I’ve written about my grandpa, but not about my grandma. My grandma in her heyday was beautiful and thin. As long as I can remember she had dark brown hair, someone once asked me if she dyed it and I could honestly answer, “No.” When she passed away, her hair had only wisps of silver running through it.
A story on Facebook sparked this memory for me:
The date had to be before 1975, I always imaged these events to be set in the sixties but it probably had been as early as the fifty’s. My grandma, Helen, had several jobs. Back in the day, truck stops weren’t like they are today. My understanding is that they had full diners in them.
Helen worked in the truck stop. Knowing how she cooked she may have been the cook, knowing how she looked, she was probably a waitress. In walks a hobo. This hobo stinks and is wearing rags. The hobo sidled up to the counter and explains to my grandma that he is hungry and has no way to pay for his food. Helen was a compassionate woman, or it may have been her Appalachian roots that prevailed, but he did not leave the diner hungry. In fact, she put him to work after he ate.
Several days later a simple note came thanking her, or it may have been when he left I unfortunately did not write this story down when she told it. At any rate, she received a note that was signed simple HH. Not thinking anything of it she at some point disposed of the note.
I always imagined her watching TV, sometime later, when a man walked down the gangplank to an airplane and her recognizing the gentleman. On the TV the announcer speaks of the odd man who just disembarked the airplane and his many quarks, but also of his many accomplishments. I can only imagine grandma’s surprise to find out that she may have given lunch to Howard Hughes.
***I plan on writing this in story form, later, but I’ll have to take some liberties with the details as my grandma nor is anyone still living that can validate the story. The fun thing is that it’s so plausible because Howard Hugh did that sort of thing. He was the definition of the “Excentric Millionaire.”