Friday, December 11, 2015

Memories of Being at my Grandmother's Home

The appearance of the Home as of 2013 [In Bad Condition]
This is a picture of the my grandmother's former home (Google maps photo), in horrible shape. The appearance of the home never looked like this when my grandmother lived here. The google maps photo is from 2011, they don't appear to have a more recent one. I have passed by the home recently and quite a few things have been fixed since this photo was taken.

My late grandmother, Shirley Pipkins, lived on 3403 Erastus Street, located in the Historic 5th ward community of Houston, Texas. My siblings, cousins, and I have so many wonderful and fun memories of being together at this home. Grandma Shirley would babysit us while our parents were at work. Her home was surrounded or fenced by a metal gate and she had burglar bars on every window. When you walk in the house you would first see her living room, the dining room, and then the kitchen {which was next to the dining room}. Grandma would feed us breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner depending on how long we were at the house that day. For breakfast we usually had a choice of stove top oatmeal, malt-o-meal, or cream of wheat with a side of toast, and pan sausage or bacon {occasionally we would have cereal: Raisin Bran or Corn Flakes}. At Lunch time we had spaghetti, chicken, cabbage, macaroni and cheese, and various other foods and our choices for our drinks were either milk or apple juice. You could NOT leave the table until you finished everything on your plate {some of us would still be seated at the table for hours and end up falling asleep until our parents arrived to pick us up}.

 My grandmother was a strict disciplinarian and would discipline us using a switch, extension chord, belt, or making us go to time out.  As children we were to "stay in a child's place", you could not be around when the adults were talking and your response should always be "Yes Ma'am/Sir" or "No Ma'am/Sir" to adults. 

The grand kids would often play in back room of the home making sock doughnuts, tents & forts, playing video games, making fart noises or bothering our Uncle Jermaine {our parent's younger brother who was still living with my grandmother at the time}. 

Me, my siblings, and cousins at my grandmother's house on Easter
Sunday 1993 or '94

Grandma would watched various shows throughout the day such as the "Phil Donahue Show", "Sally Jessy Raphael Talk Show", and at eleven her favorite soap "The Young and the Restless". By Two or Three O'Clock we could watch our favorite children's show that were on at the time, such as the Fox Kids Block: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Eek the Cat, Power Rangers and other shows.

 The grandchildren were allowed to play outside, but only in front of the house where she could see you {She would usually be seated on the sofa talking on the telephone to her brother Robert Lee Johnson or another relative, or friend while watching us from the front window}. 

Sunday Dinners and Holiday Gatherings usually took place at grandma's home. I remember the grandchildren would help Grandma Shirley shell peas and other task. We would ask to lick the the spoon or bowl whenever she would bake cakes. She would bake cookies, pies, and cakes for her brother's and their respective families and various other people throughout the year and even more so for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every year, her Christmas tree was up Thanksgiving night or the day after and it was usually one of the best decorated tree's in the family. 

Terrence A. Garnett
December 11, 2015