Chapter 1 - Move to Virginia
Living in Virginia (the first time)
When Dad left the service we moved to Virginia, and he joined the electric company, Deco Electronics. The electronic skills, a relatively new and promising field, he developed in the Air Force served him and us well.
He told me the facts of circuitry, the significance of electricity, and that electronics was the future. I think if I’d been a boy, I probably would have felt it more acceptable to let myself learn what he taught. There were several times in subsequent years that I wished I could perform the tasks he tried to teach me.
I cherish a salt and pepper shaker set that I inherited from Great-Grandma Ritchie (Grandma Kemper’s mother). She wanted me to have the rocking chair set from her extensive collection because I enjoyed playing with them at her house when we visited. I vaguely have a sense of sitting at the foot of her rocking chair and playing with them although I would have been only two years old. I understand that subsequent generations aren't as attached to their parents' and grandparents' collections, and if you aren't interested in them, I'll try to donate or get rid of the spoons, cups/saucers/mugs/books/DVDs...argh, we have too much stuff.
Grandma Kemper stored enough food in her farm kitchen and canned produce in her cellar to feed a small army. Especially in the late summer when the vegetables from the fields and garden were brought in for canning fresh veggies abounded. Her mammoth garden took hours to weed each week. I’m pretty sure it was larger than our backyard.
Bushel baskets full of tomatoes stood on the porch right at my height and whenever I toddled past, I grabbed one enjoying its juiciness. Mom and Dad knew what I ate from the obvious color dripping from my face and down my clothes. A rash developed from the acidy fruit. I’m sure part of my love for fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes is that they bring back yummy subconscious memories.
I love the story of the time Mom and Helen, Dad’s youngest sister was still in high school but, decided to make root beer. They placed the sealed bottles in the cellar which, of course, exploded. Grandpa loudly criticized them for trying to make alcoholic beer.
For Anne’s birth, Grandma James rode all the way from Colorado on a train to take care of me. This offended me because I thought I could help Mom but Grandma came out anyway! Mom gave birth to Anne in the same hospital where Dad had been born nearly 23 years earlier, a fact Anne proudly admitted. I, fifteen months old when she was born, thought being a big sister the coolest thing in the world.
Mom told me as we grew up that she would get annoyed at me because Anne, who would typically cry when she put her down for a nap, upset me. I wanted Mom to make her happy like she did when I cried. Mom said I would toddle wherever she was and state, “Mommy, the baby is crying,” as if she couldn’t hear Anne’s cries.
After Anne’s first grandson, Brandon entered the world, doctors diagnosed him with acid-reflux as an infant, I wondered if the medical people had known to test for that, Anne would have been identified with GERD, treated and not suffered so much.
I loved Anne and did anything to make her happy. She was my best friend (and sometimes worst enemy!). Of course, she was considered “the cute one.” Our names evidence the self-fulfilling nature parents exhibit for their children. Dad named her for two girls, Mom and a cute girl at the skating rink named Ann. I was named for two old, to me, people. One, my maternal, maternal great-grandmother lost her life in her 30’s to the Influenza Pandemic. The other name, Sue, like your middle name Jesse is one that shows up in most generations going back to when the family originally came to the New World. Any wonder I felt responsibility to live up to everyone’s expectations?
Ann and the “boys,” as we called our brothers, went by their middle names, which I thought unique and cool. At one point I asked if I could go by “Sue” but it never stuck. I tried several spellings of my name. I shortened my name from “Lonnie” to “Loni” because I grew tired of being put on the list of boys when we went to new schools. Also, Ann added an “e” to her name in high school.
When your Daddy suggested your name, “Adam Jesse” I was pleased by the manly sound of it and how it honored my maternal grandfather, who overcame any obstacle he encountered and was a man of integrity, character traits I hope you’ll always exhibit.
We moved back to Colorado not long after Anne’s birth when my first conscious memories begin.
On an US Air Force base in Guam, your daddy’s Mom (Cornelia) and Dad(Clinton Lewis) found out they were expecting a fourth child, who would be your Daddy.
While there, your Grandpa Moore led a large children’s choir at church. An event that changed his life occurred when one afternoon a military airplane crashed into the base housing, killing many of those children.
Uncle Dick remembers climbing up on the kitchen sink when they heard a loud noise. He got up there just in time to see the plane crash.
The family moved to Texas when your grandfather was transferred to Webb Air Force Base in Big Spring. Daddy was born there in August and Daddy is proud that his birthday is the ninth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, which ended the Japanese aggression after that country’s undeclared act of war at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Daddy’s pride isn’t because he likes people dying, he doesn’t like people or countries defying rules, like the Hague Convention which states that countries must declare war before attacking another country.
He was named Robert for because his mom liked names that begin with “R” and he shared his middle name “Lewis” with his father.
The short time they lived there your Grandfather was Sunday School Superintendent.
Daddy joined a family with two sisters and one brother. Aunt Flo was ten when he was born, Uncle Dick seven and Aunt Nanc three. They tell stories of Grandpa and Grandma Moore dressing Daddy in cowboy clothes and calling him their little cowboy. Aunt Flo says he was more like the story of “The Little Prince,” in French Le Petit Prince.