My Beloved Daughter,
The move from St. Charles to Van Buren (both Missouri, obviously) was a major interruption to our lives. Well, I was three, so it wasn’t so much for me. Your Uncle Greg was always pretty easy-going, so it didn’t seem to bother him.
Your Uncle Kenny hated it.
Aside from the cost of living being so high in St. Charles, I think the primary reason that we moved was that your Uncle Kenny was always getting in trouble with the law. He was only fourteen and was already getting into fights all over the neighborhood we lived in, Powell Terrace. Fists and knives were the weapons with which he was proficient and your grandparents feared that he might kill somebody or be killed.
In 1978, while visiting Grandpa Chuck’s parents, we discovered that there was a house for rent up the road from them. Add in a job opening at the saw mill that was at the end of their country road and Grandpa Chuck was bound and determined to move.
I don’t remember whose vehicle I road in but I do know Grandpa Chuck, who had no patience for Kenny’s rage, made him ride with Grandma Pat, who had unlimited patience.
The house that we moved in was a three bedroom house that had, MANY years before, been a country store. It wasn’t in the best of conditions, from what I remember. I can remember playing in the living room floor while the adults and teens were painting the walls.
The land that we lived on was four acres. We had a number of different blackberry and raspberry bushes, along with a wild strawberry patch. I can remember walking around those bushes to pick blackberries, also walking up and down the road and doing the same. I would carry a paper bag but, for every one berry that found its way into the bag, two would end up in my mouth. That was the neat thing about wild berries. You didn’t have to worry about insecticides and having to wash them before eating them.
Eventually, the landlord offered to sell your grandparents the house and land for the grand price of $7000. He even offered to allow them to make payments at a low interest rate. After your Great-Grandpa Winfred parked a camping trailer on the land, they ended up borrowing a lump sum from him to pay it off. Then they paid him back at zero interest.
Over the course of our time there, your Grandpa Chuck left the saw mill and went to work on the river. Your Uncle Kenny met his first wife and moved her into a camping trailer on the land before marrying her in 1985. Uncle Greg began a tempestuous, on-again, off-again, relationship with woman who would eventually become his wife and Jaimilee’s mother.
And then there was the antenna. But that’s a story for next time . …