Al and I were introduced to our step-grandparents and these were very good times of our lives. Our Granddaddy as we called them lived in town in a big white cement brick house. It seemed like it took up the whole block.
It had a wrap a round porch and I can remember sitting out there with Granddad many afternoons when he was home. He was a furnace man. He installed new furnaces for customers and many nights during the winter he had to go out late at nigh to fix some person’s heat.
Granddaddy had floppy ears and big brown droopy eyes. Al and I would crawl on his lap and he would always let us without hesitation. He talked to us and played with us. It brings me smiles now just thinking about him.
I remember seeing Al happy too. Grandma and Granddaddy took great care of us and spoiled us with lots of good food. I remember one time I waited on a white rickety square stool and watched my Grandma making a Black Raspberry pie. She took the left over crust and rolled cinnamon and sugar in it and baked them right along with the pie.
I couldn’t wait to eat a slice of that pie. Even when it came out of the oven I could barely sit still waiting for my own piece. I remember Al was four and I was five now. Waiting for a piece of pie with ice-cream on top was pretty hard to do.
When I finally bit into the first piece I can still remember starting to cry as I told Grandma that there were bones in it. You should have seen her. Her belly shook as she laughed so hard. She told me those were seeds and not bones. That pie still remains my favorite today.
We lived within the same block that they did. We lived in an even bigger house than Grandma and Granddaddy. I remember being scared every night when I went to bed. There were four bedrooms upstairs. I was the only one who slept up there. Al slept downstairs as he needed more watching over than I did, and yet I was the biggest baby of the two of us.
I laid up there many nights afraid of the trees casting shadows on the walls. I dreamed of people being in my room. I seemed to always be afraid of the night and darkness. The only thing that I really recall that was funny about that house is watching Dad use one of those old push style mowers. They were hard to work and he sweated a lot when he sat beside me on the porch steps to rest. One particular day when he and I were talking after he mowed a big old nasty bird pooped on my dad’s bare back.
I know that I laughed and laughed so hard. Dad said some kind of cuss word that I didn’t recognize but I didn’t care. I was sitting with my Daddy, just him and me. I idolized my Daddy. He was God to me and never did anything wrong.
The other thing I recall is sitting in that small back bathroom that was behind the kitchen. Mom always thought sturdy. She had bought me black and white saddle shoes. I hated them with a passion. So when I was using the potty I would swing my feet back and forth. As soon as my shoes came into target range, I would spit on them. I told my step-mom about it when I grew up and she laughed with me.
Al always struggled walking. He had skinny little legs. He didn’t run and play too much. He liked laying on the floor and lining up those little hot wheel cars. For a few years Al wore Buster Brown shoes for toddlers. Mom always told me they helped his balance. I thought they were silly because he wasn’t a baby anymore. He needed red Keds like I had on.
I tried to teach Al how to use the hoola hoop but he never did get the hang of it. Al and I played a lot together. There was always some type of bond that I didn’t have a name for but it was like we understood each other.
I began to realize at a young age that I didn’t need as much help as Al. I could do more on my own, so I became his big sister and pulled him in our big red wagon. I pedaled our big trike and Al stood on the back so he could ride too.
Al cried every time he had to have a hair cut. In fact cried isn’t an accurate word. Scream is more like it. I don’t know today what the connection was but when he saw and heard the clippers he screamed bloody murder. I was always along and I bribed him with one cent bubble gum pieces but Mom always said no. I guess he always swallowed the gum.
He also screamed bloody high pitches when we were sitting waiting at the train tracks for the train to pass by. I can remember Dad always yelling at him to knock it off. It’s only a train. I can still see remember trying to figure out why Dad would yell at Al when he was scared. I would wrap my arm around Al and tell him, it will be alright baby brother. It is almost gone. Al sucked on one of those pacifiers and he used to offer me a suck off
of it when I made him feel better. Some how even back in those days Al
knew I was there for him.
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