Tuesday, October 23, 2012

but most of all we had fun.

Hi Dee,
Here goes your grama again. This story is going to be about camping.
I worked eleven to seven at nite for about thirty years at the Watsonville hospital.  I had every other week end off --- Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Those are the weekends we went camping and deer hunting. I would get off work, get the kids off to school and then I would pack up for the weekend -    food and clothes for all. I think the kids could tell you dad and I always had a fight about where we were going to park. But after a while things settled down and we got unpacked. 
We never just had our kids but at least three more friends of the kids. It's good we had a van and seat belts were not required.
We found this place called Bagby on the Merced River. It was a beautiful place to fish, swim and camp and we all loved it. We have a small aluminum boat that John and the boys would put on top of the van plus a small gold dredge. We would go down river to fish and dredge and John would have to make two trips to get us all  there.  I would make a big lunch to take and we would day camp all day. We did get a few pieces of gold and lots of fish but most of all we had fun.
Now it's time for deer hunting. Both of my boys are deer hunters plus there dad so we always had deer in our freezer. I don't like deer meat but John and the boys did. I liked where we used to hunt. Both Bagby and our hunting campsite were great. We camped on this little stream that we even fished on and caught trout. Both of our campsites were about three hours from home and this one is known as the scout camp.
Here I go again almost forgetting what this story is about.  It's about my Meg and DeeDee and when a lot of us went to Bagby.  We were down by the river and there were a few pools of water - warm and shallow. The girls were having so much fun in the water. I think they each had a small raft and Dee fell off. To this day she swears she was drowning and no one was helping her. We kept telling her to put your feet down and you can stand up. I think I know a little of how she felt--- she was drowning and no one was helping her. Sorry dee!

Enough from this crazy old lady.    

Love you.

Mom, grama, and great

Thursday, October 18, 2012

We sure multiply as time goes by.

Hi Dee, 
Well here's your old grama back again.  This story is going to be about funny books (comic books)--very expensive funny books. 
When I went funny book shopping as a ten or twelve year old they were ten cent apiece. About every two weeks my mom would walk me down to the corner of First and Main Street where 
Palmtags drug store was located. There were racks and racks of funny books to choose from. If I had been good all week and did all my chores my mom would give me ten dimes and that meant I could buy ten funny books. Yes they were only ten cents each! After they were read, then the trading started. I had quite a few friends in the neighborhood and they also had books. I would pick out three or four and the trading started. After a few weeks my mom again would walk me to Palmtags drug for more comics.
A long time ago the streets were changed---what used to be First Street and Bridge Street were changed to Riverside Drive, so no more Palmtag drugstore. 
As a young girl I went to school with a Palmtag and there is still more around town. She had three sons, grandkids and great ones. We sure multiply as time goes by.  
Till  next time.     
Mom, grama,and great

Friday, October 12, 2012

for the next generation.

Hi Dee,  
This story is going to be about my dad - Earl Degraffenreid. To his friends and relatives he was called Buster, later dad or grampa. He was a great man who died too young at fifty eight.
I told you I lived in San Jose for a short time and that was when I lost my dad. We got a telephone call telling us. John and I had two kids at the time - Terry and Gary. Our sweet neighbor who had two kids of her own offered to watch them for us. We left for Watsonville right away. My older sister was there with my mom when we got there. She was married at the time but was a big help with my mom and a young sister and two little brothers. They were right there when he died.  Now this old lady is just guessing on their ages but I think they were about eight, eleven, and thirteen. My mother was left with those little ones to raise.
My dad had a bad accident while working for resetar brothers. He was working with a drill of some kind that was too strong for him and it threw him against a big anvil.  It cut the back of his head real bad. He was in the hospital in San Jose for a long time and when he came home he came home with a bad headache that never went away and wasn't able to work again. My mom was working at the time and continued on. It was hard on her with a sick husband, kids, and a house to keep up. My dad got feeling a little better and felt so guilty about not being able to work so he took over at home. He did all the cooking, housecleaning, kid watching, washing clothes and even ironing. He loved my mom and knew she worked hard for her family.
 Shortly after my dad died John and I moved back home. We found a house close by my mom's so I could help with the kids. Here I go getting ahead of my story! We only lived in San Jose a short while and I was always close by to help with my siblings. 
My dad loved his two grandkids. It was getting close to Christmas and my dad walked uptown to this baby store and bought them each a new rocking chair. They were maple and colonial style.  He had no car so he had to carry them home and hid them in his little garage. He had a doll sitting on Terry's chair and big truck on Gary's. Santa was very good to them that year. When Terry and Gary grew up they had their chairs to pass down to their girls. Terry to Meghan and Gary to Heather. Along the way Heather's chair broke and Gary was going to throw it away. No way was grampa John going to let that happen! He brought that chair home and fixed it, but Gary did not want it back so guess what? Terry had another chair for her other daughter Erin and both my granddaughters still have the chairs today. It won't be long now that my great granddaughters - Sarah and Charlotte - will be putting those chairs away for the next generation.  
Till next story time,
Mom, grama and great

