Some four or five weeks ago I had a relatively bad experience turn into some very fine memories from my childhood. I took an unfortunate tumble in the tub five weeks ago on a Sunday morning. I bloodied a couple of toes, and cut and otherwise did slight damage to my right knee.
Went to see my Doc and found there was no serious damage. He suggested I stay off my feet as much as possible and use a cane for a few days to assist the knee. “You may not really need the cane but it will help some and probably get you some undeserved sympathy,” Doc commented with a big smile. It did both.
I first thought of having to buy a cane, and then remembered I had a cane at home that once belonged to my Great-Grandpa Herman Springer. He was an Ohio farmer in the southeastern part of the state not many miles from the Ohio River. He lived there many years with my Great-Grandma Amelia. They both lived long lives and I can well remember some good times visiting them as a youngster. Grandpa died on my Mother’s birthday, Feb. 5, 1942, and Grandma died about three months later. I was then 12.
I remember visiting their farm when I was six or seven, taking walks with Grandpa and getting some good food from Grandma. When we visited Grandma always had something that was my favorite. How well I remember talking with them, watching their big smiles and frequently getting teased a little. At that point I was the only great-grandchild they had.
A couple years later they sold the farm and moved to an apartment in Wheeling, W.Va close to my great-uncle Ernie, their oldest son. Things were limited in the apartment but Grandpa and I still enjoyed one another. They had a fireplace that was always burning in colder weather. That fire was a frequent recipient of tobacco waste Grandpa always seemed to have in his mouth. He chewed “Mail Pouch” regularly.
They were great country-western fans and attended the Saturday Night Wheeling Jamboree at the Capitol Theatre frequently. There they became friends with some of the entertainers who later went on the Nashville, Tenn. “Grand Old Opera” and had some limited success in Hollywood as well.
One of those was Shugg (sp?) Fisher. He gave my Grandpa Herman one of his guitars back in the 30s. Grandpa learned to play a few tunes on it in his late 70s and 80s. he was good enough to entertain his Great-Grandson and the rest of the family but a professional player he wasn’t.
When Grandpa and Grandma passed in 1942 I became the owner of that guitar. I was just beginning to play the saxophone and tinkered a little with the guitar but never really used it. When I went to the service in 1952 my parents moved and the guitar disappeared.
Thoughts of that guitar and Grandpa playing it remain with me 70 years later. In addition to that cane mentioned above, and used for the first time since 1942 recently, I have an old tie stick-pin of his that I still cherish greatly. Those memories and more have taken a lot of sting out of my recent fall, which is also history. Grandpa Herman and Grandma Amelia remain in my memories to this day.
Such are the people, places and things that have touched my life in my home!