Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Memories: Guest Post from My Mom

Good Monday morning everyone! Hope everyone's week is off to a great start. Today I am honored to have my mom (@jmstaylor) guest posting once again. I asked my mom and dad to both write about their dads for posts here on the blog. Check out the post from my dad (@jricktaylor) "The King of Smiles" about his dad. I am always honored to have my parents involved on the blog and always enjoy reading the stories they tell.

Today my mom shares with us some memories of her dad. "Granddaddy" as my sister and I called him was a wonderful man, great dad, and awesome Granddad. Beloved husband and family man. We miss him very much, but in some ways, he lives on. Now, my mom, in her own words.

"Memories of My Dad"

My Dad was already 40 years old before I entered this world. I’m told I gave him quite a scare as he drove my mother to the hospital. I was in a hurry to take my first breath, and he just wanted to get us to the hospital in one piece. A kindly policeman led a short motorcade to the ER door, and I arrived 30 minutes later. I’m quite certain it’s not the only time in my life I caused my Dad some anxious moments…

In his younger years, Dad’s nine brothers and sisters nicknamed him Doc because he had such a soft heart and was always bringing home orphaned or sick animals. I think about that now when I recall my first really clear memory of him. I was a very sickly child (the doctors erroneously diagnosed me with cystic fibrosis), and I remember Daddy walking the floors with me at night, holding me up on his shoulder and showing me the brightly colored lights on our old stove that used lighted buttons to indicate the temperature on the stove eye. On Sundays when I was sick, he would stay home with me while my mother took my sisters to church. He would read the funny paper and then cook hamburgers and fries for lunch. Soooo much better than Mickey D’s!

Dad grew up way back in the north Georgia mountains. His mother tried hard to keep seven sons and three daughters under control while his Dad traveled around the southeast, helping to build coal mines. Daddy talked about how, when his father was home, they would be lined up to tell him of any transgressions they had committed while he was away, and then take the punishment from an old leather strap (and no, he didn’t turn out to be a serial killer or a twisted man). His older brother was stoic, determined not to cry no matter how hard the licks were. Daddy was just the opposite – he would cry and beg for mercy before my grandfather ever touched him. Both older brothers would take up for the next youngest brother, who was of frail health, and would therefore receive a portion of his punishment as well. But that’s my Dad, always taking care of somebody else…

World War II took Dad away from the mountains he loved, and offered him adventures in faraway lands that he had previously only dreamed about. He married my mother while he was home on leave from the war. It was never easy to get Daddy to talk about the war, but he made at least one good friend with whom he corresponded until he died. I have pictures of Daddy and his friends, and a dog they adopted, and a young African boy that liked to hang around their camp. After the war, Daddy started looking for ways to support
his young family, which consisted at the time of my mom and two older sisters. Farming was his love, but not a consistent source of income with which to raise a family. He tried his hand at an auto manufacturer in Ohio, but none of the family was happy up north.

Finally, in the early 50s, representatives of the federal government came to the mountains to recruit workers to help build the “bomb plant” that would later be known as Savannah River Site. Dad moved the family to South Carolina, and I was born a few years later. Daddy’s days consisted of working a day shift at the plant, eating supper, and changing into gardening clothes. He might not have been a farmer, but he always had a productive garden. His gardens yielded plenty of vegetables for us to can and freeze to carry us over through the winter. He also made time to take care of Mama’s pride, her flower gardens.

One of my best friends from elementary school nicknamed Daddy “Tarzan”. She didn’t have a dad at home, and she loved it when Daddy would come around the corner of the house from the garden, singing at the top of his lungs. He might not know all the words, but he could always make some up if he needed to!

One of my fondest memories of Daddy from my teenage years was created at a church revival. I was 16 or 17, full of angst and confusion, and when the preacher gave the altar call, I went to the front of the church, crying my eyes out. As I knelt in front of the altar, Daddy came up, sat down beside me, and wrapped his arms around me. He begged me to tell him what was wrong. I couldn’t, of course, partly because teenage girls don’t tell their dads everything, and partly because I wasn’t absolutely sure I knew what the
problem was myself! But just feeling his arms around me was enough. I was loved, and that was all I needed.

Another memory I love is from the “Big Blizzard of 1973”. I was at school when the snow started, and by the time I got home on the bus it was starting to pile up pretty good. We ended up with something like 18 inches, more than most of us had ever seen before! South Carolina came to a standstill, much to the delight of those of us who were out of school for a week! We lived very close to two TV towers, which, at that time, still were actually manned by a person and not a computer. One night Daddy decided we would walk up to the closest tower and visit with the guy running it. I think all the tubes and dials reminded him of his days as a radio guy in World War II. At any rate, we started on our hike, and Daddy had to take steps and let me step in the holes he left in the snow. We spent time with the guy at the tower, and on the way home, we tracked a rabbit through the snow until he went under a fence. I loved every minute of it. In later years, any time it
would snow at my house, I would call him to tell him we had snow and he would remindme of our adventures in ’73. Such precious memories now…

After I married and moved away, my children always looked forward to trips to Granddaddy & Grandmama’s house. Daddy was always ready to drop everything to play with them. He had started a tradition with my sister’s children of pushing them around the yard in a wheelbarrow, and he continued the fun rides with my children. Better than a State Fair ride! When we would leave, he would run beside the car on the driveway until we reached the road, waving and making faces. He was everything a kid needed in a

How I wish my Daddy had lived long enough to see my grandchildren! He would marvel at the way my grandson looks just like my son who looks just like my Dad. (The Scroggs men have a certain, unusual head shape - my grandson’s pediatrician even took note of it!) He would love my oldest granddaughter’s curly hair and funny giggle, and the youngest granddaughter’s drive to keep up with the other two. Daddy lives on in me and in my children and grandchildren, to be sure. In this way he lives on forever. Not just with his Father
 in heaven, but with his family on Earth.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

I love this post! What a sweet way to record your family memories. Your mother is a wonderful writer. Keep up the good work!

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