Hot Hair

by kfrego

My sister Sharon and myself enjoyed visiting our grandparents on our paternal fathers side of the family. They lived in a small home in Madrid, NY. Both were in their early eighties. Staying with them, observing them, and listening to their life stories was a unique experience. There had been a lot of changes in the world between the 1870’s and the 1950’s. They had great family support during their later years from friends and family.

Grandpa broke his collarbone while plowing roads with a horse drawn plow after a winter storm. When it healed the two bones were offset by about a quarter of an inch at the break. As he got older it was a nagging injury. Otherwise, he was very healthy for his age. He smoked a pipe in his favorite rocking chair and watched television in the evening. Grandpa loved fresh and stewed tomatoes. We got a big kick out of him because he always put sugar on his tomatoes.

Grandma was diabetic and gave herself daily insulin shots. She kept her insulin in the refrigerator. She was always busy with household chores and cooking. She had a curling iron used to curl her hair. She would heat it over a burner on the gas cook stove, roll her hair in it, and let it curl. All would be well until the curling iron got too hot or she left it in her hair too long. The house would be full of the smell of burning hair. She never let it bother her and we were always amused when it happened.

They had a clear blue plastic film taped over the front of the television set. We never figured out the purpose of the blue film, but it had to have something to do with their vision. There was a narrow stairway to the upstairs bedroom where they slept. They stayed up pretty late watching television and were always up early in the morning.

Their next door neighbor had a holstein dairy. Many times Grandpa would walk the barn with me during evening milking. He missed the days when he was able to do all the chores himself. He kept his old scythe on his back porch and once took it out beside the house to demonstrate how to properly use it. He was very efficient with it even with his age and the collar bone injury. It was a part of his life he didn’t want to separate with.

Grandma and Grandpa lived a long rewarding life together………… lucky to share some of it with them.