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

a nickel a game.

Hi Dee,  
I'm sure everyone knows by now, I send DeeDee (Erin) my stories and she puts it on my blog. A sweet granddaughter I would say. Love you Dee.
My story today is going to be about horseshoes. It starts out with my grampa the one that was left with his three sons to raise that I told you about in an earlier story.  Well anyway he ended up in Watsonville too living with one of my aunts. He was old by then. My one uncle became a horseshoe champion in Arizona and had all kinds of trophies and of course my grampa was good too.

When I was pregnant with my first one - Terry - I was living with my folks on First Street. John was in the Navy and my folks were both working. I ended up helping with the kids and the housework. My grampa came to our house almost everyday and guess what we did?  We played horseshoes. He would bet me a nickel a game. After a while I started to win a few and boy was it hard to get a nickel  from my tight grampa!
As I got bigger and bigger we slowed down a little.  I went to the hospital to have Terry and the next  day my grampa had a heart attack and died. I was happy with my baby girl but sad about my grampa. When I got home from the hospital sitting in the front room was this beautiful baby buggy and on this card it said it was from grampa. My how I cried knowing I would never see him again.
Mom, grama, and great grama

Monday, October 8, 2012

This has been a sad story maybe the next one will be happy.

 Today's blog is going to be about my mom and dad and a little about the life they lived. 
They came from Kansas and also lived in Missouri for awhile. My mom and her two sisters were living in a girls' home. Not because they did anything wrong - it was because of my Grama. She was a bad mother and couldn't handle all of her kids. The boys stayed with their dad. I think there were four of them. My Grama took off and left her kids. 
My dad went to the home to do some odd jobs and that was where he met my mom and later they married.  They had two boys that died shortly after.  They took off then and came to Watsonville.  My mom and dad were both hard workers. Dad found a job right away.  He had no schooling so he could not read or write but there was nothing he could not do! He built a house for two of his sisters, he was a good mechanic, made table and chairs for grandkids and I could keep going on and on! He was a very talented and smart man. When they moved to Watsonville they already had my sister Betty and three years later I came along. Ten years later my sister came along and then my two brothers. My dad was a good provider. My mom also worked part of the time.
When I got a little bigger my mom would take me downtown to buy school clothes. She pointed to a lady in the store and told me that was her mother. I couldn't understand because she wouldn't even talk to us! After we got home my mom tried to explain to me how her mom left her family years ago. She ended up  in Watsonville with three more children. To a little girl what kind of grama was that?
Now back to my mom and dad. They were good people and loved their kids and grandkids. Sorry but I still cry for my mom and the life she had before she got married and then when her mom moved so close by. But let me tell everyone she was the best mom ever.
I guess I need to tell a little about my dad. He worked in the mines.  When he was little his mom and dad had gone to town. When they got home my dad and his two brothers went out to help put the wagon away. It was storming and lightning.  My dad was holding the barn door open and his two brothers were coming in. About that time a bolt of lightning hit them. His brothers were both killed and my dad had burns across his chest. We were told that all the metal on there bodies was pulled off and the nails out of their shoes. My dad's father died of rabies - he was bit by a wild animal of some kind. There was no cure for rabies, and they had to tie him up in the yard to keep him from biting someone else. 
This has been a sad story maybe the next one will be happy. 
Enough from this tired old lady,   

Monday, October 1, 2012

did the black birds like John's red hair?

