This past weekend, I spent a few days with my brother, Jason, up in Morgantown, WV. We had a good time, and I had a chance to look through the old family photo albums, and I was reminded of several new stories. One of these was of my family’s trip to the county fair in Circleville.
My Grandmaw and Grandad at the Thompson Reunion 1967.
It was late August 1967, I know this because my Aunt Tam was just a baby. My granddad, grandmaw and the rest of the family went up to the Pendleton County Fair to enjoy the evening out and to watch the grand parade. Grand here is the operative word, the “Circleville” fair grand parade has long been known to be pathetic, with little more than a horse and a fire truck, but still, hundreds of people line the streets to take part in the annual event.
My grandparents about 1980.
Well this time, my granddad just got a new car (well…it was new to him but it would be a wreck by most standards), and after the parade, he loaded up the family and drove down the parade route, revving the engine and showing off his new prized possession to anyone who would look. Grandmaw was embarrassed by his goings-on, but didn’t say anything since at least she got an evening out of the house. At the end of the parade route, there is a sharp corner and my granddad never was one to be rational so amid the crowd of people, he honked the horn and cleared the way and then revved the engine, and tore out through the opening, squealing the wheels, and planning on practically sliding around the corner before heading for home. This would have been played out except for one thing, as he rounded the sharp corner, the passenger side door flew open. My grandmaw was holding my Aunt Tam in her arms, and refusing to let loose of her 6 month old baby to hold herself in the car, tried her best to steady herself. But with my granddad speeding around that corner the way he was, she couldn’t hold herself and started to slide out the open door of the car.
Seeing her starting to slide away, my granddad did what any husband would do in that situation, he reached over and grabbed ahold of grandmaw, but instead of getting a good grip on her, all he got was a handful of her cotton dress. Well, Grandmaw was a large woman and when gravity, a large woman and a flimsy cotton dress meet, you know the cotton dress is gonna be the first thing to give, and give it did. In fact, it tore completely off of grandmaw. My granddad was left holding the remnants of a cotton dress, and my grandmaw went rolling out through the gasping crowd in nothing but her bra and panties, all the while holding her 6-month old baby in her arms. Luckily, grandmaw rolled with it, and Aunt Tam was not hurt. Grandmaw’s arms were skinned up pretty bad, but she was well enough to give her idiot husband an earful when he came back to pick her up. Needless to say, that was the last trip to the Circleville Fair for my grandmaw, and my granddad never did hear the end of that one. I don’t know whatever kept grandmaw from killing him!
Grandmaw "Henry" about 1953.
The people at the fair thought it was remarkable that my grandmaw was able to keep her baby safe, and they looked on my granddad in disdain for years afterwards for putting grandmaw into such a predicament.