I lived in Salt Lake City for the first six years of my life, just two houses down from my paternal grandparents and about 8 blocks away from my maternal grandparents. Both sides of the family were close by with aunts, uncles and cousins providing constant entertainment.
Being the oldest grandchild on my father’s side of the family definitely had its perks. I remember my grandparents when they were ‘young’ and nimble. Every day I would walk to my grandparents and spend some time talking to them, looking at their garden, reading the books on their shelves, dancing in the living room with my grandfather while I stood on his toes, teaching my grandmother how to run the newest kitchen gadget called a microwave. We still laugh about that. I really did teach her how to use it!
My grandfather had a beautiful singing voice. He used to sing at the ‘clubs’ when he lived in Barcelona. I loved listening to him sing the songs from his homeland even if I couldn’t understand the words.
The brick house we lived in as well as several other houses on the block were built by my pioneer ancestors (Ashton Brothers). I loved looking at the old photographs my grandmother had of them in front of the house and listening to the stories of their lives. This room is where Yaya (my grandmother) hid as a child playing hide-n-seek while her older brother practiced the piano. The shed is back was where great-aunt Mary and Dick and George canned the chicks after watching their mother can peaches. It was so real!
My grandmother’s aunt Irma lived in their basement apartment. I liked going to visit her too. She always had something kind to say and a cookie to eat. She also had a great many stories to tell. One day she didn’t answer her door, no matter how loudly I knocked. I ran home to tell my mother. The ambulance came. I never saw aunt Irma again. I cried because I couldn’t go to her funeral. I did inherit her copy of the family history book about her parents. Her name written in her handwriting is on the front cover. If her name wasn’t so, um, old-fashioned I probably would have named one of my daughters after her.
I often walked down the street to Jolly’s Drugstore by myself. My mother said she would get calls. ☺ Jolly’s was also the first and last place of my attempt at committing crime. I stole some bubblegum when I was about 5. I got tired of waiting for my dad so I swiped a package and went out to wait in the yellow Volkswagon bug with my mom and younger brother and sister. I gave my mom the gum and she opened it sharing it with everyone. When my dad came out to the car he asked where we got the gum. I was so embarrassed when my dad marched me back into the store! Jolly’s is no longer at that location (I think it’s a Starbucks now).
These personal history posts are by all means not polished. I sit down, think of an incident from my childhood and then just start typing away for about 10 minutes. I write whatever comes to mind without regard for grammar or fluidity. Just so you know. ☺