Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Photo Of My Grandpa & Grandma Takes Me On A Detour Down Memory Lane

Emptying out a chest of drawers today I came upon yet more photos that I'd long forgotten I had.

In this photo you are looking at Laverne and Vera Wilder.

Laverne and Vera had a daughter named Shirley.

Shirley is my mom.

Which would make Laverne and Vera my grandpa and grandma. And my mom and her dad Laverne and Shirley.

I am currently trying to figure out what do to with several afghans Grandma Vera gave me over the years.

I never knew my Grandpa Laverne. Laverne and Vera divorced when my mom was five, give or take. Laverne had epileptic seizures which were not understood as such at the time, which ended up with my Grandpa hospitalized for a time in a mental hospital.

I am not sure at what point Grandma divorced Grandpa. After he was hospitalized or before.

What I do know is Grandma Vera always said Laverne was the love of her life. Even though Grandma had a very good marriage to the guy I thought was my Grandpa, Dr. Jim Porter. Grandma Vera later married Mr. Lee.

During all this time I did not know my real Grandpa was still alive, til one day my sister Jackie, she being the sister who now lives in Arizona, knocked on my Mount Vernon door, unsettled, due to the fact that she'd just learned from Grandma Vera that she had a Grandpa who was still alive, and in a Bellingham hospital. Jackie went to see our Grandpa, before knocking on my door.

Jackie talked me into going up to Bellingham to see our Grandpa in the hospital.

We walked in his room and he looks at me and says something like "Nice to see you, Jack." Jack is my dad. I look like my dad. Turns out that, via Grandma Vera, my real Grandpa had kept up with his grandchildren who he never knew.

Now, when did I find out that Grandpa Porter was not my Grandpa? Well, that is a good story.

Grandma Vera and Grandpa Porter had a 25th wedding anniversary party at the swank Camel's Club in Lynden, Washington. At that party my brother and I noticed our mom acting very unsettled when Grandma Vera sort of pushed mom to talking to someone. Who that someone was we did not know. Not til the next morning.

That night, when we were back home in Burlington my brother and I lay awake, unable to sleep, troubled by the anniversary party. As we talked suddenly we realized something we could not explain, as in how come Grandma and Grandpa have been married only 25 years, while mom is 32?

I told my brother in the morning, at breakfast, I would ask.

And so I did.

Mom instantly understood our confusion. And the fact that we did not know a key part of our family history. Mom said something like "Did you notice that older man your Grandma and I were talking to?'

Yes, said we.

Well, mom then drops the bombshell that man was her father, and our Grandpa. Mom explained that when she was little she was scared of him because of the seizures. And that when Grandma married Grandpa Porter, Grandpa Porter quickly became the guy mom thought of as dad.

Grandpa Porter was a cool guy. I remember him fondly. And was very sad when he died. His was the third funeral I attended. His was the biggest funeral I've attended. It over flowed the church.

Grandpa Porter was a veterinarian. As such he was a wheel in a lot of things. Such as the Northwest Washington State Fair, in Lynden. And then there was the annual fish derby in Fishtrap Creek. Grandpa Porter made sure his grandkids got a prize from the derby. I remember getting a real cool fishing pole that I used for years. After he died a memorial bridge was built over Fishtrap Creek, with a plaque dedicated to him. I wonder if that is still there.

Favorite Nephew Jason, if you are reading this, you and Spencer Jack need to go to Lynden and find the park through which Fishtrap Creek flows. I have forgotten the name of that park. Spent many hours playing there. It's a wooden pedestrian type bridge with a metal plaque type thing on the south side.

I tell you, these trips I have been taking lately down memory lane are exhausting....

No comments: