Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday Memory - the old Graham house

On our annual vacations to Idaho, we generally stayed at Grandma & Grandpa Graham's home. This is the house my dad grew up in. We would spend a good part of the days over at Grandma & Grandpa Osgood's, but always came back to the Graham place. It had more bedrooms
to put us all in. Plus, over at the Osgoods, at least when I was still little, I still had an aunt and uncle living there.

The "old" Graham place sat in between an apple orchard and a cherry orchard. Grandma & Grandpa bought the place in 1947. Grandpa was a farmer, like his father Guy Graham was. As you can imagine from the orchards, he grew cherries and apples. I remember them shipping our family in California a big box of apples in the fall.

It was great to be able to go and help pick cherries in the summertime. Grandma would give us a bucket and let us go on our way. We ate way more than we gathered! Fresh cherries right off the tree-delicious! I can still see my little brother red-faced with cherry juice and goo all over him! There was an oval "track" that went around the house and Grandpa's barn and garage. In between the two and around the house was a nice lawn. One winter we drove up for Christmas. I was probably around the age of 10. Dad hooked up a sled to a tractor and dragged my brother and I around that oval. It was so much fun....until I kind of fell off the sled and was dragged on the ground for awhile before Dad noticed!

On the edge of the apple orchard was Great-Grandpa Ira Shelton's trailer. He had lived there since 1961. His wife, Alice, had died a couple years earlier. (Great-Grandpa is the son of the mysterious Nathaniel Shelton that I blogged about a few days ago). I would often go and visit him in his trailer. He had stacks and stacks of paperback books out there. When I was around seven, I remember him asking me to guess how old he was. I had no idea, but knew it was pretty old. (At least from a kid's perspective...I realize as I approach 40 that the concept of "old" is relative). He held up 8 fingers and flashed them at me twice--eighty eight. He would give me bananas and we would hang out. Great-Grandpa rarely came into the house, but he did one winter when we were visiting for Christmas. It seemed to be a big deal that he was in the big house instead of his trailer. Great-Grandpa died a couple years later at the age of 90.

Great-grandpa's trailer is on the left of the barn.
Great grandpa shows us his garden in 1972

We would enter the house through the kitchen. Grandma always was able to cook enough for everyone. I found out later that when she was growing up, her mother would cook for all the farm hands in the area. She grew up learning how to feed an army!

In the living room was GRANDPA'S CHAIR. It was his and his alone. Nearby would be a TV Guide, an ashtray and some snacks. I discovered "Whoppers" there one summer. Those chocolate covered malted milk candies will always remind me of then. Grandma and Grandpa liked to watch TV. I remember them watching "The Price is Right" and a soap opera every day. I'm not sure which soap it was....I knew it wasn't the one my mom watched.

I usually slept in a bathroom. That may sound weird, but this was a big bathroom. As I recall, it was on a landing, with stairs going up on the other side of a ceiling, which was slanted. It was pink. There were two single sized beds in the room. On a table was a big shiny conch shell that we were supposed to be able to hear the ocean in. I remember trying to pretend to be asleep on the morning we would be leaving Idaho to go home. Maybe if I never woke up, we wouldn't have to leave! It didn't work. I hated those mornings.

I don't remember ever going up to the next story in that house. I'm sure I did, though.

TV was a big deal at Grandma and Grandpa's house. It was on a lot. I was there eating a slice of watermelon on August 16, 1977 and hearing that Elvis Presley had died. I also remember watching the Donahue show with mom and grandma while the show topic was the Jonestown Massacre.

Grandma & Grandpa sold the place when I got a little older and Grandpa retired-it was in the late 70's, early 80's. They moved onto a smaller place in Fruitland and lived in a mobile home with less acreage to take care of. That will be the subject of another memory post in the future. It was a sad time for my dad when they sold the place. I suspect it was for others as well. A few years after that, there was a fire and the house burned down.

All you Graham relatives out there, I'd love to hear some of your memories of the old place. Leave a comment!

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