Write It Down!!

I’ve been going through boxes tonight and found some stuff I thought would be fun to share. When we lived in Kuna, Idaho and the kids were little (Shaina was 7 and Derek was 10) I asked them to write down some questions they’d like to ask their great-grandparents (Papa Troy “Lum” and Granny Jessie BATES). We wrote the questions and mailed them. Mom asked Granny and Papa the questions and wrote down the answers and then mailed them back to the kids. I decided to make it a blog post. I hope you enjoy it.

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This was once a photo of both of my grandparents and both of my children sitting on Granny’s couch several years before they asked Granny and Papa the questions below. I cropped out papa when I posted this photo for a blog post about Granny once and now I can’t find the original that has all four of them in it. If you have this photo I’d love to have a copy for the blog post.

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Mom and Granny.

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Papa back in his hunting days.

What Was Your First Farm Like?

Derek wrote his own questions and I added sticky notes so the question was clear to someone not used to reading the writing of a 10-year-old. True to Derek- he wanted to know about farm life.

Granny’s response (speaking for Papa because it was a question for him but he could no longer speak well enough for them to understand all he was saying):

“It was up the hollow from Sulphur Springs, Ark. There was 200 acres. Mostly trees (timber). The house had 2 rooms (kitchen & living room) and 2 bedrooms were built on as side rooms (sort of a lean to). Cooked on wood & heated with wood. In this house our son Dennis was born. Troy & Jerry were born in a house that we did not own.
We had 2 or 3 hogs, chickens and cattle. We had a saw mill. We sold lumber and ties. We had a truck & tractor.”

Below, it looks like mom asked for additional information:
Mom: Where did you grow up?
Granny (still speaking for Papa): “Hiwasse, Ark.”
Born: “August 29, 1912.”
Where: [blank]
School: “Rocky Comfort and one around Caverny. He went to the second or third grade. Just went when he wanted to.”

Who Was Your Best Friend?

Shaina, true to her 7-year-old girlie self, just wanted to know about best friends. What else was more important to a 7-year-old girl?

Granny answering for Papa: “Roy Rotramel.”

What Was Your First Car Like?

My all-boy son also wanted to know about Papa’s first car. (Wish I would have found this a few days ago when I blogged about just this topic!)

“1913 T Model Ford.”
“Dad once said he was almost too small to crank it to get it started.”

There was a follow-up question attached that asked when did Papa learn to drive the car but it did not get answered. (Or else it was answered elsewhere and I haven’t found it yet.)

Who Was Your Best Friend When You Were a Kid?

My girlie-girl Shaina still just wanted to know about best friends so she asked Granny the same question she asked Papa.

Granny: “Tressie Morgan when I was in school. My first boyfriend I got struck on [was] Lester Pendergraft (early teens).”

I’m betting Shaina was happy with this answer. I wish I could remember the discussions these questions sparked with my children.

For some reason, Granny answered this one twice though, so Shaina got a bonus answer.

Mom: “Who was your best friend in school?”

Granny: “Lorene Gwartney.”

Mom: “When did you learn to drive?”

Granny: “When Jerry was a baby.”

Mom: “Who taught you to drive?”

Granny: “Myself. I drove on the road and out in the field.”

Final Notes

Mom wrote a note that I found in the front of the file about Papa’s condition the day she asked my grandparents these questions. I thought I would include it here.

“May 25, 1999
“As I write all of this information, Troy C. Bates is laying in a hospital bed in the living room of his home on MM Highway just east of Southwest City, Mo. He is unable to talk clear enough for us to understand him. And who knows if he would even remember his first farm or car anymore. Although I think he would. His mind is pretty sharp.
“On this day, he is very tired and does not want to get out of bed for anything, so mom carries his urinal to him to use the bathroom.”

I love having this note from my mom tucked in the file. It reminds me how well she cared for her parents and reminds me that one day it will be my privilege and responsibility to do the same. And one day, maybe it will provide me with strength and courage on a day when I will really need it.

Don’t forget to ask questions and write down answers. Someone will thank you for it one day.

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

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