When Grandmas Go Wild
My Grandmas personalities seemed to me to be at opposite ends of the “wildness” spectrum, and it was most obvious in this picture of my mom’s step mother Lillian Vera Epstein Moline. My other grandmother, my dad’s step mother Josie McVey Yates, was as docile as they come. I did hear her say “shit” once, but it was not her normal language.
I didn’t see my Moline grandparents as often as my Yates ones because they lived in Seattle and when I was growing up going to Seattle was a ‘big excursion’. I say that because before Interstate 5 was built all we had for the main road was Highway 99, and it took hours to get to Seattle on a two lane road.
My two sets of grandparents knew each other because at one time they lived in the same mill town of Bordeaux, WA. Grandpa Yates worked in the mill as a “setter” for the saws that reduced the big trees to long slabs of dimensional lumber. My grandpa Moline, who had more education, worked for the Mumby Lumber company as a salesman. His wife, “Eppie” was a registered nurse, but when they moved to Bordeaux in 1933 she kept it pretty quiet that she had any medical training so as not to be constantly asked for help.
Grandma Eppie had a very outgoing and humorous personality. Most likely because when you’ve been a nurse, you’ve seen it all and some human behavior can be pretty funny. Eppie’s ethnicity was Jewish. She was loud, liked to tell jokes, play bridge and smother us with slobbery kisses. Kisses were given while blubbering when we first got together for a visit, and the same at the end of the visit.
I can’t be sure who took this picture, but I suspect it was my grandpa Al (Elvin Moline) because Eppie would have done this kind of pose for him, and my brother Dave would have posed like that to go along with the frisky behavior. Grandpa Al always had a camera with him and usually one of the more expensive ones, rather than the “Brownie” box camera that my parents had. I’m just guessing, but I think this picture was taken in the 1950’s sometime, just going by the makes and models of the cars. The Ford in the background belonged to my Grandpa Yates and as far as I know he bought it new, with cash.
Other clues in the picture are my brother’s size which makes me think he was around twelve or thirteen. The shed in the background eventually was re-roofed and dad built a car port off the side facing us in the photo. I know one thing, this picture was taken before October 12, 1962 because several of the trees in the picture didn’t survive that storm. Surprisingly enough, the tree under where Grandpa Yates parked his Ford was a huge cherry tree and it did make it through the “Big Blow”. The other big tree in the background was an apple tree and it didn’t survive.
I realize that anyone else looking at this old black and white photo won’t have the same feeling about it that I do. Even my brother probably has other, deeper, memories than I do since he was older. This picture, for all of its ‘old-timey’ look and the antics of my grandma, is my connection to my history when we lived on Dennis Street in Tumwater, Washington. We didn’t live in a grand house, and we lived all the way at the end of the end of the road, but it was my world. I have history here. I have good and bad memories of living here. And, for the time the photo or this article lasts, it’s proof that we lived interesting lives. Rest in peace Grandma Eppie, you are not forgotten.