The Charles Joseph Larkin

Family Memory

His granddaughter Tracy Larkin-Thomason writes of her grandmother Larkin
Unconditional Love

By Tracy Larkin-Thomason, December 26, 1998

To...go down memory lane, School Street was a second home for many, many years. Steve and I spent much of our early years at grandma's. For a while after we moved from High Street, our family lived on Maiden Lane, right behind School Street, then we lived on Main Street and visited grandma almost daily. When we started school, she used to send her handy man, Mr. Green (?), to take us to school every day. I had a second bed in her room for years (until I was 10 or so). When Crystal stayed with her, she and I would share the room nearest the large bathroom with bath in the front.

When we were young, all the nurses/aides would check up on us particularly during meals. Vegetables had habit of disappearing off our plates into the dog's dish. (He didn't like Brussels sprouts either). Steve and I used to go upstairs and if Ceil and Ethel would let us, we would play checkers with Neil. Neil had underdeveloped legs, but he put up with us regularly. Ada was always in the rocking chair, and there was an elderly couple who adored us kids. Her name escapes me at the moment. Gladys (an aide) would let us get away with most anything. My Aunt Linda (Baker then) also worked there. Steve and I were in her wedding, and she brought the wedding party over after the ceremony so everyone could see.

The top floor of the barn/garage was off limits and therefore irresistible. Years later she would tell me that she would let us get away with being there, "because sometimes she was supposed to look the other way". There was a huge tree in back of the barn perfect for climbing. We would always pick the daffodils from the creek in the spring. She always had bird feeders or suet out. She liked to watch them from the window when she was doing dishes. The rhubarb in the garden was a special treat to eat raw.

She always made us a huge breakfast, a glass of milk, toast, one egg soft boiled and cereal. Sunday dinner was always a big dinner. Dad was usually there, or he would often be down, looking for leftovers.

The pantry under the stairs was a great place to hide.

She had a great big tin full of buttons that I loved to play with.

In the summer she took us to the playground nearly every day. Sometimes she would take us to Jacob's Ladder and let us feed the reindeer. She would make sandwiches and drive us to some special place and let us run around outside up and down the hills. She would sing the umbrella man to us. She came in every night to tuck us in and say our prayers with us.

Some of the memories are of High Street too. Occasionally two or three times a year, she made us "the special drink", grape juice, ginger ale and a dash of lemon, or the salad with the little shrimp which we would eat out on the back porch (High Street).

She loved to go for drives, particularly in the autumn. She would drive a certain road that was "ribbed" because the vibration made Steve's feet tickle. When we came down a big hill she would "coast" the car for us. She would drive us to see the beaver's house. She took us for vaccinations. She took us to Georgia to visit Aunt Allison and her family. I left playdoh on her brick patio so I know I made an impression.

Grandma was my second mother growing up. Never in my life have I ever known such unconditional love. When I was in my first year of college, she would make pork roast for me every Tuesday night for dinner, because she knew it was my favorite. She would take us to dinner at the Log Cabin for veal parmesan. Every summer she would take us to Taghkanic Park for a picnic. She would make me spell the days of the week to her before bedtime. She taught me how to crochet and knit. She would listen to me read aloud to her for long periods of time. She would tease "Nobody loves me everybody hates me, I'm going to the garden to eat some worms." That plague was in her bedroom ever since I can remember. I can go on for a while. She was very special to me and made me feel very special to her.