Thursday, December 11, 2008

Going to the Grandparents for Christmas

This is all 11 of the grandkids taken around 1967

We used to travel to my Mother's hometown for Christmas. She and her only sister grew up in Jewell, Kansas. My Aunt and Uncle had 7 children, and our family had 4 children. When we all met up at the Grandparents home that would make a grand total of 17 people! My Grandparents had a nice fairly large home with a full basement which they had set up enough beds for all of us cousins to sleep. All the grown-ups would stay up stairs. This led to many a fun-fest for us kids, we only got to see each other maybe twice a year so when we did get together it was pretty wild!

Grandmother Palmer reading a night time story. Notice the porch swing on the right.

There were many things to do in that basement. We had an old trunk full of old clothing, dresses, furs, hats and such that we could dress up and have fashion shows. We had a box of all sorts of toys, some homemade and some store brought, for others to play with. There were all sorts of nooks and crannies that we could hide out in during a game of hide and seek. There was also a vast library of Little Golden Books purchased for the younger kids, and many old books (history, reference, and encyclopedias) my Grandfather had collected if we wanted to read. There was even an old record player with mostly the old 33 or 78 records. We even had an old porch swing hung in the basement for us to swing on! When it was time to sleep my Grandmother would always sit in a rocker and wait for us to settle down and go to sleep. There was no talking allowed or you might hear your name and a shuss. To this day I can hear the creaking as she rocked! Another thing I remember is that for quite a long time there was only one bathroom if that house and it was upstairs. Can you imagine, all those folks and one bathroom!

An early family picture. My folks on the left, Grandparents sitting, and then Aunt and Uncle on the right

My Grandparents were pretty old fashioned and expected us to be little gentlemen and ladies while we were there, you didn't talk back and you followed orders or you might get that stern look that only grandparents can get away with. They were really wonderful loving people that had a very high standing in their community so you couldn't act up while in town either. If you did, someone would be watching and of course parents would be told and then your name was mud.

This is inside the Jewell County Rebpulican office

My Grandfather, Everett was the Editor/Owner of the Jewell County Republican Newspaper. He had followed in the footsteps of his father, W. C. Palmer in that respect, the Palmer family owned the paper from 1870 through 1965. I can remember going to the newspaper office to watch him work, which was very interesting indeed. They use the old Linotype press to publish a weekly paper and it was truly a family affair, my Grandfather's brother, Randy was the guy that set up blocks of type in the proper layout for the paper. My Aunt tells me he could read that stuff when it was upside down and backwards. You could always find your name in the local section as the grand-kids being in town was always news to the town people. I always felt just a little famous when I was there because everyone always knew who we were and would speak to us.

My Grandmother was bookkeeper, homemaker, event coordinator of the family and she always had something fun and interesting set up for us to do. She was an excellent cook and put on some wonderful dinners for us all. Always setting the dining table with tablecloth, silver and formal dishes for us to use. Of course, us kids were required to help out in some way, doing the silverware, delivering food dishes to the table, or more likely peeling potatoes or snapping beans. Some of the older kids were required to wash dishes after dinner too. None of us minded these chores because it was just something that had to be done and it was such a treat to all be together.
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