War Pig put up a comment on my Reclaiming the Family thread so I asked him if I could add it to his folder and so here it is for anyone who didn’t see it on the comments. – photog
We moved to California from Ohio in the 60s when dad got transferred from North American Aviation to Rockwell/Rocketdyne and went to supervise the making of the boosters for the space program. Mom took a fall at the ice-skating rink at the Topanga Plaza and had to have bone chips removed from her brain. Her father came out to stay with us kids until mom was back on her feet. Six months. Dad had to keep working to provide the health insurance and also to feed us and pay the rent (even back then California rents were horrible compared to Ohio). Since papaw was retired and his other daughter lived across the street from his home, he could leave mamaw there while he came out. He cooked, made us kids clean, took us to school functions and all the rest of the things mom would have done. He took us to visit mom at the hospital so she could remember us (she had temporary amnesia and did not know she was married or had kids, initially). She had lost twelve years or memory in the fall and skull fracture.
Papaw was always a hoot. He had a little larceny in his heart and was a lot more lenient than mom had been about what we did. He aided and abetted me and my brother’s carbide cannon incident, for instance. We had fruit trees in the yard and he’d go out and pick oranges and make fresh squeezed OJ for us at breakfast. He makes pancakes and biscuits using buckwheat flour.
Later, after the space program ended and massive layoffs happened in the aerospace industry, we moved back to Ohio. Dad got a supervisor job at a plant that made wheels for US military vehicles. We were close to both sets of grandparents. We kids worked on our paternal papaw’s farm and also rode with our maternal papaw when he delivered frozen chickens. Me and my brother loaded and unloaded chickens and papaw drove the truck. On the farm we drove tractors and other farm equipment and the pickup truck, too. We baled hay and straw and put it up in the barn. Me and my brother ate like starving Clydesdales but worked it all off on the farm or the chicken runs. Sis stayed with mamaw on the farm and helped her. At our other papaw’s house, she helped mamaw bake pies for the local restaurants while we helped papaw with the chickens.
Later, when I was a papaw, I took care of my grandson. My wife got to see and hold her grandson before she passed. Since I had no wife and was retired, I concentrated on being papaw for my grandson. I babysat while my daughter and her husband worked. They dropped him off for breakfast and picked him up after supper. All day we played and did things together. To the playground, fishing, walking in the woods. When he was school age, I picked him up from school and we goofed off or I helped him with homework and we had supper together. I would not trade my time with him for a billion dollars. This year he graduates college. Hopefully, I’ll live to see some great grandchildren.