There’s something about things from the past that just call to me, and I cherish any remembered glimpses of Mom, Granddad White and Aunt Gerry.
Long before we came to know him as Granddad White, he was stepdad to our mom and “unky” (an endearment for uncle) to Aunt Gerry. Bea and Gerry got along famously right from the beginning when they were just kids and Aunt Gerry would visit her unky from Alabama where he lived in Imperial, California.
Granddad White was the world’s biggest tease (as we six Benson kids would learn in later years), and you never wanted to give him any fodder, as he would never let you live it down. And, although his teasing was done in a loving and very affectionate manner, it was still embarrassing and to the hilt or the 9th degree!
It just so happened that on one of her summertime visits, Mom and Aunt Gerry had to use the outhouse, and decided to “sit together.” As teenagers often do, they got to talking and sharing and giggling, and they fell into the mire.
Their first thought was to somehow escape Granddad White seeing them as they walked across the lawn, arms set apart, dripping in “it” from head to toe! But, escaping his “eagle eye” was not in the cards, as just at that moment he happened to be walking by! Yes, he came, he saw, he teased them on the spot, and he would tease them long afterward about their “twosome dip” into the bottom of the outhouse.
He would repeat the story in later years to we six Benson kids, plus Aunt Gerry’s three, and everyone who would listen knew that Mom and Aunt Gerry had fallen into the outhouse together when they were young teenagers!
I recall the last time the incident was talked about was at the 34th Benson Family Reunion in September 2011. That would be the last reunion Aunt Gerry attended before her passing at the age of 97 in 2012. She never missed the annual event, and the Bea Benson Award was created in 1986 to specifically commemorate the high regard and affection felt for her by the Benson family.
We still talk about her wonderful “Southern cooking”, and how we looked forward each year, at reunion time, to her delicious (grand size) homemade cinnamon rolls and her to-die-for-lemonade that were sure to grace our potluck table.
The subject of the outhouse incident and what happened that long ago teenage summer day still brought back chuckles and glimpses of three beloved family members…Mom, Granddad White and Aunt Gerry.
Yolanda Adele is a member of the writing class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. It is held off-campus at the Norwalk Senior Center.