Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Grandpa, Tell Me About the Good Old Days...


Today is my grandfather's birthday. He would be 87 or 88...I can't remember for sure...but I think 87. I miss him lots and lots. He and a cousin of mine (who was 13 at the time) were both killed in a car accident when my son was almost two months old. Well....Nolan (my cousin) was killed instantly. My grandfather lived another two days and then died. I miss him. So much I miss him.

The discrepancy in his actual birth year comes from when he was a young man. He lied about his age so that he could join the military. World War 2 was raging and he wasn't quite old enough. So he fudged about the year of his birth to make himself older. To the day he died he would never really tell anyone...but I believe his actual birth date was in 1921. Actually, till the day he died he swore up and down that he was 28. ;)

He used to work in the coal mines as a young man. Later in life he owned a GREAT BIG house in a little town in Southern Illinois called Carrier Mills. I lived there for a big part of my very young years. One of those towns that if you blinked you would miss it. The house was huge....had apartments in it. It was enormous. I remember walking in and Papa's place was on the main floor and then he rented out the upstairs units. I think there was maybe two apartments on each on each side. It had a gorgeous staircase in it right when you walked in the front doors. HUGE yard. There was a well in the yard that my mom threw kittens down one time. She HATES cats. I think she was all of 7 lol!

Next door to Papa's house there was a funeral home. Later he sold the house and property to the funeral home. He moved out to the country, about ten miles out. There were dogs and turkeys all over the place. He always had about four or five cars he was working on. He would always sit on his porch in a pair of trousers, wife beater t-shirt, ball cap on crooked. Suspenders, brown houseshoes. Had a cigar more often that not. Would always go into the house to watch his "programs" (soap operas lol!) then come back outside if it was hot. We would go out to see him, and he would always say, "You hungry? Well go make you a bologny sandwich! Grab ya a sodee! We can always go to town if you don't want that!"

Papa LOVED to rummage sale. Had to go to his "sales" every weekend. His ring finger on his left hand was missing, down to the knuckle. He lost it in a coal mining accident when he was younger. He would always tell us kids that we (whoever happened to be sitting on his lap at the moment) pulled it off, his blue eyes twinkling. We all KNEW how it was gone, but we loved to play that game with him.

Papa LOVED to fish. That was his true passion, I think. Fishing. He would go as often as he could. He would always come back and tell us about the big huge fish that got away. That big huge fish got away EVERY time.

He could also be very stern. He was definitely a disciplinarian. I can remember one time I got in trouble. I can't remember what I did, but it was bad because PAPA told me to go pick my switch. In the South, when I was a kid, that was the method a punishment if it was REALLY bad. Getting a whipping with a switch. If that was tried now....WHOOOWEEE! Dept. of Family and Children's Services would be all over that. (Maybe that's what's wrong with a lot of the kids discipline....) Anyway, I was told to go pick my switch. The thinner the switch the more it hurt. Well, according to family lore (I don't remember this but there were apparently lots of witnesses and they all tell the same story) I went outside to pick my switch. We were always told to go "pick our switch". It was bad because we knew that if found a switch that was too thick we could get in trouble and too thin it would hurt really bad. That was the worst part...picking the right one. So I come back in with this big huge tree branch dragging behind me...a tree limb that had fallen off the tree. That was my switch. I guess I knew it wouldn't hurt...I could barely (apparently) drag it so I knew Papa wouldn't be able to use it. I guess that made him even madder lol! So he goes to get one and I got it worse. I don't think I was able to sit for a week lol!

Papa didn't discipline his grandchildren very often. Hardly never. He usually left that up to our moms and dads. But if Papa came after better just sit still and take your punishment cause if you ran he shore as heck would catch up to you.

I wish I could show you a picture of him. I have some somewhere and of course I can't find them right now. He was a very handsome man when he was younger. Very good looking. As he got older he still had the same twinkle in his eyes. I miss him so much.

Hubert Nolen Malone
June 4, 1921-October 30, 2000

(Yes, my son is named after him. In my mind one of the highest honors you can give someone to show your love is to name someone after them. My cousin that passed away was named after him as well.)

3 Totally cool people said::

Lindsay Spencer said...

Neat stories.

Jenn -- said...

Sweet tribute. Hope to see you all soon.

Jen said...

I loved reading about your Grandpa. He reminds me of my own. I miss him too. :(