Tuesday, September 29, 2009

But enough about ME! Let's talk about Gigi!

Gigi hasn't always been Gigi.  She used to be Gigi and Papa.  But that was before Papa passed away six years ago on my birthday, (which goes to show he liked me best). 

He was buried on my sister, Melanie's birthday, (which goes to show he liked her next best). 

Papa was a bad boy from Malad, Ideeho.  

Well, he wasn't really a bad boy, per say, more a farm boy with a lot of angst.  He wasn't a lover as much as he was a fighter.

In fact, he was a champion featherweight fighter.  Until he decided to enlist during World War II.

But that's a whole nother story, which includes a lot of blood and guts, and a little bit of guts and glory.

The first thing I remember about Gigi and Papa was that they lived in a little pink house with round front steps on Maine Street in Long Beach, California.  How Papa and Gigi got from getting busted up in the ring in Ideeho to getting busted up in the war in Europe to a little pink house on Maine Street in another whole nother post.

Alls I knew was that as I child I got to spend the summers sitting in Gigi's recliner watching The Beverly Hillbillies, H.R. Pufnstuf and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters

If I had time left over I'd also watch Underdog, I dream of JeanieGet Smart and Green Acres. During commercials I did cartwheels down the hallway and snuck Oreos from Gigi and Papa's ceramic apple cookie jar.  

Gigi's real name was Venna Emma.  She worked the night shift as a nurse and the day shift as a zombie.  In the afternoons she would wake up and open a can of bean with bacon soup for my lunch.  I once made the mistake of telling her that I loved Bean with Bacon soup so much I could marry it.  And eat it for every meal.   She believed everything I said and performed the wedding ceremony herself. 

In the evenings, when Papa came home from his OK Tire shop we would all sit together, eat salt water taffy and watch Pyramid and Press Your Luck before my gigi had to go to work. 

Sometimes my gigi would turn off the T.V. and drag me, kicking and screaming, to the beach.  "You WILL enjoy this if it's KILLS you!" she would say as she was dragging me, kicking and screaming, down Shoreline Drive. 

Other times she would turn off the T.V. and drag me, kicking and screaming, to the brown house with the square front stairs on Cedar Avenue where my other grandma and grandpa lived.  But there were no Oreos or recliner chairs on Cedar Avenue.  There were only scriptures and revelations.  

When I got older my Papa sold his OK Tire shop and moved Gigi into a double wide trailer in California City, smack dab in the middle of the Mojave desert.  It wasn't far from Edwards air force base and K-Mart.  

Sometimes Gigi would turn off the T.V. and drag me, kicking and screaming, to the blue light specials, but usually we just sat around watching Twilight Zone marathons and eating Casadias. 

It was a little piece of heaven pie, and I looked forward every summer to getting out of weeding the garden and scrubbing the toilets at my house and chillaxing at Gigi and Papa's house, where the toilets magically cleaned themselves and the cookie jar was always magically filled to the rim.   

I also looked forward to getting out of Provo.  I'm a runner, that's what I am.  And not the kind that burns calories.  I'm also an escape artist.  I used to disappear all the time.  When I reappeared I was usually seated at the Provo public library reading Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys or sitting in the movie theater on Center street.  Sometimes I would just be wandering around downtown meandering through Woolworth's or Lerners or J.C. Penney, but that was later on, after my dad died, when I had to ditch math class before I turned into a pumpkin.  

While my dad was alive I spent a lot of time watching soap operas or listening to the Carpenters or rearranging my bedroom.  One day I my dad sat me down and told me he was worried about me because I was so withdrawn all the time.  I told him I was worried about him too because he was so strung out all the time.   He said, "You read too much!" and I said, "You shoot up too much!"  Then we had a knock-down, drag-out fist fight.

That's how we rolled.  

No, that's not how we rolled.  We avoided eye contact and touchy subjects. That's how we rolled.

We never had any Calgon, but I always had my gigi and papa to take me away.  They would often make the twelve hour trip from Cal City in their brand new Subaru to spend a week doing our dishes and sharing their Instant Breakfast and screaming about our boa constrictor crawling out of the heating vents.  

Then one night they'd load up their car and say, "Who wants to come back with us this year?" 

"I do! I do!" I would squeal.  Usually I was the only one waving my hands in the air like I just didn't care so they'd throw my suitcase in the back of the Subaru and tell me to get a good night's rest.  I never slept a wink.  It was more exciting than Christmas morning.  The only difference was I knew exactly what I would get.  I would get to lean forward from the back seat and perch in between Gigi and Papa.  I would get to listen to them talk and laugh and I would get to sip their Shasta Cola and I would get to sing CALIFORNIA HERE WE COME at the top of my lungs.  

I pretty much had a charmed life.  


Stay tuned, peeps, for more story, and for photographic evidence.  I'm trying to get my hands on some cute photos of Gigi after she became electromagnetized.  


Sandi said...


Sandi said...

First. And I even read it first. Oh my I felt like I was right smack in that subaru with you! You are such a good writer. Spelling- not so sure. Did you mean quesadillas? haha I don't even know how to spell it but I think I am closer than you are!
Love this post...Love your gigi!

Sandi said...

p.s. I also felt like I was right there in gigi's recliner with you too--my goodness we were couch potatoes weren't we?

The Crash Test Dummy said...

hee hee hee That's how gigi said it, CASadias so that's how I spelled it.

Maybe that's why we have bonded so well, we are both couch potatoes.

Sandi said...

