Memories of Grandpa Esker and Grandma Amy
For the Mayberry Reunion
By Linda Mayberry Richey
27 October 2007
My memories span at least 48+ years; I have written them so I can share them with our children as well.
· I was the first grandchild. I think I was extra special to her because I was a girl. Grandma told me more than once that she loved her sons, but always wished she had a daughter. I think she would have adopted me if Dad and Mother would have agreed to it.
· Grandma probably had the greatest influence over who I am-she helped define me as a person. Just one of many examples of what she taught me is my attitude towards punctuality-it isn’t good enough to be there “on time”; she taught me to do my best to be there at least 10 minutes early.
· Grandma was a huge fan of childhood success and loved to participate in celebrating them with us. One activity that has carried over to my own grandchildren is having Grami “ooh” and “ahh” during the potty training progress-even if it is long distance or over the phone.
· Grandma loved to have the grandchildren call her on April Fool’s Day and “pull” one on her.
· It was pretty common to have Easter Bunny drills anytime throughout the year.
· Week long summer visits to Bisbee were a highlight. Grandpa had no problem with picking up hitchhikers, much against Grandma’s consternation. I remember them arguing and trying to figure out if they ever loved each other.
· I remember “Santa” leaving things at least a week prior to Christmas for us to try out. We were allowed to play with the toy until bedtime and then “Santa” would pick it up and deliver it to us for Christmas. This preview always seemed to coincide with a visit from Grandpa and Grandma.
· I was probably 4 or 5 years old and absolutely loved what I thought were some sexy ankle-strap shoes and begged her to let me have them when I grew up. She was true to her word and probably saved them for 15+ years. Silly me, I didn’t take them when she offered them to me.
· I loved everything about the frequent family dinners EXCEPT the clean up phase because that was women’s work while the men got to relax in the living room telling their stories. I have implemented two things to overcome that frustration: 1) paper plates and 2) letting the dishwasher do the work so I can visit along with everyone else.
· Grandma didn’t want us to make a fuss over her new clothes so she would come down to show us her new dress and then inform us that we were NOT to mention it. It wasn’t unusual for a new dress to hang in her closet for several months just so she could honestly say it wasn’t new.
· In 1975 we caravanned to Arkansas in 3 vehicles (Roland’s family, my Dad’s family and Grandpa’s camper for them and our family). Some memorable events of that trip were that Grandpa was rotated between the 3 vehicles and to my knowledge never told the same story twice, nor did he stop talking. Their camper caught on fire on the trip home near Alamagordo, New Mexico (Sheridan had came to the front and told us he smelled smoke and a few minutes later Robin, who was driving, looked in the rear-view mirror to see flames coming out from under the camper). Diana and Amy were 2 years old and both were convinced that Grandma had brought her doll in the blue basket just for them and they fought over it continually so he had to put it up.
· I NEVER had to ask Grandma to babysit-she faithfully babysat for me every week so I could do genealogy.
· While it was tough on Grandma to give up her independence and driving, she didn’t whine about it. She learned how to continue cooking and making change. She didn’t want people to think she was stuck up and made a big deal about telling people that they needed to speak to her first because she couldn’t see them.
· Grandpa seemed to relish helping us get set up in our new home. Some of the many things he assisted with or just plain did were to build our chicken coop and to help Sheridan build a fence sty over the lane fence for a Cub Scout project which is still there today.
· One of Grandpa’s financial quotes that I really like is “Do without what you gotta have”.
· Grandpa worried that Grandma was going to wear his work clothes out by washing them. It seemed like he enjoyed playing keep away with his work clothes.
· Back in the days when we had night church, we would play games (mostly Make-a-Million and sometime Chinese checkers) and then go to DQ. One summer night Grandpa was driving with the window down and bit into his ice cream cone only to suddenly start spitting and sputtering because he had bitten into a stink bug.
· Grandma loved to let us kids “trick” her into drawing Old Maid. We have a Smurf card game that she gave us 20+ years ago and has been a favorite.
· In 1997 Jamie Sue worked with Grandma on her life history for her Laurel Project. That was a good thing because it was during Jamie Sue’s cancer treatments and she wasn’t able to attend school. The week prior to Grandma’s passing, she had me read from that life history to make sure it was in order.
· Robin’s mother’s birthday is October 23, Grandma Amy’s birthday is October 24, and Grandpa Esker’s birthday is October 25. At Grandma Amy’s suggestion we would celebrate all their birthdays together. Grandma Amy was always so kind and thoughtful of Grandma Richey.
· Our family affectionately called Grandpa “Big Shorty” because he called everyone Shorty. To help our children differentiate between which Grandpa and Grandma Mayberry we were talking about, we gave them titles of Grandpa Esker, Grandpa Jim, Grandma Amy and Grandma Gwen.
· I was Grandpa Esker’s hunting partner when I was 12 or 13 and carrying my own rifle. He decided to give me some target practice. Since the rifle was too heavy for me to hold straight while standing, he bent over so I could rest it across his back. There was some confusion in his instructions to me, because I thought he told me to shoot at the target. You can only guess how scared he was when I actually fired the rifle when I was only supposed to be aiming at it.