Thursday, January 1, 2015

May 1958

May 1
Thursday.  Moving from JoEllen’s.  More fun putting things away.
That answers a question - I couldn't remember they had stayed with us during the remodeling, but apparently they did.

May 2
Friday.  Carpet men went to work.  Got living room and dining room carpeted.  Kenney enjoyed lying on the new carpet – using a roll of scraps for pillow.
They had wall-to-wall carpeting put down which they had never had in any house.

May 3
Saturday.  Carpet men finished at two P.M.  We were so proud.  Kenney put up can opener and paper holder.  His last job.  He wanted to do it alone.  Said just give me time.
At 10:10 P.M.   The bottom fell out of everything.  My Kenney is gone.
Added later:  Bought birthday gift for Cy that day.
Donnie and I had a date that night and he was late, as usual.  Kenney called me on the phone to ask if I wanted to walk up to their house and see the new carpet.  I did.  He lay down on it for me and waved his arms as if making a snow angel.  We laughed and hugged and Donnie came there to pick me up and off we went to the movie.  After the movie, when we drove in Mom & Dad's driveway, Mom and Mammaw were getting out of her car.  Mammaw turned to me and said brokenly, "he's gone".  Mom then explained that my grandparents had just gone to bed, when he suddenly sat up and then fell back on his pillow, and died.  We put Mammaw to bed in one of the twin beds in JoAnn and Laurie's room and Mom asked me to sleep in the other to watch after her.  Dr. Applegate had given her a sedative so she could rest.  I could not sleep.  As I lay there in the room, a mockingbird sang outside the window - off and on for most of the night.  Years later, I would hear the same mockingbird songs on the morning that my Mammaw died.

May 4
Sunday.  The children came home.  A sad day for all.  We were at JoEllen’s.

May 5
Monday.  The day we were to move in our home.  We took Kenney back to Van Buren for the last time.
They owned plots in Grace Lawn Cemetery in Van Buren where his parents and many other relatives were buried.  His services were to be held in the church they had attended over so many years.

May 6
Tuesday.  Funeral at Wood Memorial Christian Church.  Burial at Grace Lawn Cemetery.  Then back home in Springdale.
This was pretty much on old-time country funeral with open casket and everyone filing down the aisle to "view" before they sat down.  The family was all seated in the front of the church.  After the service, the preacher asked the family to say their last good-byes before the casket was closed.  My sobbing grandmother simply could not let go of him and we had to take her away.  It was the most heart-breaking experience of my 18 years.  I remember my Dad and I agreeing that we would never have open casket at any funeral we had anything to do with, the rest of our lives.  As far as I know we both stuck to that.

May 7
Wednesday.  Had my furniture moved in while the boys were here.  Nearly everything unpacked.
Supposed to be such a happy occasion, but was not.

May 8
Thursday.  Jay and I worked all day straightening.

May 9
Jay and I went to K.C. by bus.  Ike met us at 4:50.  Becky had good dinner ready.
We all thought it would be best just to get her away for awhile.  She also wanted to be with Jay for as long as possible.

May 10
Saturday.  Had good visit with Becky and Ike.  Jay caught plane for San Francisco 11:15 P.M.

May 11
Sunday.  Becky, Ike and I left for Pittsburg, Kansas.  McKims met us there.  Had dinner at church Greers Drive in.  I came on to Springdale with Joe, Jo and the kids.

May 12  [nothing written for the rest of May]

My grandmother had never written a check or paid a bill.  She had really never lived alone. The years that my granddad traveled in his job, there was always someone else living with her - Ike did not graduate from high school until after my mom and I had moved in with them.  Then Jay lived with us off and on.  By the time Mom married and then we moved, I was eight, and Kenney had retired and was home all the time.  Sometimes Mammaw would go to Van Buren and stay with Grandma so Aunt Maude could visit her daughter, but other than that they were not really apart for ten years.   She stayed at our house for the rest of May - I graduated from high school, with my heart still breaking that Kenney was not there.  When Mammaw decided she should move home, I moved into her extra bedroom and stayed with her all that summer.  I helped finish getting her settled in and with paying her bills and writing her checks. She never quite understood a bank statement and Mom would always check them over for the rest of Mammaw's life.  When late August came, Mammaw told me it was time for her to learn to live alone and since I was getting ready to attend the University, she believed I should move back home.  She would live alone in that house for fifteen more years.

My granddad and I had a very special bond.  My mother, as the only daughter among four sons, had grown up in a time of hardship and hard work - I've often wondered if he was especially kind to me because he had not had the time to be so to her.  I was the first grandchild and I did live in his home from age two to eight.  He taught me to call him Kenney, because he declared he was too young to be a grandfather.  He helped me learn to read when I was four from the Sunday funny papers.   When they lived on the farm in Elkins, he taught me how to shoot his .22 and I still have a coffee can lid showing I out-shot him and hit the bulls-eye.  We both loved reading history and biographies and had many long talks about books and "famous" people.  He took much more pride in my scholastic achievements than did my parents - told me that my graduating grade point was the first to be higher in the family than his own.  He always took my relationship with Don seriously and seemed to know, as I did, when I was fifteen, that we were destined to be together.  He and my grandmother are standing next to each other in a school picture when they were in the 8th grade so he knew young love could last.  He was a great loss in my young life and I miss him still.

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