Hi Dee,
Well here goes another early morning and I think I'll tell you about my schools I went to.  We didn't have buses to ride, they were only for the kids who lived out of town. As a little girl school was a long way off but that was ok because along the way you would pick up your friends and that always made school closer. When you got there early you always had time to play for a while before the bell would ring. My favorite thing was the bars and here I go bragging again but I was good on those bars. They were so much fun! 
We also had this row of trees in our play yard and under those trees were our swings and if you didn't get to school early you never got a turn. I think playing for a while got your day started. The school I'm talking about was Radcliffe School and I was there from first grade to fifth grade. I had some great teachers and I really liked school. My next school was E.A. Hall from sixth grade to eighth grade and it was a long way off - at least a mile. 
I used to be teased a lot about John.  He always walked behind me going to school.  We had to go through the park on Main Street and did the black birds like john's red hair? They sure did! They didn't bother anyone else, only him. He had to go through the park with his books on his head. It was really funny at the time the way the birds dived bombed John and his red hair.
My next school was high school and a little closer to home. When John turned seventeen he dropped out of school and joined the Navy. I also quit school about three months from graduating and started working full time.  All through high school I worked after school and all day on Saturdays at
Woolworths - the money helped out at home. My mom and dad had three other children so now there were five of us. My youngest sister and I were ten years apart and then my two brothers - Arlene, Jimmy and Dannie.

I'm sure you will be hearing more about my family as long as I can keep blogging, but you know this old lady is old and tired. So enough for now.

Till next time, mom, grama, and great grama

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I think this tells you I love my family.

Hello to anyone reading, 
My mind is blank right now but my girls say, "write more stories grama."
I guess I will start with my family. My first is Terry Lynn, my second is Gary Wayne, and my third I lost at birth - Sheri Ann. I guess I will start with Sheri. 
They say mothers can tell if something is wrong and I sure did.  I did not gain the weight like I did with the other two and she was a couple of weeks early, but I did feel good my whole pregnancy. Sheri was born deformed and only lived for a few hours. It was very hard at the time because I had two little ones at home waiting for mom to bring home a new baby. I tried to explain to them but they were too young. I told them Sheri was sick and was in heaven now.  My family and friends had given me a baby shower so Terry and Gary helped me fold up all her clothes and along the way were given to someone in need. 
When I became pregnant with my next one I was scared the whole time. Mark Robert was born with the cord wrapped around his neck. His color wasn't so good but after awhile he pinked right up and did well.  Then my fourth and last one came along, another little girl we named Lori Elaine who was a joy to us all.  All my kids were a joy it was hard along the way at times money wise but we managed. They were clean, well fed,  and much loved.
Now I will tell you about a few places we have lived in. We lived in two different places on Locust Street and then we moved to San Jose for a few years where John's work was. That didn't seem to work out because our family and friends were in Watsonville and we were there every weekend. John and I talked it over and decided to move back home. We found this old house on Roach Road - the rent was cheap but we had a lot of fixing up and painting to do. It was small but we made it do.  
After a few years we decided to look around for a place to buy and we found one.  It was an old school house* and again it needed work done.  I was pregnant with Lori at that time so for the next ten, twenty, thirty or even fourty years we were busy with the house. The kids learned a lot along the way. We put in windows, doors, a fireplace - all rock that we found at clear creek over by Holister and all hand picked by the Keith family. I'm sure the kids got tired of our house always under construction but you know what? They still had there friends over to spend the night and time to go hunting and camping! 
This is a pretty long blog but like I said before when I talk about my kids I could go on and on! I think this tells you I love my family.
Enough for now,    
Mom, Grama, and Great

* I thought maybe you would be interested in what we paid for our old school house about fifty years ago. We paid thirteen thousand nine hundred and back then that was a lot of money. We felt proud because John's folks or mine were never able to buy a house.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Dixie, catch!"

Well this old lady is at it again, just sitting in my recliner thinking of stories.

