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Chapter Two -
July 15, 2009 - Michael Palmer
The first year the newlyweds lived in a modest apartment but upon my arrival my grandpa Tony suggested that the family move in with him, he had a house all to himself and it seemed like a good deal. He got his housekeeper back and his new grandson to play with. He lived beside my great aunt Anna, who had taken over as mom for Alice when her sister Edith died. Her husband Lawrence Swaldo was on disability from breaking his back in a mine accident so he spent his days helping Anna spoil the new baby. The community was filled with friends and relatives, life was good.
A little over a year later my sister Licia was born and grandpa Tony told my mom that her and dad should just buy the house on an informal sort of land contract deal. This was the early 1960’s and mom’s brother was quite upset with the decision. You see he had planned on inheriting the house from Grandpa Tony and using that money to advance his own family finances.
We went on vacation to Kentucky and visited my Aunt Joyce, mom’s younger sister, who was a nun at a convent near Louisville. When we returned from vacation we were shocked to find that my uncle and his wife had moved us out of grandpa’s house. Well, actually they threw most of our belongings out of the windows into the driveway, so maybe moved is too mild a description.
My uncle forced grandpa to sell the home they had grown up in so he could have the money to buy a house in a “better” neighborhood. It was a traumatic experience, we were out the money we paid grandpa and out on the street. We moved in with Aunt Anna until we could find a house to rent. Then the twins were born, Denee and Renee, they were delivered at home then transported to the hospital by ambulance. Again, we had some good neighbors, one of whom was a single woman whom we adopted as an aunt.
Dad lost his job in the mine but found a job driving a bread delivery truck for Quimby’s Bakery in Uhrichsville. The four children grew and terrorized the block for the next two years until the bakery closed and dad transferred to work for Nickles Bakery and we moved to Cadiz. We lived in a house on the location of the current parking lot for Coffy's Supermarket. It was at this time my sister Renee fell ill. At first she appeared to have the flu but soon the symptoms became more severe and she began to have seizures. She was diagnosed with Meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.
My parents followed the ambulance to Canton Timken Mercy hospital and the other three children went to stay with neighbors. The doctors were not optimistic that Renee would make it through the night, her seizures were almost constant. She did survive, however the trauma to her brain from the bacterial infection was severe.
She returned home still suffering from seizures and had reverted to an infant mentally. Unable to walk, talk, feed herself and wearing diapers again. Through therapy and a lot of love and patience, my mom brought her back to a functional human being. We had to move again to be closer to therapy and relatives who could help us care for Renee, so it was back to Uhrichsville. As Renee recovered, she began to develop an odd behavior, she would climb to the top of the television antenna towers and would hang there and sing. Entertaining for her, but this would cause panic when unsuspecting residents would find a four year old perched 40 foot above their lawns.
Dad took a job with Montgomery Ward and we moved to Dover. Next time - Chapter 3 Grandpa Tony Returns
Yes I was cute, I was squirming and I have my elbows on the table.
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Alice with little Michael in the snow