Friday, November 18, 2011

Questions Myrna's Grandkids Asked

Grammy, please describe your favorite family activity when you were younger.

There were so many that I cannot pick just one. When I was alone with just Grandma, I liked to read, draw, play with dolls and paper dolls. I made clothes for both kinds of dolls. I learned to be very careful with scissors during these creative bouts. Once when I was cutting out a paper doll creation, I held the doll against my skirt. Grandma told me to be careful and I thought I was but when I finished I had cut the dress for the doll out of my skirt. I am certain that through some kind of patch or creative mending Grandma made it so that I could wear in again. But all I remember was her exclamation, "Myrna Rae, I told you to be careful!" I don't remember that scissors were taken away from me but I do remember that I had to sit at the dining room table to cut things out for quite a while. This was also a good learning experience for my children because I would caution them not to cut their clothes and to cut with something hard between them and their clothes like a table or a hard-cover book.

Most of my activities Grandma joined in along with me. We did all sorts of arts, crafts, reading projects and science projects together. Sometimes she would pay the fee for me to go to one of her art workshops which she attended as a teacher. I loved that. I would get involved and learned to do all sorts of different projects.

I like listening to radio series. You could listen to the radio and still draw or color or do a myriad of other things. The second version of Bobby Benson, which began in 1949 and aired until June 1955, was one of my favorites. It outlasted every other kids' dramatic show, including Superman, Green Hornet, Captain Midnight, Sky King and Straight Arrow. I also liked Roy Rogers, a singing cowboy actor, one of the most heavily marketed stars of the day. He and his wife Dale Evans, his golden palomino, Trigger, and his German Shepherd dog, Bullet, were in more than 100 movies and The Roy Rogers Show. The show ran on radio for nine years before moving to television from 1951 through 1957. He had a sidekick, either Pat Brady, Andy Devine, George "Gabby" Hayes. I liked Gabby well enough on television but he had a beard and, when I was five or so, he terrified me because he was also crotchety.

Grandma tried taking Garth and Aunt Renee to movies when I was that age. She had to take me out when Gabby came on because he looked so big on the screen that he scared the bejabbers out of me. I didn't much like Santa because of his white beard either. Once, at the movie, there was a phone that kept ringing and ringing, part of the plot, and I hollered out, from the balcony so that my voice carried, "Well, answer the phone!" That got a lot of laughs, much to my surprise. Later, my cousins and I used to go to the Saturday matinee during the daytime. The theatre would show several movies in series and would end each one with a cliff-hanger. You just had to go again the next week to find out what happened.

Picnics were may favoirte summertime activity. Aunt Renee and Uncle Max loved fishing. I never did but I sure liked to be along. So did Grandma and those picnics and being in the canyons were treasures.

I also liked singing and playing the piano though I was not very good at the piano. I thought I was a great singer. I took singing lessons for several years and sang at various places for various programs. I loved it until I was about 16 and then I started to get so frightened that my voice would shake. Rather than face down my fears, which I should have done, I just quit accepting invitations to sing. Nobody can really make a 1 6-year old do anything. They can plead, suggest and cajole but they cannot make you show up. I started volunteering to read some of my poetry for groups that would call me. I thought I would grow up to be a famous poetess. We all see how that worked out. I did win several poetry contests and, in one, was named the poet with the most promise.

I loved painting and art of any kind. My Aunt Pat, my father's sister, became my first patron and would pay me  50-cents for one of my creations. Later I sold oil paintings to some of my teachers and gifted some to others, at their request. One I did for a wedding gift, at her request, for Miss Moleno when she was married. She was an elementary school teacher and we became friends through my grandmother. I even sat at her guest book at her reception and was a guest at her Catholic wedding and the meal that followed.

My favorite thing to do was play with my Childs cousins. When we were together, which was usually daily, we played and played and played. If the weather was good, we played outdoors with the neighborhood kids, sometimes, and sometimes with just us. We had lived with them, Grandmother and I, after she gave up her job as principal in Wattis to move to Price after my mother died. Garth was born during that time and we really thought, for several years, that we were brother and sister. It came as a shock to us both when Great-Grandmother Pritchett came to live with us and we moved to a little rented house not far away from Aunt Renee and Uncle Max. It was traumatic to the two of us. Aunt Renee made certain that we spent lots and lots of time together anyway.

We later moved to a rented home on Carbon Avenue, the two older women and I. It had a huge backyard and lots of neighbor kids our ages. We had a big garden and Aunt Renee and Grandma spent hours and hours caring for it and bottling the results of their labors. Summers were wonderful because we would spend whole days together.

We were cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, soldiers, pilots, Superman and his enemies. We played with kids at the Childs' neighborhood or at mine. We played hours of hide-and-seek. We rode trikes, roller skated, played marbles, played with plastic cowboys and small cars in my sand pile. We climbed trees though I wasn't particularly good at it. We picked tomatoes, green peppers and green peas from our combined garden. Those summers were the best because they seemed to last forever. Winters we built snowmen, sleighed, ice skated and just romped about. I didn't ever like to get too cold but I was up for some snow fun. The boys were good at ball as was Aunt Renee. I was hopeless but I was a good admirer of skill. Hang, I had a difficult time learning how hopscotch. My boy cousins had to teach me how. I think that Aunt Renee and Grandma, who were both athletic, used to just shake their heads at my lack of ability.

Like kids everywhere, we had homework. We sometimes worked at it in the same house and sometimes independently. They were better at math but we all liked to read and read and read and to be read to. What a wonderful childhood. Every day was a gift.

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