I used to live on First Street right across from our house was the old Sacodo house. It was a big two story house that belonged to a Japanese family and it was empty. My folks told me because of the war they were placed in a camp out of California. I didn't  understand any of it. I only knew that all the Japanese families had to leave and that was why the house was empty.

My husband's family lived in a small house behind the big one, my husband's father was working for them as a farmer, they asked him to please watch over the place for them. He did a good job keeping the place from being robbed or damaged and after the war they were able to come home.

My husband John was one of the Keith boys that lived across the street. He was from a big family - five boys and one girl. It seemed like back then most of the families were large. None of us missed TV because after dinner we had dishes, homework and our other chores and then maybe, just maybe, we could go out and play. Baseball, hide and seek, kick the can, tag and so many other games. One of our holdups was the Keith boys were slow and needed help with their chores. Guess how many times I went to help do their dishes so we could play for a little before dark?

This story happened when maybe John and I were about fourteen or fifteen...We had been playing football and it was starting to get dark so everyone was headed home. John was across the street with the football and I was on my front porch. John said, "Dixie, catch!" When he threw that ball it went right through my front room window and guess what? My dad was resting in that room! I went in the house and John went home to tell his folks what he had done.   Pretty soon there was a knock on the door - John had come back to apologize.  He told my dad he would pay for the window and was very sorry. My dad just said, "John you have to be more careful". We continued to play on the street but we all were more careful!

Boy does this old lady get sidetracked!  Someone told me a few days ago it looked like they were going to tear down the old Sacodo house. I havent  checked yet but I hope not. I have a lot of good memories from that neighborhood and maybe, just maybe, you might hear more.

I have been sitting in this recliner long enough. Time now to get busy on my list - first my shower and then whatever this old lady wants to do which doesn't amount to much. In my mind I have a big list of what I  want to do but my body won't let me do it.

So until next time.  Love you, 

Mom, grama and great grama

Friday, September 21, 2012

But this old lady is getting tired...

Hi dee, 
I guess I need to make some corrections on some of my other blogs, on some of them I say "grama" but I really mean "mom". My kids know my mom as Grama D who was loved by all and in her later years lived with me and  my sister on some weekends. 

I was the one with all the kids, I had four and many more along the way. One of those along the way was Robert, he spent every weekend with us and even went camping with us when we went. He went to school with my son Gary and became another brother. So John got busy and made triple bunk beds which fit great in our high ceiling bed rooms. Robert seemed to fit right in but before he finished school he joined the army. He had three sisters he was worried about and throught maybe the money he made would help them.

Now guess what? We had an empty bed, but not for long! We had a nephew who was from a broken home and was staying at his Grama Keith's a lot but mostly he was staying at our house. He was one year older than my son Mark. Mike fit right in and filled up that extra bed - they were like in the fifth or sixth grade so now the kids had another brother. I never had any big problems with any of them. 

We also had two nieces at different times come to live with us that became part of our family but the girls for only a short while.  We always had a house full of kids, but what else would you expect? We did finally buy an old school house. It really did need some fixing up. The boys learned a lot and so did the girls. I'm very proud of my family and what they all accomplished. 

We also had a grandson come to live with us when he was very young - he also was from a broken family. His dad was our son Mark. Their agreement was they would take turns and each have a day with him and pretty soon his mom would never get him so he was ours.  We raised him and he turned out a good boy. He is living in Panama City with a good job.
My goodness Dee, when I start talking about my kids I could go on and on! But this old lady is getting tired, just want you all to know I have four children - the oldest is a girl and also the youngest.    

Till next time,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I don't like to brag but...

Well today is the day I tell you about skating and the old skating ring. It was called the civic autortorium and it was used for everything----wrestling, annual apple show where all the growers brought their apples to be judged (we used to be know as the apple capital of the world. 

Now back to skating. It was sort of a family thing. The ring was close - cross the street, through an alley and then a broken fence and guess what? We were then at the back of the autortorium where I spent a lot of my childhood. Grama always took us, she enjoyed watching us skate. I could skate backwards better than I could forward and we did all kinds of tricks. I don't like to brag but when you went to the ring two times a week and maybe once on the weekend you had to become good.

