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Halloween #8minute memoir


I don’t remember too many details about the Halloween’s when I was young. I remember only a few costumes that I wore. My Casper the friendly ghost costume was purchased at the Grand Central variety store and so was the little Dutch girl costume that came with bright yellow, yarn braids attached to the side of the mask. Later, in elementary school I was a Beatnik, a costume that was sewn by my grandmother. She made Susan and I matching sleeveless, short tunics. They were made out of fabric with a white background and large pink, purple and teal modish flowers. We wore our tunics over a black turtleneck shirt with black tights. We thought we were pretty cool. Author Jack Kerouac introduced the phrase “Beat Generation” in 1948, generalizing from his social circle to characterize the underground, anticonformist youth gathering in New York at that time. Elements of the beatnik included pseudo-intellectualism, drug use, and a cartoonish depiction of real-life people. Yikes!!!!! What was my mother thinking?????

We went trick or treating every year. I don’t remember ever going with friends or an adult. Susan and I were allowed to go out into the neighborhood alone. There was one house on our street that we were scared to death of. In those days, there was almost always a house like that on any street in the city. This house was older than the rest of the houses on the street and it was occupied by an older person, who liked to eat children, or so we had been told. The yard had a chainlink fence around it and all the hedges and plants were overgrown. Truly, a Boo Radley house. I would run whenever I had to pass it or walk on the other side of the street. On Halloween the porch light was on, a signal that they were giving out candy or luring kids in to eat them for dinner. I remember only going there once and thinking that the lady who answered the door was kind, not at all what I was expecting. Plus, she had candy.

As an adult Halloween has not ever been my favorite holiday. It involved figuring out and making costumes for my children. I was opposed to store bought costumes back then. I was always sewing through the night on Halloween Eve. Then always spending too much on candy. I took my children to just enough houses to get the amount of candy that I would let them eat that night. Then we would go home and they all sat at the table and traded candy and ate everything. Finally, I would make sure they had brushed their teeth really good and that was it. As they got older they went with friends and took pillow cases to hold their candy.


When Andrew was in 7th grade we worried about how much candy he was going to collect with his friends. Rick made a deal with him to pay him so much per pound. When he came home he weighed his candy and collected a fairly hefty sum. He and his friends had covered most of the town of Clayton, CA. (That has to be one of the creepiest clowns I have ever seen, John Hulme or David Neiman?)

Now as a grandmother I love seeing the costumes my grandchildren choose and love giving out candy and going trick or treating with them.

The Aunts

When I was young I had two aunts in my life on a very regular basis. I saw them for sure every Tuesday night for dinner and every Saturday for shopping. Neither of the aunts were married and neither drove a car. Arvilla was my grandmother’s sister and Hilma was my grandmother’s aunt. So they we my great aunt and my great great aunt. Since I spent every Tuesday and Saturday with my grandma we also spent part of that time with them.

Hilma Ekstrand

Hilma Ekstrand

Hilma was very eccentric. In the 1960’s she stood out in her leopard prints and her big hats. She worked at Auerbach’s department store on the corner of State Street and Broadway in Salt Lake City. One of the perks of her working there was watching the Christmas parade from the store windows. Hilma’s day off was Tuesday and so she cooked. She would ride the bus up to Wainwright Bakery for roll dough and then shop at Buyrite Grocery for whatever she felt like cooking that night. Always, the best things for dinner were her rolls. Hilma was not a good cook. One night she decided to cook rabbit. I had heard the aunts and grandma talking about it in the kitchen so I refused to eat it. They told Susan it was chicken and she ate it. Later, when grandma told her it was rabbit she vomited all over me and the bed. I guess that’s what I deserved for not telling her she was eating a bunny, before she ate it.

Whenever, my dad told us to try a new food at home and we said we didn’t like it. He would say, “You’ve never tried it.” Our reply was always, “Yes, we have! We tried it at Hilma’s!” Amazingly, it worked every time.

