I have written about my grandmother, Effie Parks, many times on the blog. Here is a photograph of her in 1919, near Bend, Texas. She cooked for chuck wagons on several ranches along with her husband, Jake, who managed cattle on horseback. During the Great Depression, she sewed for the Works Progress Administration. In her last years, she worked as a telephone operator in Lometa and Bend, Texas. She taught me the rudiments of dominoes, playing guitar and hitting a baseball. She and her husband were married by a parson in an onion field near the Colorado River in central Texas. In her will, she divided her property among her two children and me.
This is my mother, Gywn. This photograph was taken about 1938 when she was living with her mother, Effie, at Bend, Texas. She married my father, Jack, in 1942, shortly before he volunteered to become a parachutist with the 506th P.I.R. He was a member of Easy Company, made famous by Stephen Ambrose and Tom Hanks. Gywn worked for over thirty years for the Southwestern States Telephone Company and General Telephone. She helped pay for my college education and gave Brenda and me the money for a down payment for a $35,000 house in Mingus, Texas in 2000. She would come to Mingus and visit us, sitting in the kitchen and looking out on the vineyard I had planted. She always had a quote of some sort to throw out for the occasion. One I remember is: Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies. She was Irish mainly, and proud of it.
I have posted these photographs and short commentary of Effie and Gywn because it is April and Spring is upon us and I never can go through this month without thinking of how Effie and Gywn and I traveled the backroads to Bend, Texas, and San Saba to visit relatives at Easter. The flowers of April and May emitted the most beautiful perfumes imaginable in nature. They talked quietly about plants and cattle and loved ones that we saw and loved ones that had departed. I sat in the back seat of the car and listened to their talk and inhaled the scent of bluebonnets and paintbrushes all around.
Today, Brenda and I can travel the same road to Bend, Texas, and flowers spring up again. We can go down that road and crisscross the same roads I traveled as a boy with Effie and Gywn.