“Am I like grandma?” I used to ask my mom ad nauseam. “Tell me about grandma.” My grandma T died before any of her grandchildren were born and I missed having a grandma. Without any consideration for my mom having to bring up memories about her beloved mother I used to beg her to tell me about grandma T. In my defense, I didn’t understand and couldn’t comprehend how sometimes talking about the deceased can be a painful experience. That was a lesson I could only learn by unfortunate experience. So when I was young, I pleaded for information about this absent woman whose blood ran through my veins. I guess I yearn for connections and I needed to know if grandma would have liked her granddaughter. In a way, I am still searching for connections.
My mom used to tell us how she walked to school almost every day. Even as a little kindergartener. I have driven down the road that was the “Blairtown Bums” route to school and couldn’t imagine a little girl walking that road. It seemed like such a long stretch.
I decided I needed to test it out.
Labor Day weekend I invited Lyn, Foz, and NJ to make the walk with me. MZ drove us to grandpa’s old house and dropped us off. I’m sure the new residents wondered what we were doing taking group photos in front of their house. Luckily, they didn’t come out to chase us off.
We walked down the road and turned right. A long stretch lay ahead of us. Fortunately, we weren’t bound by school bell times so we ambled toward the school at our own pace. We also were able to pick our day and we chose wisely. The weather was warm but we started out before the heat settled in. The streets have long since been paved so we didn’t have to worry about the passing cars kicking up dust. The trees on the latter end of the route are old and big and now provide nice shade.
We modified the route a little since a building is now blocking the complete original road to C Street. Plus, the sun was starting to warm up so we opted to walk up the prettier B Street with all its old trees.
It took us about an hour and just under two miles to make it to the old school. Another picture was taken for memories.
I told dad about our adventure and said our next one will be to walk his old route home from school. I teased him that we wanted to see who had the greater hardship him or mom. He promptly replied that he did. In fairness, he might be right. Mom at least had a road to walk next to whereas he and his school friends ran across the hills. But dad had the option to take the bus if they didn’t want to race it home across the hills. Mom didn’t have a choice.
In short, both my parents were tough. I lived less than a mile away from school and walking home was a privilege that I asked for on nice days. It’s my belief that my mom walking to and from school every day helped her spoil her children a little by giving us rides. And I’m okay with that.