We drank a lot of iced tea at Hilma’s we put at least two tablespoons of sugar in it and a lot of lemon juice. It was more like a little tea with our lemonade. (Disclaimer-No one in my family attended church when I was young and no one was teaching me about the Word of Wisdom). Hilma loved to garden and back then we thought her back yard was huge and amazing. She had a fish pond, lots of white wrought iron chairs and benches to sit on, and lots of paving stone paths to follow. She also had several pink flamingos way before they were cool. Susan and I loved playing back there during the summer months and dinner was always outside enhanced by the smell of citronella candles to keep the mosquitoes away.

At Christmas, because she was Swedish she always planned a smorgasbord. The dining room table was laden with cold cuts, deviled eggs, rolls, pickles, boiled shrimp and a variety of sweets. Mom and grandma always warned us away from anything but the sweets since Hilma kept this spread out all day long. That way she was prepared in case anyone dropped by with Christmas greetings and all the relatives did come. My favorite Christmas sweets then were the Mexican Wedding cookies coated in powdered sugar. They were messy, but yummy.

I heard that Hilma had a beau once. I’m not sure why she never married.

Arvilla Kathleen Brown

Arvilla Kathleen Brown

Arvilla lived with Hilma in my great grandparents house. Although the house had two bedrooms, they chose to sleep in twin beds in the same room for as long as I can remember. They both had quite a collection of dolls and stuffed animals that they arranged every morning and took off every night.

Arvilla worked as a librarian at West High School. She wore her long waved auburn hair back in tight bun. She was very stern. I both admired her and feared her. She believed that children should be seen and not heard. I adhered to that whenever I was at her house except when I was in the backyard. Susan and I spent as much time as we could outside. From time to time she would read us a new book. The one I have always remembered was, “Patty’s Moon.” It was about a girl and the crescent moon. Whenever Susan and I saw a crescent moon we would say, “Oh look! It’s Patty’s Moon!

Every Saturday we would drive up to the east side of Auerbach’s to pick Hilma up from work. Then we would go and get Arvilla at home. Grandma took them shopping every week and every week she bribed us with a Little Golden Book if we were good. You must understand that this was excessive shopping for two little children. We spent every Saturday morning shopping with grandma and every Saturday evening shopping with the aunts. We survived, had quite a collection of Golden Books and I don’t ever remember getting in trouble.

When I was ten and Susan was nine Arvilla decided to take us on a trip to Disneyland. We were part of a group tour that took the train. It was fun and we made some new friends. Arvilla is credited with bringing any culture and refinement I possess into my life. She took us to concerts, plays and the ballet. Each of these events usually involved a new dress made by my grandmother and lunch before or after the concert at a nice restaurant, usually the Hotel Utah.

The aunts were quirky and eccentric, but I think they loved us and we loved them.

Decorations and Ice Cream #8minutememoir


The only holidays that I remember decorating for when I was growing were Valentines day and Christmas. I think mom decorated for Valentines day because it was easy to stick the paper hearts and cherubs in the windows and they were probably inexpensive, too. I think it also brightened up the drab winter. Really, I like to believe that she decorated because my birthday was in February. I loved cakes from Mrs. Backer’s Bakery on South Temple Street in Salt Lake and I often had one. I think my most favorite was the ice cream from Snelgrove’s. It was vanilla ice cream shaped like a large brick and some how they had magically put a cherry ice cream heart down the center. This ice cream was not meant to be scooped, it was meant to be sliced so that you could see the heart. When it wasn’t February, my favorite Snelgrove flavor was Canadian Vanilla.

Christmas was a different story. My mom liked decorating a beautiful tree. We didn’t have a lot of money and so she bought the tree and we used the large multicolored lights. One year she was tired of the old ornaments that her mother had given her. The very old ornaments that I would cherish if I had them today. She hung them up by their little hooks on the clothesline in our basement. Then she spray painted them all shiny black. Really! Black ornaments on a Christmas tree. She loved that tree, but as a child I thought it was awful.

