Friday, March 5, 2010

My Kooky (er, quirky) Grandparents

Friday, March 5, 2010

I'm finishing up revisions on my September release INTO THE WILD, an Indiana Jones type romantic adventure. So much fun! At one point the heroine, River, is reflecting on her Grandma and Grandpa Franklin's quirky ways and how they rubbed off on her. That got me thinking about my own grandparents. Each of them were quirky in their own ways. If I'm known for anything as a writer, it's my 'quirky' characters. Maybe I have my grandparents to thank for that!

Some kooky, I mean, quirky memories....

Grandma Childers
*put salt in her beer
*made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches in a waffle iron
*hung clothes out to dry on the line in her backyard wearing bermuda shorts and her bra (yup-- just her bra)
*Never learned to drive
*once made me cut a necklace off of her because she couldn't get it unclasped and was having a panic attack (yup--clausterphobic)

Grandpa Childers
*smoked pipes and stinky cigars
*loved to watch wrestling on TV
*read the newspaper everyday (as an adult I learned that he couldn't really read, just some very basic words. So I guess he was looking at the pictures?)
*had a pet chicken that sat on the back of his recliner (yup--a real chicken)

Grandpa Miller
*Drank Wink a lot (kind of a Mountain Dew sort of soft drink)
*Played Solitaire a lot (and cheated)
*Rolled his own cigarettes (and taught me how to help)
*Played harmonica (badly)
*Dropped my grandma (and us kids) off at church every Sunday, but wouldn't go in. Said the people attending were hypocrites. (Don't think he meant us)

Grandma Miller
*Used to roll my hair in skinny, metal curlers every Saturday, so I'd have curly hair for church.
*Made Bo-Bo clown out of socks
*Was addicted to Mitch Miller (his TV show and records)
*Had a cool stash of Avon lipstick and perfume samples and a neat collection of old hats she used to wear to church
*Never learned to drive
*Incessant coupon clipper. Made Grandpa drive her to three different grocery stores to get the best bargains
--Hmm. Actually, those aren't all that kooky, I guess. Grandma Miller was the most straight-laced person out of all my grandparents. Although that in itself is a 'character'.

What about you? Have any quirky memories of your grandparents?

SIS Beth


Sisters-in-Sync said...


I have all of those memories of our grandparents. And a few more...

Grandma Childers
*Not only would wear her bermuda shorts and bra in the back yard, but also would walk out to the road to check the mail in the same attire (I was mortified when the school bus brought me home and there she was for all the kids to see, but I thought she was funny)
*Would not glue her false teeth in because she thought they would get stuck in her mouth (the claustrophobic thing again)so she would constantly lose them. Once I found them in the fridge!
*Would get out of the tub to answer the door and would do so wearing nothing but a towel draped long ways in front of her. Yep, her whole backside would be hanging out.

Grandpa Childers
*Would chase "stinkers" into the corner and stomp them out
*Called the school bus a "kiddack". I don't even know if that's a real word OR how to spell it.

I'll think of more but have to rush out to take the oldest to school.

Great memories! Thanks for taking me back.

SIS Bren

SIS BJ said...

Hi Beth

Grandpa Childers loved Bozo and The Three Stooges. We watched those shows every morning while waiting for the school bus.

Mary Stella said...

B, don't you have that same reaction to tight necklaces?

My Grandmother Stella never learned to drive either, but Nana Boyer did and had her own car up to her death at age 88.

I know my grandparents must have had some quirky and kooky traits but I can't think of any so I'll just list some memories that come to mind while writing this post.

I do not remember seeing Grandma Stella ever use a recipe for anything and I swear she knew a dozen different dishes to make using eggplant. She also made her own spaghetti. You know how stores charge extra for "fresh" noodles in the refrigerated section vs the dried pasta in boxes? We had that fresh yummy variety every Sunday.

Nana Boyer was very "proper". Every Friday night, she and her lady friends from the hospital auxiliary ran an upscale bingo game. They left the house in dressy clothes, complete with hats, gloves and, in cold weather, mink stoles.

At least once every summer, when we kids ran around in shorts and t-shirts, barefoot, or in bathing suits (We lived at the shore.) she lectured my female cousins and me. "When I was your age, I never appeared in front of my father anything less than fully clothed!"

My response? "Sure, Nana, and you also wore bathing costumes knit in wool!"

Nana was a sharp, smart woman who handled all of her own business matters and finances after Grandpas died. Bless her for helping me improve my D in Geometry to an A.

Grandma Stella loved to play bingo and when casino gambling came to Atlantic City, she quickly learned to love playing slot machines.

When we kids misbehaved, Grandpa Stella used to threaten us with his shaving strop but he never once actually spanked us with it.

When I was a kid, I was all geared up to ride my two-wheeler without training wheels for the first time. My Dad got called into the hospital to deliver a baby so Grandpa Stella helped after Sunday mass. I can still see him in my memory, pushing me to give me a good start, running in his gray suit.

So many more memories but not enough room. :-)

Tori Lennox said...

My Grandpa Lemonds was addicted to yard sales & auctions. And he'd buy all kinds of crap he had no use for just because it was a bargain. My Grandma Lemonds never learned to drive until after my grandpa died. She didn't do it well. *g*

I don't really remember my mom's dad. He died when I was ten. And I don't really remember anything quirky about my mom's mom.

SIS Brandy said...

I unfortunately have no memory of Grandma Childers. I was very young when she passed. My memories of Grandpa Childers (Boots) are fabulous. He was a terrific and very funny man. Not only did he chase "stinkers" around the room like Brenda mentioned, he would also turn around and burn the smell off with his zippo sometimes. He always had goodies hidden in the kitchen drawer for us and would invite me over all the time for ice cream. We ate vanilla with maple syrup on it. Yummy.

He was very ornery. Whenever we would go out to eat he would flirt with the young waitresses. He'd yell and moan just for the fun of it while watching tv. And he loved to race us around the outside of the house - he was pretty fast for an old man!!

Beth Ciotta said...

Brenda, those are great quirky memories! I'd forgotten about Grandma C's fear of her dentures getting stuck! What a hoot! Please share more!

BJ, I don't remember Grandpa C's appreciation of Bozo and The Three Stooges--but I'm not surprised!

Mary... What can I say? Those are incredible, sweet and colorful memories of your grandparents. Loved it! You should write a short story or some sort of novella based on those memories. I'd read it!

Tori--how funny about your grandpa bying crap just because it was a bargain. Although--um--I think I've done that too. LOL

Brandy--and yet more colorful, quirky memories. Those were great. Got anymore???

SIS Beth

Chris Behrens said...

Unfortunately, Wendy and I only have one each but here goes:

Wendy's grandmother, who was so cool she listened to Whitesnake back in the 80's, used to make her special home-made lasagna for Christmas dinner. One time she mistook her personal stash of 'herb' for an Italian spice and the whole family had a lovely Christmas meal of marijuana lasagna.

I've never been able to verify this, but my mother has told me that she heard more than once that my grandma on my dad's side used to take a lit lighter to my grandfather's backside whenever he would, umm, you know......let off some steam, so to speak.

Aren't you glad you asked this question, Beth?

Elle J Rossi said...

Oh, Chris! Wendy's story is HILARIOUS!

Beth Ciotta said...

Chris those are fabulous! Ha! Especially love the MJ Lasagna! (Can I use that in a story??)

Barb/Elle... Where are YOUR contributions?!

SIS Beth

Chris Behrens said...


Wendy says you can absolutely use MJ Lasagna in a story :)

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