Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Book of Me, Written by Me–Prompt 7: Grandparents

I am participating in the The Book of Me, Written by You project which will last 15 months. Prompt for week 7 is Grandparents.
  • What were their names?
  • Where were they from?
  • Were they related? – Cousins perhaps
  • Where were they born, another Country or state/area
  • Photos
  • What did they do?
  • Did you know them?
  • What was your relationship with them?
    If you didn't know them have you researched about them?
I knew three of my four grandparents. My mother’s parents, Tom J & Pansy Johnston lived in Pleasant Hill, California not far from us. We called them Tom-Tom and Mam-ma. My father’s mother, Anne M. Hork lived across the street from us in Pittsburg but when we moved to Walnut Creek, she moved to Burlingame and San Mateo. We called her Nana. She was separated from my grandfather, so I never met him and he died when I was 13. All of my grandparents have since died.

Mom’s Parents
Mam-ma and Tom-Tom
Mam-ma & Tom-Tom
Tom-Tom and Mam-ma were born in Texas, married in Texas, and had my mother in Texas. During World War II they traveled west to work in construction camps and finally settled in California. Tom-Tom was a carpenter and could build just about anything. We have some pieces of furniture that he built. Tom-Tom’s last job was with the Contra Costa Community College District at the Diablo Valley College campus. Mam-ma was a great seamstress and did alterations for men and women to earn money. Later she worked as a sales associate in a woman’s shop called The Clothes Horse. I worked a few weeks with her one Christmas season where I was to wrap the purchases in Christmas paper.

Mam-ma with Angel
Tom-Tom was kind of a gruff guy—not the typical grandfather, but he liked watching football, especially his Dallas Cowboys, and playing with his dogs. I remember the poodle Pierre, who he taught to stand on his hind legs and sing “I love Mama.” Mam-ma loved her dogs, too. Her last dog was named Angel.

Mam-ma expected us grand kids to behave--no running around, yelling, or slamming the screen door. We had to eat all the food on our plates—even the black-eyed peas! She would try out new recipes on us before serving them to “company.” Mam-ma took us shopping every year for new school shoes and she took us to lunch on our birthdays. Still, she was not one of those lovey-dovey grandmothers, who played games or read to us. She only had a few toys for us to play with at her house, but they had a great sycamore tree out in the front yard to climb!
Dad’s Mother
Nana was born in Montana. She attended a Normal school where she learned to be a teacher but also played basketball and tennis, and sang in the Glee Club. After her marriage to William Cyril Hork, they moved to Southern California and had 4 children. After separating from her husband, Nana brought her family up to Napa. She had to return to college to get a valid credential to teach in California. She taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Napa county. Later, she moved to Concord and taught at Williams School until she retired. She was a devout Catholic and also taught CCD over the years.

Nana was one of those fun-loving grandmothers who loved to play games and read to you. We learned lots of cute little songs that we sang while washing dishes or doing other chores. She also always had sour ball candies or other goodies to eat. One memory I have was the yearly Christmas present of pajamas that we were allowed to open on Christmas Eve so we could wear them to bed. They would always be made of the softest flannel material. She came to take care of us when my mother had the last two babies—the last time at Christmas. In the apartment building in San Mateo, there was a large park where she would invite all of the grandkids to have a big picnic. It was lots of fun!

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