She got a new favorite when we moved to Bountiful. She had become friends with some designers and they offered to decorate a tree for her. It was flocked white so it looked like it was covered in snow. The ornaments were birds, fans, bunches of grapes… really who puts bunches of plastic grapes on the Christmas tree. She refused to take it down until my dad borrowed the Polaroid camera from work to take a photo for her so she could recreate it every year. He refused, he hated that tree. She stood firm and our tree was still standing in the living room in February. Susan or I closed the drapes because we both knew that the absolute longest a tree should be up is the first week of January. We were embarrassed. It was a live tree that was being held together by the flocking. When large chunks of the flock filled with pine needles started to fall off she finally took it down, just before February ended.

Messes #8minutememoir

Most of the time I don’t like messes. When I had children in my house I tolerated them to a degree. It was okay to play and have a mess, but around 5:00pm things needed to get picked up in the living room and family room. I was less concerned about messes in bedrooms and sometimes those would go on for days and sometimes weeks. Then I would inform the offenders that they better take care of the mess or I would and then their things would disappear.

I often found myself invading a room armed with black trash bags that I would load up with things that I didn’t think would be missed. Then I’d haul them up to the attic. Then the child would ask where his/her stuff was, well actually this never happened to the girls or James. Actually, it only ever happened to Andrew and Alex. My response was always the same, “Tell me what you are missing and maybe I’ll get it for you.” They could never tell me what was missing. Sometimes, I’d clean up their mess and return some of the toys confiscated on my previous invasion.

One night, when I went to tuck Andrew and Alex in their entire floor was covered with “stuff.” I stopped at the door and informed them that they would have to come to the door for a good night kiss. I told them I could be injured trying to get to their bed. They were sad, but came to the door for a kiss. The next night they had put away enough of the mess that there was a little path to the bed. Over the week they gradually got the mess cleaned up.

They just didn’t seem to be able to figure out where to begin when they had a huge mess. I would sit on the bed and give them some direction…put all the books away, now pick up the dirty clothes, put the GI Joe guys in the container, pick up all the Legos…Sometimes I sent Kristina to give them the directions.

James’s room became quite a mess when he was getting ready to apply to universities. He had stacks of papers covering the floor. Me cleaning them up was less than helpful. He couldn’t find anything. His organization looked like a mess to me.

I also make messes and there have been times in my life when you could determine my level of stress by how deep the stuff in the bottom of my closet was. I do better when I have to share a closet with Rick and that has been the case for most of the last 15 years.

I am also a messy baker and cook. I don’t generally clean up as I go and when I am finished the kitchen looks like it has exploded. I do clean up after myself, though. The same is true of sewing. I make an incredible mess when I sew.

Mostly, my house now is devoid of messes and we only experience them periodically, when I cook or sew or the happy, wonderful messes grandchildren make when they visit.

Courtship and Marriage

During my first year as a student at BYU I acquired several missionaries to write to. I enjoyed it and usually sent letters about what I was doing and school and usually something uplifting that I had learned in my religion class. However, these guys were friends. I loved getting their letters and reading about their missionary experiences, but I wanted to be dating and I was not. By the time my second year at BYU rolled around I decided I would stop worrying about dating and focus on school and getting an elementary education degree. Then when one of those missionaries came home, I think there were 7 or 8, maybe he would date me. That plan worked for almost three months.

I really didn’t like physical education classes and walking all the way to the Richard’s PE building on lower campus. It involved way too many stairs and I was way too lazy. So I had only taken one PE class my first year and so I was behind. I decided I better make up for it by taking two my first semester. There were two classes held in the Wilkinson center that would work and I wouldn’t have to climb all those stairs. My options were bowling and social dance (not an option). Being 5’11” I wasn’t excited at the idea of dancing with boys shorter than me. Bowling was a better option, my parents were both good bowlers and I had spent a lot of time in bowling alleys, it should be easy, not so much!

