Two Branches From the Crazie Tree
Nellie and Walter were city folk and lived in Kansas City. Grandmother, who worked as a legal secretary well into her eighties, was a tiny tyrant. She was written up in the newspaper because, when a purse snatcher tried to grab her pocketbook, she refused to let go and beat him with her umbrella. I know, I know. She looks so sweet. That’s what everyone said when they met her. Here’s just a small dose of her horribleness. When Mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Grandmother sent a Get Well card with the following note. “At least now you’ll be able to lose those extra pounds.”
Grandfather was a tall, quiet man. He was the personal driver and property manager for a wealthy businessman. When I think of Grandfather, I picture him sitting with his knees to his chest in the too-small chair assigned to him by Grandmother , smoking a cigarette and nursing one of his bourbon and waters (without the water). He taught me the importance of learning things the hard way. He loved to play Monopoly and it didn’t matter if you were five or fifty, if he could bankrupt you he would because that’s how the game was played.
Ben and Irma, were farmers who lived in Tecumseh.
Grandma Irma was my dream grandma–literally. She died before I was born, and from what I’ve heard, she would have been someone who smelled of fresh-baked cookies and always ready to wrap me in a hug. I miss her.
Grandpa Ben never said more than a dozen words to me, yet I remember him wiping away tears at the news of a new grandchild arriving. He lived in a crumbling hundred-year-old stone house just a quarter mile from us. He wasn’t a very committed farmer, as every day after dinner (lunch to you city folk) he’d change out of his overalls, get cleaned up and drive to town to play pool for the afternoon. In his eighties, while scrutinizing a neighboring field, he drove his car into the ditch. Not one to miss his afternoon of billiards, he walked the half mile home, started up a tractor, pulled his car from the ditch, returned the tractor and walked the half mile back to his car. He lived well into his nineties and at his funeral a dozen sharply dressed men from his pool hall told us all about a “Benny” we’d never known.
My parents, Lewie and Ginger, had two separate wedding receptions, one upstairs, because Dad’s family was filled with senior officials from the Kansas Dry Forces. And one downstairs because Mom’s family was filled with people who drank massive quantities of bourbon and water (only without the water.)
Their honeymoon didn’t go so well. Just to say the word “Ozarks” caused sparks to shoot from her eyes. Turns out, humidity transformed Mom into the Wicked Witch of the Plains. The trip was so bad, Mom never stepped foot in the Ozarks again.
But, they managed to survive the honeymoon and produce this crazie *clan.
*Plus one more.
Tune in next week as we explore the lives of Lewie and Ginger and their Crazie Clan.