My grandfather, had he not died in 1998, would have been 103 on July 20th. I've been thinking about he and my grandma Fisher a lot these past few weeks. About all they lived with and through during their lifetimes.
My grandfather Fisher was not a big man but he was the most honest and intelligent man I knew. His most remarkable physical feature was his hair. As long as I knew him he had a full head of silvery hair and always had his trusty pipe and wore overalls. Grandma was short and round and almost always wore house dresses with an apron tied around her waist. They were so very wise and managed to keep us out of a heap of trouble during the years we lived with them on their farm.
Their lives spanned the time of the greatest technologcial improvements the world has ever seen. They were both born within a little more than decade of when their parents pioneered in Oklahoma in the late 1880's when the Fishers went west in a covered wagon . Towards the end of her life, Grandma took her first trip by jet airplane to visit family and lived to see man land on the moon and the invention of computers. They lived the depression era, the one we only know about from TV. When my grandmother married, women were not even allowed to vote in the U.S. They were both 10 years old when the Titanic sailed her first and last voyage.
My grandfather told me after purchasing a John Deere lawn mower, " Sister, there was a time when I could have bought a couple of new pick-up trucks for what I paid for that thing", and he was right, in 1915, when he was forced to be, due to the death of his father, the man of his family, a new Model T could be had for $345 of his hard earned dollars. He could also buy a gallon of milk for just a few cents but there was little need for that when he or grandma could walk out to the barn and get it fresh from the cows.
My grandparents were in their late 60's before they ever lived in a house with indoor plumbing. I still recall how good and cold the water was that came from the old pitcher pump in the back yard. I can remember pumping many a bucket of that water on wash day too. I was around 10 or so when the phone company put phone lines out to the farm and they got their first phone. They were on a party line and only answered the phone when it rang 2 long, and 1 short rings. Other wonderful memories are of being snuggled under a load of grandma's handmade quilts on cold winter nights and taking cool baths in the old, galvanized wash tub out by the pump in the summertime at dusk.
I guess city folks would think it was a hard life but I remember such good and happy times during the years I lived on that farm with my grandparents. I was most fortunate that they lived to see me grown and with children of my own for them to cuddle. Both of my grandmothers worked harder and longer than any other women I've ever known so I reckon I learned from them that honest work never killed a soul. I'm certain that I'll never be the woman they were though, and I don't believe I'll ever meet or know as honest or hard working a man as my grandfather was.