On the first day of class our teacher, assigned a group of girls and group of boys to each lane. Then each week the boys would move to the next lane. I noticed one of the guys right away, he had a great smile. That was all I thought because I was focusing on my grades, remember? So I just bowled and hoped to get a decent grade, bowling is not in my genes. I was not good at it.

The week before Thanksgiving, just short of three months into my resolve, the guy with the smile moved to my lane. His name was Rick and he lived at home just a few blocks from my apartment in Orem. The Monday after Thanksgiving he chased me down after class, coming up behind me and covering my eyes and then asked me for a date on Friday. Our plan was to see a movie with some friends of his and then go back to his house for appetizers. On Wednesday he came to my apartment with a Japanese friend he knew from his mission. He wanted me to go with him to drive his friend around and show him the sights of Utah valley. I don’t really remember where we went besides Allen’s Supersave, the grocery store he worked at. We had cream sodas.

On Friday he picked me up and we went to see “The Way We Were” with Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. After the movie we went to his house and we were served appetizers served by his sister Debra. After that I saw him everyday, he left cards and notes on my car. After our first date he asked me on several more dates that ended on Christmas. We went to a Seals and Crofts concert, a dance at the Berg Mortuary (very weird because I hated mortuaries but I liked being with him), a Christmas Concert at the Tabernacle with his family and mostly just spending time together. He would often come and find me in the library in my favorite place to study, down in the psychology stacks. I worried that he might go away after our last scheduled date. One night he told me that a friend had told him if he wanted to get married he should date a girl who was writing to a missionary. I almost died because I was writing to 7 or so at the time.

I began working on his Christmas gift. I made a huge green Christmas stocking with a red and white gingham cuff with his name in green felt letters and jingle bells along the edge. I don’t remember what was in it, but I bought him a pair of moon boots to wear after skiing and made him a neck tie. He came up to see me in Bountiful on Christmas night. I really liked this guy and did not want him to go away.


He didn’t! I remember being grateful that we didn’t always have to talk, that sometimes it was just great to be together. One fun date was driving to the remote side of Utah Lake and setting up tin cans to shoot at with his .22 rifle. I was much better at shooting than I was at bowling.

One night, probably near the end of January, Rick called and told me that he was coming to get me. He drove up to the Provo Temple and went right up the circular drive to the front doors, (yes, there used to be a circular drive like the one at the Houston temple). As we sat in his car watching the temple patrons come in and out he asked me to marry him. Of course the answer was yes! I was so incredibly happy and so in love with him!

A few weeks later we drove to Salt Lake for a fancy dinner to celebrate my 20th birthday. Before going to the restaurant we stopped at Temple Square and got out to walk around. We stopped and sat on a bench near the Three Witnesses monument. I was completely surprised when Rick reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring box. We were engaged!



I went to the Provo Temple on July 6, 1974 to receive my endowment. On the morning of July 11, 1974 I woke up early in the morning and showered, dressed and drove myself to the Provo Temple. My parents and sister were still asleep when I left home. It was strange to be driving myself to my marriage. Rick was waiting for me with his parents. I remember waiting and waiting for my best friend Shelley Leishman Davies to arrive for our sealing. Finally, the officiator said that we couldn’t wait any longer and the doors closed. She and her husband Bill were waiting outside when we came out. She was in tears, but my heart was so full. Outside my parents and sister were waiting and we took photographs.


We went to a restaurant in Provo for the wedding luncheon. We left from there to start our honeymoon at the Treasure Mountain Inn in Park City, Utah. We had a great time exploring Park City and riding the Gondola to the top and hiking around. The next day we drove back to Salt Lake for our wedding reception at the Lion House.

