taught me values, charity, honesty, manners, and faith. I miss my Gram and Gramps to this day and I cherish the time I spent with them. And I still remember that big old Studebaker!