I was less than 3 years old when I lost my grandparents in a crowd, or should I say they lost me. I called my grandparents momma and poppa; they cared for me. My parents were divorced.
Most “big ladies” had fur coats. Poppa traded a car he had overhauled to buy Momma’s full-length silver fox. My mother had a full-length fur too. Mother worked at Lake City.
This adventure happened when we went shopping at Montgomery Wards. Poppa parked the panel truck, and we crossed St. John Avenue looking both ways. We went inside the huge store.
I held on to Momma’s fur coat as she shopped. Poppa went ahead to the automotive section. Momma turned a corner and I had to grab for her coat. Suddenly, I noticed I wasn’t holding on to Momma’s coat! I looked up, and there was another lady smiling down at me. I ran.
I had lost my grandmother! I ran all over the store, being so tiny was really a problem. I recall seeing the floor and feet under the fur coats, I didn’t’ see anyone’s face. I went to the entrance and I waited.
After a while I went outside. I watched the street until I saw there wasn’t any traffic, and I ran across to the parking lot. The old slate gray panel truck had windows that never rolled all the way up. That was good because I was never strong enough to open the door. From the running board I climbed to the fender and squeezed inside of the window. I got on top of the steering wheel so I could watch outside. When I was comfortable, I cried.
What took them so long? I waited and waited. I finally saw them. Momma was crippled, but she was running. They were all smiles. The people in the car parked next to ours said, “The little girl looked for traffic before she crossed the street. She knew how to get inside the truck without opening the door!” They laughed.
As we traveled home they told me how they had searched all over the huge store for me. Poppa said he knew I’d be in the truck. This comforted momma, who had been frightened.
Many years passed. My parents’ house had burnt on the R.D. Mize Road. I was living with my grandparents again. I missed Independence Junior High School, but under the current stress I was fortunate to be alive. I saved my family from burning in the fire. We were all displaced. Independence poured out their love by giving us useful gifts after the fire. They called my grandmother’s Kansas City phone number with donations.
I was going to the Pla Mor Ballroom for the Job’s Daughter Ball. My dress was a Paris original, it was stunning. It came from Bundschu’s in Independence. My shoes were gold sling pumps. They came from Knoepker’s, also in Independence. My little sister chased the shoe salesman with her new teddy bear, the toy was bigger than she was. It was fun shopping on the Independence Square! Momma had planned this event beautifully for me.
“Momma, what ever happened to your silver fox coat,” I asked. “Oh you remember it?” She hugged me. “I didn’t like that coat after you got lost at Montgomery Wards. I should have been holding your hand. I didn’t even like to see that fur in the closet, so I gave it to Aunt Jeanie.” We laughed. I told her I remembered the whole incident.
The doorbell ran. My date helped with my fur coat. He had a yellow rosebud corsage and he put it on my wrist. I waved to my grandparents. I wear grandmother’s modest wedding rings today. Did any of you have “special grandparents?” I most certainly did. Ah, such memories!