This cold weather snap has caused many hardships, I read this morning of people without water who are melting snow for drinking and cooking water. Apparently their pipes are frozen and they see little hope anytime soon of getting them thawed out. That story along with my dad’s birthday has brought back some funny stories about my grandma.
My grandmother’s name was Isabelle. She was adopted, well sort of. According to grandma her mother, an unwed mom in 1913 gave her up to the Smith family instead of enduring the issues of being an unwed mother. That part I believe to be true. Grandma always had slightly off birth stories. In her case, her birth story involved the 1913 flood in Indiana. During that time most rivers in Indiana overflowed their banks and inundated a good deal of the state. My grandma’s birth story was that once she was given to the Smith’s she was placed in the home bread box. According to her, she was taken out for feedings and to change her diaper during the first two weeks of her life. This carried forth in the story of her birth. According to her, part of being ‘”adopted” meant she was to be hidden for a bit to disguise the identity of her mother.
That leads me to the second part of her story she was not legally adopted. Rather she was acquired. The young woman who gave her up was a family friend and in those days there was not good tracking of births so when the family got a birth certificate they merely claimed her new mother and father were her parents. I guess it did not seem to matter much so long as every child had parents somewhere.
Now if this seems like a pretty tall tale I understand. Grandma in her heyday was a great story teller. She could spin a yarn with the best of them and she loved holding an audience. I left out of the part where the police came to check on the new happy family to make sure she was really a Smith, or how her sisters and brothers mistreated her, or how her father Great Grandpa Smith fought in the civil way (could not have happened) and she sure was chummy with her brothers and sisters if they abused her.
So this circles me back to the cold weather and grandma. My dad was born January 8, 1936. Yes one year to the day after Elvis was born. That part is real. In his teen years his friends often called dad Elvis’s lost brother. That seems unlikely and to his credit my dad never confirmed that Grandma’s story about this.
What was told many times was that the day dad was born the families water pipes froze. Grandma was adamant that the pipes froze and that she was sent home from the hospital. with no water. Once home she convinced her neighbors the cox’s let them run a hose between the two houses. This meant in the freezing cold that the family had water less than one hour a day. The story has it that grandpa would come home from work, heat water, and dose the hose with the hot water in order to get it running. Being so cold it would run no more than one hour.
Of course her sister, the one who abused her as a child, stayed with her for one month after dad was born. They often walked to the Cox’s to get a jug of water or two. Often of course this was my grandma’s chore. Remember her sister’s abused her, so despite giving birth she was tasked with carrying water, of course only on the coldest days.
Naturally Grandma was called back to work after 5 weeks. It was return to work or be fired, (that might be true) so she left dad in the care of her parents. Where, wait for it, yes, he was placed in the very same bread box which happened to be close to the chimney so he could be kept warm, which seems improbable since my dad has no memory of the bread box and yet grandma has a perfect recollection.
If any of this seems funny, and it was when you heard her tell all of the nuances, it was a story to behold. As I said she could tell a great yarn. I love her convoluted stories especially about the day the water pipes froze. The story was so pervasive that my dad was reminded of it at least 10 times a year for all of his 77 years. Dad’s response for most of his life “It must be true, I wasn’t there”. That would bring the best laugh. So all I can say is the same, it must be true, I wasn’t there.
In honor of my dad and Elvis I have a video of Elvis on my home page.
There will not be a blog on Monday. I have three doctor appointments, I will be doing good to get to the first one, let alone to all three.