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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Great Grandpa Pulford

Of my great grandies Grandpa Pulford was my favorite because he talked to me. He told me about his childhood in England when he’d sit on the pier waiting for his father to come home. My Great great Grandfather was a seaman aboard a sailing vessel and his coming home was always a joyous time for little Thomas. He’d bring presents from the “New World” and tell them all about that magical place.

One day he took the whole family on the ship across the ocean from England to the land of America. The voyage was rough but they stayed a while in Connecticut and then headed west where he got a homestead in Minnesota from the government and began to work the land. My Great Grandpa Pulford was only eight then but when he got older he learned how to cut down trees and pull out the stumps with oxen. He had a team of six oxen and it became his business to do this for others too.

He also used his oxen to haul supplies to and from La Crosse, Wisconsin for people. Then he married Liza Reese and they began to have a family. They lived in Wykoff Minnesota. My Grandma Hahn was one of his daughters. I remember her very well. She was a Methodist and was my Sunday School teacher. I learned the books of the Bible from Grandma Hahn and read the New Testament.

We’d go to special holiday gatherings at the Pulfords where my Aunt Matie lived with Great Grandpa and Grandma Pulford in their old age. I don’t remember much about Great Grandma Eliza. Only when we came and left did I get close to her and give her an obligatory kiss. The rest of the time she was busy talking with the women in the family.

Great Grandpa Pulford would receive White Owl cigars from the men in the family and I don’t remember him without a cigar in his hand smoking it gently. After a while the menfolk would go off by themselves and talk leaving him alone. He’d sit staring into space because he was blind and I’d go over to stand beside him. He’d push his footstool over my way and invite me to sit down on it. He seemed so happy to have my company and would tell me about his childhood and their coming to the New World after he’d asked me about myself. “How old are you now, Joycie?”and what grade in school are you?”

 I learned later that his mother had met his father aboard one of the sailing ships belonging to her father when she was on a voyage with her mother. They were secretly married by the Captain of the ship much to the displeasure of her parents when they found it out. When she would not hear of getting divorced or having the marriage annulled they threatened to disown her and she would not receive any inheritance. This didn’t change her mind and she left home to live with her husband. They had several children. Grandpa Pulford was their youngest boy.

He told me about the time he ran away from home to join the Union Army during the Civil War. He had not gotten far however before a neighbor picked him up in his wagon and talked him out of it. “You are leaving you mother when she and your father need you

so much?” His older brothers had all gone to war and there was no one to help the father at home but him. The neighbor then turned the wagon around and took him home.

Grandpa Pulford always looked so nice at these family gatherings. He wore high buttoned shoes, a suit with a vest, a white shirt and bow tie. His hair and beard were white and always well combed.I loved him and always sat beside him watching him look out into space and puff on his cigar. He passed away sometime when I was still quite young and I missed him so much. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Thank You, Honey

I’m a lucky mom. I’ve had my loving, willing daughter beside me for some time now. I’d reached the point where I thought it was nearly over for me on this earth. But my daughter, Robin, jumped to my rescue, making things easier for me. I gave her my car in exchange for her driving me wherever I need to go.She helped me find local transportation in a GoGo. I bought a new recliner chair, a walker, and settled down to what seemed the inevitable, a gradual giving in to my demise.

But it didn’t happen and I’m still plugging along with her help. She stays with me round the clock one day and leaves the next day to be with her significant other. She puts on my socks, helps me with sleeves, takes me everywhere she goes on my days and says she loves the life style this has brought her. Every little thing she does for me I say, “Thank you, Honey.” It seems to me that I say it a thousand times a day. 

So is getting older still getting better now? Well. I’m not able to do everything I used to do. Sometimes I need help getting up and out of a chair. I can’t put on my socks or shoes by myself. But everything I can’t do Robin will do for me. She’s cheerful and fun to be with and so in many ways life is getting better. I have little or no pain and am still of a sound mind. But because of my limitations I wonder if others think I’m getting better. I think not. That’s why I haven’t written in my blog for some time. But I’ve changed my mind about my demise. I don’t think it will come soon. I try not to think about that at all.

I’ve moved  to a larger place at The Willows and moving is never easy but there again Robin has done most of the work. Not only that, she has taken over the care of baby Julian, her grandchild, Katie’s child, full time. He is a sweetheart and it’s fun for me to see him so much, He is now nearly five months old and has his own bedroom here, but soon his Auntie Erin and her partner, Rachel, will adopt him. They live in Oakland, CA so we won’t be seeing him very often. But we’re all happy he will have a good home and upbringing. Katie isn’t able to do it but she’s happy to see her sister take over so he can stay in the family.

As for me, I hope to keep going for a while yet so my blogs will be be going along too. It’s a strange feeling for me to have passed my 90th birthday. Getting older is getting better still, I think, but it’s different. I have a lot of things to do like writing all I know about my ancestors for the kids. You may get in on these chapters too. 

In a movie we saw recently about older people going to a hotel in India to spend their final years one of them says, “Getting older is not for sissies.” I’m finding this out and I expect most of my readers will too. The hardest part is getting better the older we get.