So, back to spending the night with Grandma! Houses and perfumes and foods have certain smells and they remind you of things. I have certain smells that remind me of Grandma … good ones… and I love it! It brings back all of the memories.
My grandma’s name was Dora Mae Elizabeth Pearcy Stites Hutton, “if you want to get technical” she said. My grandma’s mother was Elizabeth Pearcy and I believe that she married Abner Edgar Stites. Therefore, Grandma was Dora Mae Elizabeth Pearcy Stites Hutton. I am sure this was not her legal name, it was Dora Mae Elizabeth Hutton after she married. Grandma was just being “technical”. Grandma also went by the name of Dodie or DoDo. All of us grandchildren were told to call her DoDo. Somehow, that felt sort of disrespectful and insulting, but I guess it never reminded her of the bird.
Speaking of birds, she raised parakeets! I guess she had a lot of them. I was told there was even a special place where she put the nesting ones and she allowed us to watch the eggs hatching, if we were around. If I ever witnessed this, I do not remember.
To me, they were absolutely beautiful and I love the color! She had two or three that I can remember and eventually there was only one blue one. She trained him to do a “wolf whistle” and to say, “Pretty Boy” and “Hello”. There were more words he said and she kept a list by his cage, but these are what I remember. He just went crazy when she talked to him. He danced back and forth on his perch and just talked and talked back to her. He really loved her! She had mirrors on the cage and he would look in there and talk to himself. She had little toys for them to play with, little plastic balls with bells inside that they could spin and other stuff. When I spent the night I helped her clean the cages and she would let them come out and sit on her arm for awhile. Of course, I was always somewhat scared. Okay, maybe a lot scared. Haha. She would have me go outside and find a special seeded type plant that grew wild in the grass and give one to the birds. They loved it. She said it would make them sing more. I do not remember what it was called and I could not find an image as there are so many. When I see it in the yard this summer, I will post a picture. Every time that I see it, I remember Grandma and her parakeet.
Grandma also had a little plastic tree on a stand with little branches that she put gumdrops on! We were allowed only one or two and my favorites were the whitish ones. They tasted like licorice. One time, I got to fill the tree. I thought it was the neatest thing ever. In thinking about it, I am not too crazy about the idea of eating candy that has been sticking on a tree collecting dust (among other things) for who knows how long. Also, it did sit on the counter near the bird cage. It was a nice memory, though!
Since we lived in the country, it was a real treat to hear the bells chiming on an ice cream truck! Grandma always had her money ready and we would run out and have a treat. What a cheerful noise that ice cream truck made, perhaps in part to knowing that the sound brought a treat! We would sit on her front porch and eat it. Sometimes neighbors would come and sit on the porch as well. When I finished my treat, she would let me walk up and down the street, but only as far as she could see me.
Some evenings we would walk out of her back yard and cross the street to the park – North Park. She would just sit on the stoop of what use to be her grocery store and watch me play. Somehow I did not much enjoy it since Grandma was over there sitting by herself. I would swing or go down the slide and turn to wave at her. I would rather play bunco or rummy with her or just sit and watch television with her. I never played over there for long.
They had a house built on 310 North Sixth Street while they lived in the house to the north right beside their lot. This is all in Charleston, Illinois. I do not know the number of that house, but it is still there as well. Grandpa’s blacksmith shop was at the back of the lot of 310 North Sixth and it had an address of 309 North Fifth. To the south of the blacksmith shop was their store right beside the shop. I do not know the address of that either. The store was torn down not too long ago and the blacksmith shop is still there. He had a blacksmith shop prior to that location but it burned. I have photos of that to post later. The house at 310 North Sixth still has the same green shake shingles! They owned another house a few streets over, maybe 7th or 10th? I am not sure. They had a store there in the front or back of the house and some lady ran it for them.
Well, I certainly was mistaken! There will have to be more than a part 1 and part 2 of Staying the Night With Grandma Hutton. There are just too many memories and stories to tell. What great memories!!! Stay tuned for part 3 on one of the next blogs!