Life is What Happens

The title of my blog "Life is what happens" was inspired by a song which John Lennon wrote for his son. The lyrics of "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" contain the famous Lennon quote, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

Jewel and Big Kenneth

Big Kenneth was my father's dad.  He was never around much because he always lived in some other state when I was growing up.  I saw him maybe once a year but always looked forward to it because he brought me special gifts.  He wasn't around much for my dad either because he was divorced from my grandmother Jewel who raised her boys alone as long as she could manage.  Because Jewel was forced to work outside the home, she sent my dad to live with his grandparents when he was 12.  Eventually she had to send her other two sons to live with the grandparents as well.This did not make Big Kenneth and Jewel bad in the families' eyes.  Everyone always loved them and never criticized what they had to do.

Big Kenneth, Uncle Charles, & Grandpa Lockhart, 3 generations of service to their countries.  
Civil War, World War I & II.  

Big Kenneth worked for Brown & Root and was sent all over the United States by his company.  He was a World War I veteran and developed a horrible lung condition from being gased during the war.  I remember after every meal at our house how he would have to go outside for his horrible sounding coughing episodes.  He was a quiet and kind man as far as I could tell.  Although I don't remember seeing great affection between him
and my father, I never heard my father say a bad word about him.  Once I remember Daddy being gone for a long time to Tennessee because his dad was very sick.

Big Kenneth died when I was in 8th grade, so I never really had a chance to know him very well.

Now Jewel was another story.  She was my princess grandmother with fiery red hair and a prissy personality.  I did not get to spend as much time with her as with Big Mama because when I was very young, Jewel lived in Chile.  She married her second husband Jim who was an engineer in Chile.  They had known each other when they were young and reacquainted by mail after her divorce from Big Kenneth.  Since his company would only pay for her to come live with him if they were already married, they had to be married before she went.  This is how the family-famous "marriage by proxy" came about.  Jim's mother "stood in" as Jim, and the judge married them by proxy. 

In the early 1950's Jewel and Jim moved to Fort Worth and bought a house on El Campo Street.  Jewel worked as a switchboard operator for Harris Hospital, and I remember seeing a picture of her all dressed up with a hat and heels on while sitting at the massive switchboard with all of its plugs. 

We often went to see her on Sundays and had lunch at the original Luby's on Camp Bowie.  Jewel always insisted on paying for lunch, and I remember until she died, she would not rest until she either paid or paid back if someone else paid. Several times Mother found money after we left Jewel's house stuck in her purse when Mother wasn't looking.  Jewel was determined, strong, and concerned about everyone.  I know many of my characteristics came directly from her genes. 

Jewel was a Tudor and according to family history was descended from Tudor Royalty in England. That confirmed what I already knew.  She was a princess, and that made me one in my child's fantasy mind. 

Jewel and Jim retired to a home in the big town of Tolar, Texas.  I was a young mother with two tiny babies at that time, and Jim would bring Jewel to my home to spend the day with me.  We had fun playing with my babies and cooking in the kitchen.  My favorite memory of her was the day we were cooking at my house, and Jewel was dancing and singing as we cooked.  I decided that very day that I would be just like Jewel and never grow too old to have fun. 

In January of 1970 Jewel had a complete check up by her doctor and was declared healthy.  The doctor was wrong because she died in March 1970 from stomach cancer after a six week illness.  The last time I saw her right before her death she was almost comatose but asking about my children and repeating their names over and over. 

Grandparents can be geographically close or far but all have an important role in our development.  Thank God for my wonderful ones.  
Jewel and two of her sons with Helen at Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.  

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