My dad while working for resetar his job was pulling ice as they called it. What he was doing was making ice to be used in train cars for shipping lettuce. They had trimmers and packers and my mom was a trimmer. There were three trimmers and one packer and they were packed into a crate and then loaded into a train car with the ice.the cold storage was used for the ice but it was never full so guess what? My sister Betty and I had our skating ring! My mom would bundle us up and away we would go. Dad worked about four blocks from home and at nite so we could only do this on weekends. What great fun and memories we had. 

Today I have to take Betty to the doctor so this is enough for now about skating. Maybe next time I'll tell you about the football games we used to play on the firehouse lawn right next to where we skated. We had no tv so we played a lot of outside games - football, hide and seek, kick the can, and tag - but we couldn't  do any of that unless all of our chores were done. 

By for now.  


Sunday, September 16, 2012

what a treat for a little girl.

Well here I go again trying to figure out how to start this post but I do have my Dee to help me. 

One of the places I lived at was on Grove Street in Watsonville. Since I was born here that is where all my stories are. I went to Lindscot School for kindergarten and my sister went to the same school. She would walk me to school and then to my room. We all had to take a little rug for our naps or rest time. We also got a bottle of milk and two little wheat thin crackers (they were so good).  It seemed like such a long walk to school.

My mom and dad were always working but we were able to get into our house because my mom always hid a key for us and a couple of pennies or maybe a little more for an after school treat. We had a little store close by and had only one street to cross so we went there to spend our pennies. They always had a lot of candy to pick from - you got two pieces for a penny and my what a treat for a little girl!  

I would then go home and do my chores or anything my mom wanted me to do before she got home from work. She always started supper - we would help but our main job was the dishes. One of us would wash and one would dry. Then we would have homework and then bath time and if we still had time maybe we would play a game. I guess this is enough for now.  

Some of the things I will be telling you about is me learning to ride a bike and skating and playing football by the fire station with all the neighbor kids - all boys except me. I guess that tells you I was a tomboy.

 --- till next time, grama

Thursday, September 13, 2012

to blog or not to blog.

Hi Dee, I just through of another short story about canning jar or fruit jars.  
My mom was always canning something. Any kind of fruit anyone gave us she would put it in a jar and we would use it in the cold months of winter when fresh was not available. So we always needed jars. I remember going to the dump and they sold them for a nickel a jar. Of course they had to be sterilized because they were pretty dirty so my mom always had a big dishpan on the stove boiling. They did come out clean!

Now this is the good part  - it's about where the dump was. It was on Waker St. at the end where you go over the bridge covering the slough, on the right side of the road. It used to have a big old fence in front and it stunk of garbage and smoke. It was located right where the back of Ramsey Park is now and the tennis court is on the left.

My brother a while back asked me if I had any extra jars.  He told me his daughter had started to can. I hope she likes it, I sure did. I know my Erin Cobb  likes to make jam and jellies but now opening a new business she won't have time.  Dee this is your call to blog or not to blog.   Love you ------grama

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

it's not easy for an old lady.

A note from Erin: Thank you guys so much for encouraging my Grama on her blogging journey! This is such a gift for her family and we're all keeping our fingers crossed that she keeps it up. What a legacy! Also, in case anyone is confused, I'm "Dee". My family has always called me DeeDee or Deed. My Grama is the only one who calls me Dee and I love it.

Well here i go again with more stories. it's not easy for an old lady who doesn't know what she is doing! I just had one story and I have been working on it for about one hour and guess what? I pressed the wrong key and it was gone!
I am going to try again.

It was about one of the places I lived in when I was growing up. My dad worked for Resetar and Co and they leased out the Holohan Ranch which was a big apple orchard. One of the houses on ranch was empty so we were able to move in rent free because of dad's job. It was a very old house. I can remember one of the rooms being wallpapered in newspaper but when my folks got through it was nice and clean. 

After a while the big ranch house became empty and we moved again.  It was big and had two fireplaces. One other thing that impressed a little girl was the big porch which was the length of the house!  My dad was always handy - he could build or repair anything. One of the first on his list was a big swing on the porch and another one under the tank house for my little sister (we had a big water tank in our yard). I guess the old ranches all had water tanks.

