Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dream Land Part 1: Grandma and Papa's House

Part 1 of 3.

The little house was built in the 1950s as part of a planned neighborhood. I don't really know if my grandparents were the first ones to live there, but the house was less than four years old when they moved in. Grandma and Papa. That's what we always called them. And that little house was Grandma and Papa's house. It was truly a Dream Land for us grandchildren.

It was alway a treat to go there. Grandma and Papa always made us welcome. I don't remember spending the night there a lot. The small house had two bedrooms, so there wasn't a lot of room for the grandchildren to stay over. Still, just being there was a dream.

Christmas Eve was always spent at Grandma and Papa's house. We got to open a present that night, and we went home all excited about what we got and what we dreamed we'd get the next morning.

Birthdays were always special at Grandma and Papa's house. We always got a card and a dollar for every year of our age. In the 1960s, getting seven dollars for being seven years old was a treat.

Grandma and Papa had a little black and white TV when I was young. When we were there, we got to see the stuff they watched. Papa always watched the six o'clock news from channel 3 in Savannah: Dateline Savannah had the news, Cap'n Sandy gave the weather, and then there was sports. And, on weekends, there was Lawrence Welk (hated that), Porter Wagoner (hated it, except for Spec Rhodes), and the other stuff that old people watched.

In late 1967, my great-grandmother (Grandma's mother, who we all called "Ma") moved in part time. My great-grandfather (he was called "Pa") died that Autumn, and Ma had to move out of the log cabin they had leased since the 1930s. She spent a couple of weeks at a time at each of her three daughters' places. When she was a Grandma and Papa's, she'd sit in a rocking chair with a can of snuff in her hand and watch Georgia Championship Wrestling.

Grandma and Papa were the first people I knew to get cable. Of course, when cable TV first came available there, it was the three stations in Savannah and three main ones from Jacksonville (yeah, duplicate network programming). Other than the six network channels (two of each major network) and a couple of PBS channels, there was a channel that showed the weather -- actually, a camera rotating between a thermometer, a barometer, and a clock -- and not much else. It was different. But, since it was at Grandma and Papa's, it was special.

They got a new color TV, we grew up, but always went to Grandma and Papa's when we could. Ma died in 1976, and it went back to Grandma and Papa's house, though we had always called it that.

Papa's health problems and heart condition caught up with him in 1979. After watching the Independence Day fireworks, he went to bed happy, and never woke up. He went to Dream Land, and stayed. And the little house became Grandma's House.

[Next: Dream Land Part 2: Grandma's House]


  1. Did the old black and white TV develop a squeal like my grandparent's did?

  2. Similar experience here with my Gran and Grampa. They lived out in the boonies - but today, you wouldn't recognize the area. Grampa had a green thumb and Gran (100% Irish) could cook like God. How I loved them both.

  3. CCO: No, theirs never did. Not really. Ours did. We ended up getting a second-hand color TV from the funeral home. Don't ask.

    But, for Grandma and Papa, I never knew if they replaced it because it went out, or if because they just wanted a new one.

  4. Looking forward to part 2, Basil.


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