My favorite Christmas present from Dad is both extremely geeky and incredibly mind-blowing. It is not much larger than a deck of cards but is capable of holding every photo I have digitally taken, my videos, all my research, the many versions of my two books, and all of my music. And after adding all this data to my new external drive, I have used only one per cent of its capacity. Whoa and Wow! Just try to wrap your mind around that.
While now organizing my digital life, I discovered an additional story about Grandma and Grandpa’s younger days which I’d like to share with you.
Grandma’s family never had a car. When her dad worked at a local grocery store, he would take the kids for a ride in the country (Boonton Township) in the store’s truck while making deliveries or would borrow it to take the family on an evening drive. That was there entertainment.
Her first car was the Chevrolet Grandpa had when they got married, which was the car they drove to Texas together after their marriage in 1951. As I have mentioned, Grandpa was in the Army reserves, and was recalled to service during the Korean War.
They lived in a two-room apartment, and like Grandpa’s apartment in Russia, they had to share the bathroom with their neighbors—a woman from Texas and her spouse who was also in the army. Grandma did not like her. She said she was a typical Texan who thought everything in Texas was bigger and better than every place else.
One day, she told Grandma to come watch a house being moved. Grandma, as typical of her wry sense of humor, told the woman it was no big deal, because in New Jersey she had seen whole houses, including the basement, being moved. Furthermore, she claimed that she even watched the Empire State Building being moved to another location.
The town of Killeen, where Fort Hood was located, was very small. There was nothing to do except go to the one theater located in town. One evening Grandma went to a show alone and was followed home by someone who even shined a light in the window. She screamed out as if she were speaking to someone, and the person left. She immediately called Grandpa, who returned home and brought her back to the base. She remained in the car until he finished work.
On Sundays, they would sometimes go to the base for dinner in the mess hall at a cost of $0.55. She would pass her days with the bragger from Texas and another woman from Chicago. That summer was the hottest temperature thus far for that area. In order to sleep comfortably, Grandma would sometimes put the sheets in the refrigerator to cool down. There were no air conditioners.
Fortunately, Grandpa’s service abruptly ended, and they returned to New Jersey in September after spending five miserable months in Texas. It was not a day too soon for Grandma, who missed her mother and could not wait to get back to Boonton!