When I was three years old, my mother worked at the Estee Lauder counter downtown at Davison’s. In the morning I went to daycare. In the afternoon, Granddaddy would pick me up and take me back to his house until it was time to go get Grandmama from work at Chicopee. The back door was always open. So everyday I would run in, swinging wide and letting slam the screen door, scoop up the bottle of chocolate milk my grandfather had left on the table for me, and jump on the sofa, laying down to drink saying, “I am so tired!”
Granddaddy had a wonderful garden every year. He grew peppers, okra, beans, peas, corn, several varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers for pickling. We had a sliced, salted tomato both at dinner and supper all summer. For supper, Grandmama would get a big bowl of snap beans and I would help snap them and pull the strings. We’d either sit outside on the back patio area or inside on the sofa together and work quietly. For years of my life that was a summer afternoon.
We would leave early to pick Grandmama up. Granddaddy would park on the hill facing the building so we could see everyone walk out at quitting time. Sometimes we’d get out of the car and walk around a little bit because we’d get bored waiting. Grandmama would bring me a lemon/lime from the drink machine. It came in an opaque plastic cup. I loved drinking it and then crunching the tiny ice pebbles, still sweet from the soda. On other days, we’d stop at the Dairy Queen and I’d get a chocolate-dipped cone or those lime sherbets they used to sell in the shape of a star that I can’t remember the name of.