A Sibling-My Sibling #8minutememoir


I only have one sibling. Growing up I always wished we had more brothers and sisters. Not because I didn’t love my sister, Susan, but just because I thought it would make life more fun. My best friend had six siblings and life at their house was always fun. Susan and I got along most of the time. I remember one summer possibly when I was about twelve our parents decided it would be okay for us to stay home while they worked. The alternatives were going to Gramma’s house or having my mom work the night shift. We thought we could handle being alone.

One day when were supposed to be cleaning our room we got into a fight and started throwing stuff around. Then through the open window we heard Mrs. Hutchinson from downstairs yelling at us to stop the ruckus or she would tell our parents. Both of us were surprised and started making slapping and screaming sounds so she would think we were really hurting each other. We threw more stuff around and she yelled her threats up through our window. We sat on the floor laughing so hard we couldn’t breath. We finally decided to stop faux fighting to give her some peace.

I will never forget another time a few years later. Susan and I had come home on a snowy evening. While we waited for our parents to come home we sat in the darkness of the kitchen watching the snow fall. It was a beautiful scene, no one was out. The world was quiet and white. I think we were scared that our parents wouldn’t make it home. We began to sing Christmas carols. The singing  calmed us and we waited for what seemed like forever before Dad’s truck swung up in the driveway. I think of this night whenever I am somewhere with snow or sometimes when I sing Christmas carols.


Losing Things #8minutememoir

I don’t lose things very often, at least permanently. It usually happens when I am stressed with a million things going on.

When Allyson and James were very young we lived in an apartment in Concord, California. We were fortunate to have a large patio in the back. I could let Allyson and James play out there alone and not worry about them. On Wednesdays we had primary in the late afternoon. One Wednesday i got all of us ready to leave and could not fine my keys anywhere. The key ring was a large key shaped piece of lucite with my name engraved on it, it was not easy to misplace and not see because it was so big. I was getting a little frantic and did not want to be late, I knelt and quick said a pray and while I was praying I saw exactly where my keys were in my mind. I got up walked out to the patio and reached down into the center of a large wooden spool that was there. There were my keys. Allyson had been playing there earlier and must have gotten my keys out of my purse.



Later during that same time in Concord I lost my checkbook. It was no where to be found so I closed the bank account and opened a new one. A few weeks later it was found in an old purse that Ally liked to play with.

I kept my patriarchal blessing in a one of my dresser drawers with other important papers. One day I went to get it and after going through all the papers I couldn’t find it. Over the year I went through that drawer several times and still it was gone. (It wasn’t as easy back then to get a new copy). After we moved to Houston I was organizing the dresser and found it in that very same drawer I had looked for it repeatedly. My only explanation is that Heavenly Father knew I needed it right then.

So maybe I really haven’t lost that many things. Allyson certainly helped two of those times. So those are physical things that I have lost, I am sure there are other things not physical that have been lost—friendships, faith, hope, innocence…I need to write about those, too.

Wild Thing


I was a wild thing as a teenager, not the drinking, smoking, doing drugs kind of wild thing. I just like to have fun and often got into mischief. I had no curfew because my parents knew I would come home when my friends went home and that was usually around 10pm.

Before my friends and I could drive we walked where we wanted to go, sometimes we rode our bikes or found older friends to drive us, but mostly we walked or ran depending on the situation. In ninth grade we liked to toilet paper boys houses. Each of us would bring a pillowcase of toilet paper and off we’d go to wrap some boys house. We often cut through fruit orchards and fields as short cuts or just to stay away from the streets and avoid getting caught.

One night when we were out on bicycles we were crossing an intersection and got hit by a car full of boys we knew. We thought the boys had seen us, my friend was relaxed and laughing when she got hit. When I realized they weren’t stopping I tensed up and hit my brakes flying over the handle bars and hitting the pavement hard. I was pretty banged up and my bike was damaged. My friend rolled up on the hood of the car and wasn’t hurt at all.

