Memories of Grandpa Henry Green
By Lucille Davidson
When I think of Grandpa I think of a tall, handsome man with gray hair and deep-set brown eyes. The first words that come to mind are kind and loving for he always put his arms around me for a kiss. When I was very small he always had a nickel or dime for me as I was leaving to go home.
My earliest memories of him were in the home they had on “F” Street which seemed a very large home to me with many rooms and an upstairs. There was a library with what seemed to me to be many books. A living room with sliding doors opened to the dining room which had a large oak table. I remember dusting the fat legs of the table. On the walls were two small paintings of fruit. There was a sort of day bed upholstered in leather with one end raised. There was a heavy velvet coverlet. The living room had a large leather rocker and a red cherry wooden upright player piano with a twisting stool. In the hall was a large painting of Adam and Eve leaving the Garden of Eden in a storm. All pictures had heavy gilded frames.
For several years Grandpa’s brothers and sisters had a surprise birthday party for him. What fun it was to turn off the lights and hide when someone announced he was coming and then to call our “Surprise, Surprise!” At these parties his sister. May Green Hinckley would give a reading of an English seamstress and then Grandpa would give his rendition of the patent medicine salesman and always there was laughter and fun. We would play a game of everyone sitting in a circle and passing a ring on a large circle of string around and the person in the middle would try to guess where the ring was.
It seemed to me that Grandpa was always dressed up in a white or good shirt. He was always neat and clean.
When my father, Howard Layton, married my mother, Leone, Grandpa made sort of stipulation that he always bring her back home for Christmas, so on Christmas we always went to Grandpa Green’s for Christmas dinner until his home was too small to accommodate the family and then Grandpa and Grandma and all the aunts and uncles and cousins came to our home for dinner. But there was love and closeness between the family members and the cousins.
It seemed that Grandpa’s Christmas trees were always the tallest I had ever seen. They always reached the ceiling and underneath he created a Christmas village with small houses and tiny people. Somehow I remember a girl with geese. There was a mirror lake and ducks. What a special treat when we children were allowed to play with the figures. The dinner table was never quite large enough and the young children sat at a small table at the side of the room. But I loved to listen to the grown-ups talking around the table long after dinner was finished. Sometimes the cloth would be removed and we would play the game of Knucks-Up. A fifty-cent piece or silver dollar would be passed under the table and the opposite side would have to say “Knucks Up” whereupon everyone would place his hands flat on the table and the opponents would guess where the dollar was.
My sister, Jean, and I would sometimes get to spend the night with May, all three of us in the same bed. She would tell the most delightful stories. In one bedroom there was a very deep closet that had a small window that jutted out onto the roof. This closet was both a delightful and a scary place. May was always a dramatic person and we spent many happy hours playing dress-up and putting on plays. There was an old barn in the back of the house that we sometimes got to play in.