TRAVEL BUG TALES: Different Strokes for Different Families
In 1967 my family took a trip to West Texas and parts of New Mexico. I have fond memories of that vacation, because it was a real vacation, not just a mad dash back to Texas from wherever my dad was stationed. My scrapbook tells me that the next year we went to the Houston area to visit my Dad’s family that year. The photos got me to thinking about family in general.
The Mobleys VS. The Caves
I’ll admit, when I talk about family, more often than not, I’m talking about the Mobleys, my mom’s family. When we’d make that mad dash back to Texas, we were always headed to my mom’s family home in McKinney, where my Grandmother Mobley lived. My Cave Grandmother, who we all called Ma’am, lived just a little further up the road, in Melissa, but we always stayed in McKinney. Unfortunately, both of my grandfathers were gone before I was born.
My two grandmothers couldn’t have been any different. Grandmother Mobley was an industrious bundle of energy. She was up before cocks’s crow, sweeping sidewalks, working in the garden or finding some other project to keep herself busy. She’d break for lunch and watch As the World Turns. Then she was back to mending or canning or shelling peas. It was always something.
Ma’am was a horse of a different color. My memories of her are centered in her front room where she’d sit in her chair, smoke Lucky Strike cigarettes and watch her shows. I could keep up with As the World Turns at Ma’am’s, but I also saw The Edge of Night, The Guiding Light and whatever else was on in those days. She was a baker extraordinaire and created some of the best pies I have ever put in my mouth, but I didn’t often see her in the kitchen. In fact, when I was still knee-high to a grasshopper, she’d send me downtown to the little store in Melissa to get white bread and some sandwich meat – oh, and a pack of Lucky’s.
I adored those daily visits to the store. Melissa was a teeny tiny town and my grandmother could sit on the front porch and watch me make the trek back and forth to the store, but it felt so grown up. At home I wasn’t even supposed to cross the street without telling my Mom. In Melissa I could wander all over creation and transact business like an adult. Well, make that an adult with a sweet tooth, because another thing I adored about the daily visits to the store was the candy I was allowed to buy for myself.
Visits to Ma’ams were leisurely idylls, punctuated by crawfish hunting, passing trains and burning trash. Visits to Grandmother Mobley’s were the opposite. We were cooking, cleaning or gardening all the time. At Ma’am’s the TV was on constantly, allowing us to peek into the lives of folks on soap opera after soap opera. At Grandmother’s we’d watch As the World Turns and Lawrence Welk, but the rest of the time we were busy. In the evenings we’d sit out on the front porch and discuss the people passing by or the families in the houses that surrounded Grandmother’s house. Their lives had all the drama which was piped into Ma’am’s house via the TV.
Grandmothers are a special breed. Nobody else ever loves you the way they do. What do you remember most about your grandmothers?