Well of course! Silly me, I should have known you were spelling it as gigi pronounced it--haha was she from Ideeho too?
p.s. it is my ward luau tonight and I wish you were in charge! I am trying to convince them to play Jack Johnson and Braddah Iz for back ground music but they are not buying it. Luau's should not be put on by white folk. just sayin.

Nutty Hamster Chick said...

Everyone should be so lucky as to have a Gigi in their life.

ellen said...

I had a set of grandparents that lived in Long Beach too!

IWA (e - va) said...

Awesome Post... Gigi sounds wonderful!.....just like grandmas should be!

I listened to Carpenters growing up too! which is sad, because Im sure karen was long dead by the time i was born..... but I still love them and everytime i start singing any of their songs, i get weird looks!

Sandi... i've been thinking about you almost daily... sorry it's taking so long to reply!

Gloria (The Mamafamilias) said...

Okay, I'm hooked now and I'm officially ready for "The Rest of the Story."

I am LoW said...

Wow, it's like waiting for the Breaking Dawn. I think I am going to wait in line til midnight.....

(will it be posted at midnight?)


Martha said...

Did you hear about the earthquake in Samoa?

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Oh my goodness! No, it won't be posted at Midnight? I can't keep up with Stephanie Myer. But THANKS for hanging on the edge of your seat!

NO, I didn't hear about the earthquake in Samoa? OH my goodness. Is everyone okay? I'm going to go check the news.

Iwa, high five for Carpenters. Ellen, WHERE? Were they in Long Beach 1st ward?

Nutty Hamster Chick said...

That sounds fun to go to St George for the weekend. No I won't still be in Provo on Tuesday, but that's OK. I am coming back to Spanish Fork at the end of October for a baptism and baby blessing. So maybe we can tentatively plan for Brick Oven on the 30th. Of course you might be busy with Halloween parties with your kids at school. At first I was secretly gleeful about the fact that we would miss all the halabalu here at our elementary. But I just realized that we have no school on Friday the 30th for because we are celebrating the wonderful statehood of Nevada, hence we will be in Provo. So if it doesn't work out this time, some day I know it will. Till then we will just keep up our internet relationship. K.

Mariko said...

I'm not sure that's exactly what I would call "charmed", but it is lovely to have a little escape of a place to call your own.
Or at least one to share with a few other people.

Emily Anne Leyland ( Art-n-Sewl) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heidi Ashworth said...

This post was delish and not just b/c it was full of food talk. Congrats on your multiple callings and awesome pulpit feedback. Nothing like having a chat with your audience from the pulpit for making you feel like one of the crowd. :)

DeNae said...

My grandfather is buried in the Malad, Idaho cemetery. Malad boy, born and bred.

And I don't mean to make light, but when I was reading the opening paragraph of this post on my dashboard, it ended with the line, "He was buried on my sister Melanie" which, I'm sorry Crash, was just too dang funny for words!

The rest of this post is just awesome. You really are a terrific writer. It's almost as though you've had some experience with this sort of thing!

Becca said...

Love this post. Good grandparent stories rock my socks.

Dolly said...

Everyone gets how deep you are behind this humor..... that's why we are sooo captivated!

I spent two days in California City when I was twenty one in 1989. My car broke down with all of my belongings in it while I was moving back to NM after a year in Glendale trying to "make it" after college. I stayed overnight at the local motel on the highway and caught the bus to Pheonix the next day. I'll never forget the people and my experience there. People living out their lives in California City are unforgettable and are great characters for novels to say the least.

With the exception of Ideeho, I found myself in every part of your story. I was about to go to sleep and now I am wide awake and wishing there were pages to turn. Guess I'll have to read my scriptures so I can get sleepy again.

IWA (e - va) said...

btw... I think T and W look totally like your papa in his boxing picture!

Martha said...

Ok, I have to vent and you are the lucky one I am venting to.

So you know that one boy from Marshall I. that is constantly hanging out around the townhouses? He's still hanging out, and now he's hanging out w/ Elijah. They have been shooting little bb's through straws at little kids. Apparently, it hurts pretty bad. I didn't really care when Jim complained about it, but when Tommy comes home crying his head off with red marks on his back, I got a little upset. The kid is 14 and Tom is 4.

So at first I just told him to lay off, but then I decided that if I just let it go, it would continue. Because yesterday they were shooting Tausili, Hatrick and Tom. So I went back and confiscated the straws, except E. wouldn't give his up. So knowing that his family practices the "Natural Consequences" way of raising your children, I threatened to call BYU security. Well, that worked and E. gave up his straw. I'm still mad though. Picking on a 4 year old, unreal.

The Mom said...

I had such a boring childhood.

And I'm tickled that Hawaii is 4 hours behind Utah so that if you DID post at midnight, I'd get to read it at 8 pm!!
*(just realized that there's only an "L" between "ticked" and "tickled". I'm sure you can do something with that . . . LOL)

April said...

Grandparents are magical. They can save a child. Make a child feel like he/she is the most important person in the world. I am going to be a magical grandma. Every grandchild deserves one! But no lightning.

SWIRL said...

Martha you are too funny! I thought you handled it BRILLANTLY- and I told my hubby- and he thanks you! You "inspired" him.. now he knows how to handle E and give him natural consequences!! I guess it really does take a village to raise a child...

congrats on the callings-- you guys are going to be great! I think you need to pass out the foil pans from Cosco for your first ward partay-- and tell everyone to FILL it for the potluck.

YOu guys will be great!
You know you love it-- how is it you get passed over for Primary left and right?? Maybe the realize your humor would be under appreciated in the elementary age kids...