I can simply think of my Grandparents and begin to cry. I miss them so very much. They account for just as many of my good childhood memories as my parents. If not more. There are so many things I want to ask them still but it is too late. They are now in Heaven. But mostly I would tell them thank you for giving me so many cherished childhood memories. There is so much I would like to share with you about them but I'll stick to one topic at the moment....The Lake.
In the early 70's he moved my Grandma and himself down to the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. He built a marvelous house right on the lake. The house itself was quite dazzling yet blue collar. Before entering, there are many sights to see. Up on the hill sat a top of the line above ground pool that served family and friends for years and years. You could either walk down the hill back to the house....or you could slide on the metal slide my Grandpa had installed directly into the ground! From the wrap around deck on the house you had a precious view of the sparkling lake.
The lower area served for many bbq's where my Grandpa made the best brisket I've ever had! You could hang out with him at the bbq or you could step further into the backyard and play some horseshoes. Or, you could step right in to the basement that had a full bar (for grownups) or play a quick game of Air Hockey.
Entering the home, you walked in to the 70's kitchen where my Grandma prepared all the meals. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for hungry Grandkids. If you went immediately to the left you would walk into the open dining room and living room area which was quite large.
The dining room table was a long rectangular shape that could seat at least 10 and was always covered with some type of vinyl tablecloth and retro Tupperware salt and pepper shakers. In one corner there was a little nook and for years and years the only thing in that nook was the percolator and all the coffee supplies. At the end of the table stood a magnificent hutch full of vintage china and over the years, collected anniversary items. (They were together just shy of 50 years).
The living room area had bright red carpet! The divan, as my Grandma called it was very long and lasted all the years I can remember. That is a long time compared to the quality of today's furniture. There were always little throw pillows covered in crochet cases made by my Grandma. The coffee table was full of candy dishes with hard candies that we were allowed to eat any time we wanted! I do not think there was ever a time that there was not a jar of peanuts on the table as well. And next to my Grandpas chair, sat his little table with T.V Guide and always a little bottle of iodine to heal his Grandkids raw little toes after long days in the swimming pool. Against the far wall was the step up area with fireplace and door leading down to the basement where my Grandma did all the laundry.
From the kitchen into the hallway there were 3 bedrooms and a "back room" Sometimes we would sleep in the bunkbeds in one of the rooms or we would sleep in the back room that had, not an attic fan but rather a fan built directly into the wall. They seldom had to run the AC thanks to that fan. Just off the back room was the door to the garage where my Grandpa taught us how to clean fish (I do not remember now!) but also was a refrigerator dedicated to beer and an array of generic soda's for us kids. Any kind you wanted!
I grew up spending time and holidays with the family at the lake. But when I got to a certain age, something pretty great happened. The 4 of us Grandkids got to go spend 2 weeks of every summer down at the lake! The memories I have from these trips have lasted me a lifetime! I could write an actual book about all of them. Maybe I will someday. But today I'll just give you a little taste of how wonderful it was.
Our trips always began with our Grandparents picking us up. They drove the 4 hours from the lake to Kansas City to get all us hooligans. Many years they picked us up in a Winnebago. I think you already know my passion for Winnebago's! I'm certain the reason I love them so much is purely sentimental. We had a ball riding down in the Winni. After a certain time though, my Grandpa switched to a more economical vehicle. A station wagon to be precise. The trip down was still fun.
We had the same routine every year. We'd stop at this old school fast food place and order cheeseburgers and fries. Once we got into Eldon we stopped at the grocery store and loaded up with snacks, soda's and food for the week. The grocery store is still there. It's called Gerbes.
Once at the lake it was free reign. We usually spent the first few days just settling in. But then we got our groove. My Grandpa was ALWAYS the first one up in the mornings. He would start his percolator coffee and let my Grandma sleep in. He was so happy to see us when we woke. He'd greet me with a hefty GOOD MORNING AMY LYNN!!! Then he'd ask me if I wanted doughnuts or cereal. Sometimes we'd wait for Grandma to wake up and she'd make us bacon and eggs.
After breakfast was directly into the pool. And usually all day! If we were not at the pool my Grandpa would take us out on the lake in his boats. Pontoon and bass boats. Sometimes we'd simply walk to the dock and fish. We would take extra long walks up to the mailbox as it was off the highway. Very far from the house.
Usually during the middle of the trip, he'd take us all to Bagnell Dam where we got to play all kinds of games including skeeball! It was all outdoors and fun. Then he'd take us to see a show. My favorite was the Elvis impersonator. Loved that guy!
By the end of our 2 weeks together, I didn't want it to end. I wish I could tell you every detail but there are just too many years of details to tell. Years and years of peaceful, loving memories.
I miss them so very much. Those days are long gone but so not forgotten. Everything changed when my Grandma passed away in the mid 90's. And sadly my Grandpa passed away just a few years ago right before Christmas. I took it really bad. It was the end of an era indeed.
But as my Grandpa always said "Death is a part of life".