When I was a 10th grader I got a car. My grandfather’s 1961 Mercury Comet. My father paid $125 for it. I called it the gutless wonder. It had no pickup and Bountiful, Utah had hills, lots of them. My car crawled up the hills. Oh, how having a car made life so much more fun, even if it was a gutless wonder. The summer after my sophomore year was deemed the summer of Suzie Cream Cheese. My friend Suzie and I got into all kinds of mischief. We decided one summer night that we wanted to throw some water balloons. We filled a box with water balloons and drove around Bountiful and threw them at our friends. One group of boys decided that they were going to get us. Without thinking, I started up a very hilly street on my getaway. Soon they had surrounded me with their cars and motorcycles and then they slowed down. One of them jumped out of the car and opened my hood and pulled an essential wire out before driving off. Without the ability to start my car the only thing we could do is to push until we could turn around and head downhill. As we were coasting the boys came back and threw it out of their car. I got out reinstalled it and we were off.

One night we decided to sleep on the football field. It was a great idea until we actually got there and realized how scary it would be for the two of us to sleep on the field. We loaded up our sleeping bags and went to my house and slept in the back yard. Other times we would turn the lights on the football field and just play frisbee or run around. Everyone knew where the switch was and we knew about how long it would take before the principal would see the lights from his house and come to make us turn them off.

There was quite a rivalry between the two high schools in our town and damage was done to both schools. I never participated in anything that caused property damage. Someone from the rival school came to our school and spray painted “Viewmont Vikings” on the back of the school.

The week before the big football game we got the idea to spray paint school spirit sayings on the circular drive that was in front of our school. We talked to Mr. Perkins our principal about it and we thought he liked the idea. We took that as permission. Several of us went to the store and each of us bought spray paint in school colors. This was on a Thursday night right before the game. We drove up to the school and started painting. There were two seniors from the basketball team at the school watching us. We hadn’t been there too long when we saw the flashing lights of a police car coming up the drive. We tried to get our football player friends to help us flee in their car. The said they wouldn’t run from the police. When the police talked to us and looked at our student IDs he called our principal and we had to wait for him to come to the school. He got there quickly because he lived just two houses down the street across from the school. We realized that he was disappointed in us. We were school leaders, cheerleaders and part of the Pep Club. He punished us by not talking to us for a few days. Finally, he broke the silence by telling us that we were a bunch of hot dogs! PS The basketball players did not call the police, we found out later that it was girl from our class who thought we were from Viewmont.

This post has gotten really long. I did a lot of crazy things as a teenager! There are more stories to tell.

School Lunch #8minutememoir


In elementary school we had two options for lunch; bring your lunch from home—you could only buy milk at school because there was no cafeteria, or walk home for lunch. Most of the time Susan and I would take our lunch to school because we liked the social aspect of eating with our classmates. We ate at our desks in our classroom and then got to go outside to play. I think our teachers just left us alone in the room because they ate in the teachers lounge. I think that’s why Mrs. Allen’s stature of Michelangelo’s, David got broken during lunch…Brian Cutright was goofing off and crashed into it. Going home for lunch usually meant opening a can of chicken noodle or beef with barley soup and making toast. We loved our toast…we buttered it before we toasted it and it was delicious. My dad did accuse us of ruining the toaster.

In junior high I still liked taking my lunch and remember that in 7th grade I ate the same thing everyday, green pepper slices, a white bread with mayo, tomato, cheese and lettuce sandwich and usually some Clover Club potato chips. My friends thought my lunch was disgusting. I really didn’t like the cafeteria food.

At Bountiful High School I liked very few items in the cafeteria. The cafeteria ladies got smart and realized that about half us didn’t want the full meal so they started selling us the things we liked. The brownies, peanut butter cookies with chocolate icing, and their yummy rolls. We didn’t eat that every day only on the days we didn’t go out to lunch. We had an open campus and after we started driving we would always go out. We mostly went to McDonald’s because it was fast. Sometimes, if we had early lunch we would go to the Spudnut Shop for hamburgers and donuts. I ate a lot of hamburgers in high school.



