Chapter 6


“Seemed the party had moved out back, so I’ve brought some of the food around,” Kimberly offered the selection on her tray to her mother. Betty looked them over and chose a deviled egg. “How about you, Jeff?” Kimberly held the tray in front of her brother.

“So, what have you been doing back here?” Kimberly asked

“Grandpa George has been remembering,” Betty answered.


“Thinking over his life and sharing with us.”

“Well, it’s my birthday. A man’s got a right to reminisce on his birthday. Me and this tree here we’ve seen our share of life. Like when you were born, Kimberly. It was a miracle. A gift straight from God.”

George smiled sadly and closed his eyes.

December 2, 1950

Mary paced, wringing her hands. “I hate the suspense. My little Betty about to have her own baby. Lord, strengthen her.”

“They’re taking good care of her at the hospital,” George said, trying to reassure her. “We’ll get a phone call when the baby’s arrived. You know we get to leave to visit Betty in just a few days. We’ll have a whole week in Alabama. The timing is working out perfectly. I’m sure she’s fine.”

“I’ll feel better when I’m holding that precious baby in my arms.”

The telephone rang and there was a knock at the door. Mary ran to the phone. George stood and answered the door.

“Special delivery telegram, Sir.” The man at the door handed the paper to George.

“Thank you.” George stood alone at the door and read the news just hand-delivered to him. He didn’t move.

“George! George! It’s a girl! Kimberly. Isn’t that beautiful? Kimberly Elaine Sanders. George? What is it? Who was at the door?”

George didn’t answer but took his wife’s hand and brought her over to the sofa with him. He sat her down and took her other hand. “It’s a telegram. William’s been killed in Korea.”

Mary buried her face in George’s chest and sobbed. He held her until she was still.

“I was proud my son wanted to join the marines and fight the communists,” Mary said. “But now I’m being punished for my pride. Oh, why did I consider it noble to kill a man?”

“Don’t be angry. He grew up to be just like his father. Remember, I enlisted too. The Lord kept me here but had another plan for William.” George and Mary held each other for a long time. Then George said, “Kimberly is a beautiful name.”

Mary sat up straight. “Yes, it is. Lord gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. He gave us a new life today.” Mary started crying all over again.

September 9, 1956

George gathered his granddaughter into his arms. “Look how big you are, Kimberly, almost six years old. ”

“And I have my first loose tooth.” Kimberly proceeded to wiggle one of her front teeth.

“Well, so you do.” George gave her a hug and a kiss on the top of her head. “Thank you for inviting us to visit you all the way in Alabama.” Kimberly laughed and twirled about in her dress, showing her petticoat.

Mary and Betty, with a yellow flower tucked into her hair, were preparing deviled eggs in the kitchen. “Mother, why don’t you finish here.” Betty turned to her maid. “Ida, you’re all finished for today. Mr. Sanders will give you your pay and I will drive you home.”

“Thank you, ma’am.” Ida left the room.

“Why are you driving her home?” Mary asked Betty.

“Don’t you remember about the bus boycott? None of the blacks have ridden a bus in Montgomery for nearly a year. Ida is a dear help to me. I didn’t want to do without her, so I drive her to and from each day.”

“I do remember hearing about it. They want to sit wherever they want on the buses, right?”

“They want to be treated equally. They are far from it though, but I guess winning one battle over the buses is better than giving up.”

“Are you sure you can drive in your condition?” Mary asked, concerned.

“Mother, being pregnant doesn’t make me an invalid. I’m fine.”

“Well, I’ll have everything ready when you get  home. There will be no TV dinners tonight.”

“Don’t complain about TV dinners. They’re a snap to make. The greatest thing since sliced bread!” Betty called as she headed out the door.

Betty was home by the time Mary finished the preparations and laid out the eggs, the Ritz crackers, pumpernickel squares, toasted tuna and Pillsbury rolls.

“George, come to eat. Ed Sullivan will be on at eight,” Mary informed her husband. “We’re going to eat in there.”

“Mary, don’t rock the boat. Can’t we eat our meal at the dining table?”

“George, we’re at Betty’s house. We’re going to do things their way. They even have one of these remote controls so you can turn on the TV without getting up from your meal.”

“They invented a computer so man doesn’t have to think for himself and now a remote control so man doesn’t even have to walk across his living room. “

“Don’t make a federal case out of it. We’ve never had it so good. No more rationing. It’s seems everyone is prospering.”

“Yeah, and we’re left trying to keep up with the Joneses. Do you really think this is all progress?”

Mary laughed, rolled her eyes and shook her head. “No comment.”

Betty shushed them. “Quiet. Elvis is about to sing!”

You ain’t nothing but a hound dog

November 30, 1959

“Dorothy, are you ready?” George called in through the front door.

“George, I bought this for Kim,” Dorothy came down the stairs holding a pink hoop. “Do you think you could hold on to it and take it to her the next time you visit?”

“What is it?”

“It’s a hula hoop. It’s the newest thing. The kids are going crazy for them.”

“Speaking of crazy, what are you wearing?”

“You don’t like them?” Dorothy turned around, teasing her aging baby brother. “They’re called pedal pushers.”

“You’re planning on leaving the house in those? In pants?”

“Oh, George, you’re such a drag.”

“ I’m thankful Mother and Father aren’t here to see this. What would Mother have said?”

“She would have shaken her head and sighed. I’m an old woman, George. Let me have my fun while I still can.”

“Come on. Mary’s in the car waiting. I have the tickets to the show, and we’re going to eat at McDonald’s on the way there.”

The Sound of Music, right?” Dorothy asked.

“That’s the name.” George told her. “It’s brand new and supposed to be very good. Let’s go.”

Dorothy slid into the backseat. “Hi, Mary. You look lovely. Why has it been so long since we went out on the town together? Have we gone anywhere since we went to see War of the Worlds at the movies? Do you remember Mother worrying we were being attacked when it played on the radio?”

They all laughed as they drove toward the city center.


What I know…

  • On December 1, 1950, 747 Americans were killed in Korea.
  • The news of casualties in the Korean War was delivered by telegram.
  • Deviled egg was a food of the 1950s.
  • The Montgomery bus boycott lasted from December 1, 1955 to December 21, 1956.
  • Elvis preformed for the first time on the Ed Sullivan show on September 9, 1956 at 8pm. 60 million people watched him perform “Hound Dog” on their color TVs.
  • One style of dress for girls in the 50s was the petticoat dress which made the dress puff out.
  • TV dinners were on the menu in the 50s.
  • Remote controls for TVs were first mass produced in 1956.
  • Expressions: the greatest thing since sliced bread, don’t rock the boat, don’t make a federal case out of it, no comment, we’ve never had it so good, something is a drag
  • The hula hoop craze began in 1958.
  • The Sound of Music opened on November 16, 1959.
  • Pedal pushers were calf length pants worn by rebellious women.
  • War of the Worlds, the movie, came out in 1953.

Other news in the world…


Modern credit card introduced
First organ transplant
Peanuts cartoon strip started


Car seat belts
Polio vaccine


DNA discovered


Reported that cigarettes cause cancer
Segregation ruled illegal in US


Disneyland opens
McDonald’s opens
Warsaw Pact signed


Velcro introduced


The Cat in the Hat published
Sputnik is launched into space


Castro becomes dictator of Cuba

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