Sunday, September 27, 2015

GreatGrandmother Ethel visits in 1964-1968

Correction on Nicole's age.  She is 4 maybe 5 weeks old 


























The top picture is when Grandmother Ethel came to visit about four or five weeks after Nicole was born, so this picture was taken at the end of August 1964. This is the only picture I know of where Grandmother is smiling.  She has a beautiful smile that certainly lights up her face.  Dad took the picture and I wonder what he said that was so funny that all are enjoying the moment except Nicole, she looks very sleepy.   You can see Grandmother’s handicap of how she always had to sit with her right leg in the air due to her stiff knee.  

It’s hard to believe that today the newborn on Grandmothers’ lap is a grandmother today.  Her oldest daughter Cassidy has a son who will be five in February and a daughter that just turned one.  Her second daughter Maddison has a son who turns two in a week (September) and is expecting a girl on Thanksgiving Day which is also Maddison’s birthday.    Her youngest son Christopher is getting married in January. 

Today, I am reflecting on this summer as all Nicole’s family was here the entire time and what a grand time was had by all. Then I was reminded of the summer in 1968 and was so happy I actually found a picture that has to do with the story I want to write about.

This time it’s 1968 when Grandmother came for a visit. Nicole had just turned four and the twins, Cari and Lori, just turned eighteen months and needless to say were a handful. 
 I had the silly idea to pick up Grandmother and spend the afternoon at Ross’s Park; one of the largest parks south of town.  But, how was I to manage the twins who would run in opposite directions every time they got a chance?  For some reason my mother was never interested in going with me to help with the children.

 I got this brilliant idea to buy a child harness to put them in. Safety was on my mind. I decided I’d better try it out on the twins before the big day so I put the harnesses on at home and they both immediately fell on the floor at the same time and kicked and screamed. 
Then I thought, “When at the park they will be so excited they won’t act like this.”  Right!

The next day I picked up Grandmother, had the car packed with a chair for her, a large blanket and plenty of goodies to eat.  I parked the car as close to the swings as I could. I told Nicole to play with the twins while I got Grandmother and with her cane walked slowly for about fifty steps, then settled her in the chair and quickly spread out the blanket then back to the car and told Nicole to go and be with Great-grandmother.  I got in the backseat with the twins and humored them into putting the harnesses on.   Yeah! Everything was going well.  As you can see in the picture they were wearing their cute white ‘tennis outfits’.  I carefully got them out of the car and yep, they both dropped in the powdery dirt ground kicking and crying.  Not wanting to get their white outfits dirty my reaction was to raise both my arms straight out to my side.  Now the twins were swinging with their noses just inches above the ground kicking and crying.  I took baby steps to get them on the grass (that was hard to do) and gently let them down and immediately took off the harness.  I quickly took their hand before they could get away and walked to our spot just in time for Nicole to announce she had to go to the restroom.  Now what was I to do?  

Looking at the ‘chair’ swings I put them in and gave them a big push. Then I relocated Grandmother nearby in her chair gave another big push to the swings and grabbed Nicole‘s hand and said, “lets run as fast as we can.”  The restrooms were about one hundred yards away up a hill.
Coming out of the restroom I could see a crowd of people (at least six) gathered around the back of the swings.  Thinking something terrible had happened, again I told Nicole, “Lets run” when we got closer what I saw was the funniest sight.  The swings were still and the twins were trying to climb out but my dear grandmother was leaning forward in her chair as far as she could and with her cane tapping each bar of the swing saying, “you stay in there,” Tap tap “Don’t you get out of there.”    The people were starring and talking to one another, wondering what in the world was this old lady doing with these babies?  And, where is the mother?

It was then I realized spending the afternoon at the park without another’s adult help was not a good Idea.

 I picked up my babies put them back in the car, told Nicole to play with them until I could get Grandmother loaded up.  Then back to my parents’ home.  You can see the twins are having their snacks in their cute tennis outfits and  big sister Nicole  in her bright sun dress and brown legs. Nicole was my best helper with the twins.   

This was the last memory I have of Grandmother Ethel Tomlinson.  Four months later Grandmother died. 
 18 November 1968.  Sadly she is buried at the Chapel of the Chimes Memorial Park.
  Hayward, California.  I say sadly because, it’s so far away from our hometown.