During my early childhood my sister Susan and I spent at least 3 nights each week with our grandmother, Helen Madeline Brown Gren. My mother was not your typical mother in the 1950’s and 1960’s, she worked. Her working was necessary for our family to survive and plus I think she liked it most of the time. The way she and my father avoided paying for childcare was for my father to work days and my my mother to work nights. Our grandmother was our babysitter when they had other things they wanted to do and that was often.

Tuesday nights my dad met with his buddies and worked away on his dragster. We went to Gramma’s. Friday they had their bowling league. Saturday they both worked during the day and at night they partied. Sunday they recovered. We were picked up from Gramma’s when they got up, sometimes it was early, sometimes it was late.

Saturday was the best day at her house. The first thing she asked us when we woke up was what we wanted for breakfast. Some Saturdays we would lay on the couch watching cartoons while she delivered stacks of toast covered with margarine. I loved margarine for some reason, we only ate butter at our house. The toast was made from Hollywood bread, a thinly sliced bread with sesame seeds on the top. Often the toast would be accompanied by her home canned pears or peaches. I liked dipping my toast in the fruit syrup.

Other Saturday’s, Susan and I would go to the Wainwright bakery around the corner and buy a loaf of bread dough. Then Gramma would fry scones and we would douse them in margarine and jam. We would often buy the bakery’s delicious cinnamon knots. Another breakfast we loved was toast with soft boiled eggs, I dipped my toast in the egg.

After eating and watching cartoons for most of the morning we would get ready to go on Gramma’s errands. She worked as a secretary at Rose Park Elementary school during the week so Saturday was errand day. Her errands usually involved grocery shopping, fabric shopping and sometimes a stop at a variety store (think mini-Walmart). Susan and I were good listeners and obedient children and didn’t cause many problems. I do remember getting extremely bored in fabric stores and pushing the bolts of fabric apart so I could sit between them, my legs were so tired. Gramma seemed to take such a long time to decide on fabric. I remember one very long fabric shopping trip when an exasperated Susan exclaimed, “Do we have to go in another ‘terial store!”

After errands were done we would go back to her house and unload her purchases and have an early dinner. Then it was time to pick up the “aunts.” The aunts were Gramma’s sister Arvilla and her aunt Hilma. Neither of them drove and so we would pick Hilma up when she finished work at Auerbach’s department store and then we’d get Arvilla at home. The next couple of hours were a repeat of the morning errands minus the fabric shopping. Gramma didn’t like to shop much when she took the aunts, she was just the driver. Susan and I knew that if we behaved on this trip Gramma or Arvilla would buy us a new Little Golden Book or sometimes we would get some other treat. We were always good. We would drop off the aunts and their packages, they lived together in the house my grandmother grew up in. In the summer one of our favorite treats was a drive to the A & W drive in for a baby root beer or a lemon slush. As an adult I was shocked at how small the baby root beers really were and how I was perfectly content I was with it. I think they were free and Gramma’s root beer was a nickel.

Gramma would often hum songs when we drove home in the car at night. Songs like the Old Rugged Cross, The Red River Valley and most often I Love You Truly. She seemed sad when she hummed. If it wasn’t too late when we got home we would go out on the front porch and watch the Saturday night life go past while she watered the lawn with her hose. If we were lucky her fireman brother Byron, we called him Boogan, and his son-in-law Tommy would go by on their way to or from a fire. They always made sure to sound the siren whenever they went past Gramma’s house. We loved it!

When we were very young we would both sleep in the full bed with Gramma, but as we got bigger she kicked one of us out and made us sleep on the couch. We took turns until I was finally to too tall to sleep on the couch and then Susan had to all the time. I hated sleeping on the couch. In the winter, I could hear the mouse traps snapping and worried that one would crawl on me. In the summer, Gramma left the front door open with the screen door latched, I was worried that some one would come in and get me.

Saturday with Gramma was my favorite day of the week! I am so grateful we got to be with her instead of a babysitter.

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