In-law family memories

Published 9:49 pm Thursday, September 28, 2017

This past week Marilyn’s uncle, Frank, ended his journey after fighting a number of issues for years. Frank was in Vietnam and was a victim of “Agent Orange” perhaps even more than a human enemy. Although that had its impact too, I’m sure.

I didn’t know him before the war, but you could tell he was affected by it. That, somehow, he would never quite be the same.

I always liked Frank and loved going to Thanksgiving with the amazin’ blonde’s family across Houston where her grandma lived. All of that side of the family would be there.

I was always kind of a fan of Frank’s older brother George because he seemed to go out of his way to make everybody feel a part of the family, especially notorious in-laws. He’s taking it hard losing his little brother, but on Friday he will muster up the courage to say in few words what a preacher couldn’t say in half a day.

Marilyn’s brother Jerry immediately wrote some memories of when the Dickinson and Moore families were young.

Jerry tells of one day he was there with Frank, and Frank wanted to go to the movies. Jerry didn’t have any shoes, but that didn’t stop them from  borrowing a quarter or two from their grandma and going barefoot. That’s all we need to know to know things were different back then.

He also told of the time they were all boys, and Jerry and Frank started a club called “The Pirate Club” and hid their loot under the house Marilyn’s folks lived in. The loot was the usual: marbles, baseball cards, old coins. But Frank and Jerry wouldn’t let Jerry and Marilyn’s brother, Billy, in the club because he was too young.

So, George, the oldest, took Billy under his wing and started their own club. They called it the “Bubble Gum Club.”

I don’t know what they did in their club exactly, but  they didn’t have to do much of anything. When you have a club called the “Bubble Gum Club” you can pretty much sit back and smirk, and strut, because you have the best name in town.

I liked hearing those old stories, and kind of “chewed” on them while going about my work this week. They made me feel good down inside and reminded me of my own LaGrange good times, slow summer days down on Truitt, and Juniper, and over at the vacant lot by the fire station on Murphy.

You can’t help but sigh. Life was way simpler back in the days of the “Bubble Gum” Club.

Steve Bowen is a former Granger who lives and writes in Red Oak, Texas.