Right next to the house was a big family orchard. It had every kind of fruit tree you can think of. All kinds of cherries, peaches, apricots and apples. I can remember my mother canning anything and everything she could - it all came in handy in the winter months. She would open a jar of peaches for a cobbler or cherries or apples for a pie - she was a good cook. I enjoyed helping her can. It was a lot of work but so rewarding to see all the fruit stacked on the table in their nice clean jars. My girls were never into canning but my granddaughters, yes. My speciaty was jams and jellies. If you got the fruit free it would only cost for the sugar. If you were a beginner it would cost for the jars but otherwise you would have jars from year to year and only need new caps and lids.

enough for now.      


*  I hope, Dee,  you don't have too much corrections to do since I don't  remember where commas or periods go  Thank you...you are doing a good job .

Love you guys, grama

Sunday, September 9, 2012

we are old and who cares anyway!

Now that I opened my big mouth I guess you need more stories. Have you heard the one about your great grama giving us baths in a big wash tub? Well I haven't either but I have an old picture to prove it! I was told by my mom that was me and did I ever have curly hair! (I was a cutie back then.) My how the years go by.

I'm up early as usual and in my recliner I can hear grampa in our room getting up. It takes him longer now to do everything - we are both so slow.
He gets up every morning and makes his breakfast. He makes me a cup of coffee first and then he fries his bacon and eggs and this happens every morning.  I started out I was going to write old stories but here I go telling you about now! But here is my answer to everything: we are old and who cares anyway! 
Grampa has this project going:  it started out to be a birdhouse for Lori but she said no way is this going outside!  It looks like our house (like the old school house)  right down to the old wood shingles. Its taking a long time. But you know what? It keeps him busy and Lori says no way is this going outside so now she has to find a place for it.
I'm going over to my sisters right now and maybe, just maybe, I will remember to ask her more about the washtub since she is a little older and really her memory is better than mine. Enough Dee.  Love you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

never you mind, they are mine.

Hi Dee,

Well today I'm going to try and give you a few  stories, they are going to be short ones so maybe after you get a few  you can blog them or not.

Usually I do my thinking early in the morning when I get up between 4---7 and I'm sitting in my recliner waiting for my pain med to ease my back and all my other arthritic pains.

I guess I need to start (by telling my age) - 80 next year and my sister is 83. Betty will be in a lot of my stories.  My mom and dad were called fruit tramps.  They used to go from Watsonville to Yuma every year and work in the lettuce. Where they got that name from I'll never know. I don't ever remember them working in fruit. So our summers were in Arizona and then back to Watsonville and school, we were little but I can still remember it. While visiting my sister, Betty, yesterday she said, "do you remember the big milkshakes mom and dad used to buy us after they got off work?" Do I ever! We had to walk a couple of blocks but it was so worth it. They were in big glasses, thick and so good. It's funny how some memories are hard to forget.  Maybe just maybe, Betty and I are both on the heavy side and it started then. 

We both had a doctors appointment yesterday and Betty doesn't drive anymore and I still do.  We then go out to lunch.  Nothing fancy we either have a hamburger, chicken pot pie, or a fish dinner. We then take a trip to the Dollar Tree for our goodies for the week - you know things like chips, cookies, candy  for grampas candy jar.  We have even found flower pots there and we both like playing in the dirt so we are happy. We do most of our playing outside sitting down but who cares-- we are doing what we like to do. I have a picnic table outside that is covered with plants and grampa keeps asking me what I'm going to do with them. I just tell him "never you mind they are mine."   

Honey enough for now. Love you. Grama

my grama.

My Grama - Dixie May Degraffenreid Keith - was born on April 30, 1933 and she's never been afraid to try something new. When the women she raised gifted her with an iPad last Mother's Day she began emailing all of her children and grandchildren more regularly. And one day on the phone she said, "I've been thinking...now that I'm on the internet I think I should start a blog!" And we - the women - she raised whole-heartedly agreed.

My almost 80 year old grama rocks. 

And now, she blogs.

Welcome to My Grama Blogs.