I was born in Tampa, Florida, at MacDill AFB to my dad, an officer in the USAF, and my mom, Katie, of said officer on Nov. 14, 1947. Shortly after, my sister, Kathryn, was born at MacDill AFB also, on March 25, 1950.
Being in the USAF was challenging, especially for my mum, who had to pack and move us about every 6-8 months. I remember visiting the Sequoya National Park, Yosemite National Park, The Petrified Forest, The Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, Stone Mountain, Niagara Falls, the 1963 World’s Fair in NYC, Puerto Rico and dozens of famous places all across the USA.
I believe we lived in pretty close to 20 states. Maybe it just seemed that way. During the summers, my parents would leave my sister and I with my grandmother, Manila A. Williams, and they would take off for places unknown.
My grandmother Manilla, was old school. If we got sick, Castor Oil was the remedy. If we had a sore throat, she would tilt our heads back and pour Mercurochrome down our noses. Try that sometime! If our stomach hurt (it was best not to tell) because her remedy was ALWAYS…ENEMA TIME! Run, hide, grandma’s got that bag!
Oh, and if we got into trouble, there was no tongue lashing or slap on the hand. Grandmother had a Peach Tree. You’re probably saying, “So”? Apparently you have never had a switching from a peach tree! The worst part was she made us go pick our own branch! I remember that like it was yesterday.
One summer, I had a watermelon garden growing on the edge of her yard. There were also tomatoes, squash, etc. My parents were dropping us off. I showed dad my watermelon garden.
He was impressed. I had one watermelon about 8” long. It so happened that we going away to Summer Camp for 2 weeks and mom and dad would be there to pick us up from grandmother’s house when we got home. I was about 8 years old. This is the first time I had been pranked by my own DAD! He had gone down to the store and bought a 25 lb WHOPPER of a watermelon, cut the little melon from the stem and tossed it away, then taped the BIG melon to the stem. For all practical purposes, it looked like the real McCoy.
You should have seen the look on my face when I went out to check on my garden. There lay the BIGGEST watermelon I had ever seen in my life! Not once did it dawn on me that I had been pranked, until I picked it up! When I saw that tape, it was like a flash of lightning struck me! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I turned to look at dad and he had this sheepish grin on his face, and at that moment, I knew. “How could you? Better yet, why DID you cut my little melon off?.” He laughed and laughed. I felt like a big sap. My own father! *sigh*
Author Notes: Feel free to tell me if you laughed. I wrote this for my 92 year old mother.