return to A Short Bio

We "adopted" an
Extended Family

When I was a kid
   - The grandparents had pretty much died off
   - My father, the last kid, married after "getting established"
   - My father's siblings had died or were far away.
   - My mother's sister and mother were 2,000 miles away

 So we "adopted" "Grandma King"
      who had "taken in" my father to her family
      while he was in high school in Stillwater -
            a "city" of 7,000 people.
      Grandma King had had her share of family sadness
         - had lost a son aged 21 who my father knew well
         - was now a widow
         - but was cheerful, 
              played the piano while singing favorite songs 
  And we had "Uncle Sam", 
      a fat taxi driver in a larger nearby city.
      He had been a high school classmate of my mother.
      He always brought un-boxed presents, 
          that father said were probably  
          purchased from thieves :-|

When I was growing up there was a family
    which was not doing so well -
I remember the father, Mr. Cook, was trying to
   do a watch repair business from his home.
   I don't remember a mother -
 The home exterior was weathered wood,
    like never had been painted?

Anyway, Warren Cook came to live with us for a year or so.
   Warren was bright and pleasant.
       maybe 3 years older than I was -
 Some years after Warren left,
   while my sister and I were still in high school -
     there was a knock on the door.
  There was Warren, introducing us to his fiancée.
We hadn't seen him in years,
    and were very happy for him.
He had a job he liked, and they planned to live
    in a town about 20 miles from us.

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

And rural folks visit a little differently from city folks

Even though we lived in "the city" (of 7 thousand)
   my mother and father had grown up on farms
        (and had gone to college).
However - come a Saturday, we might go visiting
   farmers father knew.
    (My mother's family home was 
       50 miles away and now a shopping center :-((
    50 miles through two large cities,
       before expressways, was several hours. )
If the farm family didn't have a phone,
    we would just drive up and see if this was a good time -
    if not - no embarrassment for anyone - glad you thought of us -
If the farm family did have a phone (always a "party line")
    we would call to  see how things were going -

They were almost "aunts" and "uncles",
    and the kids almost "cousins" -

It took me a while to understand that city folks
   are not eager for drop-in or self-invited "guests".