The story of Grandpa K and Grandma A  

mjtrcc 54M
93 posts
2/23/2006 12:25 pm

Last Read:
4/6/2006 8:11 am

The story of Grandpa K and Grandma A

Grandpa K and Grandma A married each other in the 1930's, and eked out a meager life together farming on the harsh but beautiful Iowa prairie. They had two children, Aunt J and my father, and they all lived together in a cramped, drafty farmhouse that wouldn't have indoor plumbing and electricity until 1957.

To help make ends meet during the war years and afterward, Grandma A worked doing in home assisted living nursing. One of her clients was the wealthiest family in their small town, a well-to-do farmer who also owned the road construction company that had the contract to build part of nearby I-80. H was one of the leading citizens of the tiny, close-knit community, The leader of the Masonic Lodge that was its social lynchpin. He was a jovial bear of a man, with a celebrated gift for storytelling. But H had very little to be jovial about at that time. H's wife had terminal cancer, and was in the final weeks of her short life.

By all accounts Grandma A was dutiful in caring for H's wife, despite the undeniable and growing attraction between her and H. But shortly after her death (too soon, read the scandalized local newspaper at the time), Grandma A abandoned Grandpa K, Aunt J and my father to make the mile and one half trip into town to be with H and his children.

The town was aghast (remember, this was the 1940's). Grandma A was branded an adulterer, H was branded a philanderer, Grandpa K was branded a cuckold, labels that, like Hester Prynne, they would wear forever. H lost his position of authority in the local Masonic Lodge, Grandpa K was too ashamed ever to attend another meeting. Aunt J and my father were forbidden to see their mother, forbidden even to mention her name in the house.

Of course, as the years passed, they did see her again. At first illicitly, but then openly, defying their father. As they married and had children, though, they had to make the difficult choices: which parent to invite to the wedding, which to the baptism. Each of us was instructed at an early age not to speak of one grandparent to the other.

Grandma A and H continued to live together, passionately in love, until H died in 1984. His legendarily giant heart was simply too weak to sustain him. It was my privilege to know him for 21 years. I have yet to meet his equal as a husband, father or grandfather.

Grandma A has had the final revenge. She simply continues to outlive her detractors, and the ensuing generations have no idea what a scandal she created. She lives simply, not willing to squander what H had accumulated.

Grandpa K never remarried, never even dated. When he grew too old to farm, he moved into town (Grandma A and H had long since relocated). He lived there in the tiny town that never grew any bigger with the passing years, known by everyone, in the company of his many brothers, widowers or confirmed bachelors all, watching and grieving as they withered and died. He passed away in 1987. He asked for a Masonic funeral.

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