Family history has always interested me. I grew up in a family where my parents and grandparents told us stories about their childhoods. I’ll admit there have been times when I’ve thought, If she tells that one more time…but now that my grandparents have passed away and my parents are getting older, I worry that I’ll forget those stories. I also find that I’m one of those people that tell the same story over and over again to my kids. I know it drives them crazy, like it once did me, but I’m purposely repeating them in the hopes that maybe, just maybe they’ll have insight to their old Mom’s life.
My dad, Paul, wanting to compile some of his stories, wrote out a few from his life, and I typed them for him. I submitted them to a magazine called Storyteller on his behalf a few years back, but as far as I know, nothing ever came from it. In any event, I ran across some of his old stories, and I thought I’d have him be a guest blogger today.
Thanks, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, for sharing your stories with me!
It was the fall of 1966 when Mom and Dad sold the family home on Natural Bridge Road, in St. Louis, Missouri. Their house was located across the street from the University of Missouri-St. Louis (then known as UMSL), which was expanding and wanted to turn it into a dormitory. The increased traffic had become unbearable during rush hour, and Mom and Dad decided to have their dream home built at Champ Village, near Bridgeton, Missouri.
Mom and Dad’s new home wasn’t finished yet, so they moved in with my grandmother. My younger brother, Richard, who attended UMSL, went to live with my Aunt Evaline and Uncle Arnold, who lived in nearby Bel-Nor. Our younger brother, Russell, went to college in Fulton, Missouri, and came in on the weekends. Though I had recently gotten married and moved out, seeing the house sold felt like the end of an era.
Mom and Dad had put all of their furniture into storage, except for the dining room set, which they’d sold. On the Saturday before the big move, Mom had asked Russell to stay at the house to meet with the people who had bought the dining room set. Richard decided to come over from Aunt Evaline’s house, and I joined him in keeping Russell company.
“So, Mom sold the dining room set.” Richard said.
“Yes,” Russell replied. “I guess it didn’t fit in with the décor on the new house.”
We all broke out into laughter. About a year earlier they had gotten into a wrestling match in, of all places, the dining room. One of the dining room chairs got broken in the process. Instantly, the fighting had stopped so they could ponder their next move. Together Richard and Russell came up with a simple, but brilliant idea. They would glue the chair back together with Elmer’s Glue.
It was early in the morning. They hoped the glue would set by evening and for good reason. Pastor Press and his wife were coming for dinner that night. They got the chair glued together just in time as Mom returned from her appointment at the Beauty Salon.
That evening, Richard and Russell tried to place the chair in such a position that either one of them would sit on it. As luck would have it, somehow Mrs. Press sat on the chair. Fate was on their side—Mrs. Press was a slim, petite lady. They were both on pins and needles until the meal was over and they retired to the living room. If Mom had noticed how little they’d eaten, she didn’t say anything. If the Elmer’s glue company needed a testimonial of how good their glue was, my brothers could have given them one.
At last, a moving van and car pulled up to the side of the house, bringing us back to the present. A young couple got out and came to the door. The wife was eager to show her husband her treasure.
“Darling, don’t you think this set is beautiful?”
“It looks like it’s brand new,” was his comment. We brothers quickly hid our smiles. With that said, two husky men loaded the set into a moving van. With the dining room set gone, a piece of family history went with it.
With the dining room set gone, Russell and asked Richard, “Do you think we should tell Mom about the chair?”
Richard thought for a minute, then said, “What Mom doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”