Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Antiques and History

Sarah Wallace and Guy Klapp, my mothers parents. We moved from Ohio to Texas when I was six and every summer we would go back for a visit. My Grandmother Sarah passed away one summer while we were visiting, I was 12. My Grandfather died two years later. What I remember of these two is a bit sad, my grandmother would always kiss me with lips that seemed to stretch out from her face, soft and powdery, her skin like rice paper to the touch. That last summer we spent there, she was really quite crazy, washing dishes with bug spray, sometimes walking around the house naked, talking about how her breasts were once beautiful and large and now they were so empty, they couldn't possibly belong to her. She talked extensively about Elvis and also mentioned to me that her children, all nine of them were tucked safely into her pocket. Sometimes she would say something shocking, and I would think, isn't she a ministers wife? My twelve year old mind listened and wondered if all old people were this odd. My grandfather had melanoma on his nose in the sixties and the surgeon was NOT skilled in his removal of the cancer, leaving his nose with deep crevasses and one small lump of flesh on top to cover the missing portion. He was always in a bad mood and gave all of us grandchildren strange nicknames that felt a little belligerent. My sister was Miss Wiggins, I was was Tavia Wavia (very original) and my brother John was either Johnny High pockets or Low pockets, depending on where his pants were riding that day. He used to tell me and my sister that when we grew up we would be so fat that all the boys would say in unison: "I don't want her, you can have her, she's too fat for me."  This treatment left us cold. I assumed that grandparents were supposed to be sweet and spoil their grandchildren. My fathers parents were divorced and I rarely saw my grandmother from his side, and met his father once when I was 15, he died a few months later, so I had no others to compare them to.  When I was older and became curious about their history, my mother told me stories about her life growing up and about her parents, I really enjoyed learning about them.  My mean Grandfather and odd Grandmother become real people, they're love story was beautiful and romantic, they had gained and lost fortunes, been involved in politics, owned many homes, raised nine children, all of whom were born to my grandmother after she was thirty.

 Like finding and old silver teapot tarnished and forgotten, once polished it's true beauty and unique design comes to the fore. This is how I felt about my grandparents once I learned intimate details about their lives. I am going to write a "fictional biography" about the two of them, so please check back on that! Here are some photos of them....

 They had fifty five grandchildren when they died and have left many wonderful memories with their children and those who knew them well, I wish I had known them better, but they were of the belief that children were seen and not heard.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know you had an Aunt Ruth! The photos are wonderful. I can see you a lot in your grandmother, and a little bit of Tavia in your mom in the final photo.