Correction to last post: Libby said I had a lot of my details right in the last post, except that her mom died five days before Christmas after my mom married my dad, so Mom wasn't there at the time, and she was around 8 when her dad died.
Soooooo we have a ten-year-old orphan living with her grandmother. We visited Granny and Libby when I was little. I remember on one visit, Libby took me to the store near their house. About all I remember about the store was the wooden floor, and that I wasn't tall enough to see over the counter. (As far as I was concerned, stores didn't start selling merchandise until I was about six--then I was tall enough to see what was there.) I also remember the smell of roasted peanuts. We probably bought candy, since Libby was a big candy kid--candy and soft drinks. Daddy said she would have a bowl of chili and an RC for breakfast as often as she could.
When Libby was 16, about to be a senior in high school, Granny got pretty sick. She wasn't able to take care of Libby anymore by herself, not that Libby was a problem, just that Granny wasn't well. They moved to Eminence and moved in with Mama, Daddy, Mike and me. That was so much fun. Libby would play with us and take us to the drug store for ice cream. She also walked to school with me. I started the first grade the same year she started her senior year, and we were both in the same school. I loved having an older sister around. There are pictures of me dressed up in her prom dress. I also remember being so envious of her getting to go to Florida on the senior class trip! We never even got to do that when I graduated from school, 12 years later.
Libby said Tuesday that Granny lived long enough to get her raised. She picked out Gene Banta for Libby. Gene was the older brother of one of Libby's school friends, Naomi. He had three sisters, ranging in age from senior in high school to a second-grader. I'm sure Daddy checked out his background--Gene was from a farm family. His father died when he was a boy, in a farm accident--his tractor turned over on him. So he and Lib both had grown up without a father at home. Once they were dating steadily, Granny died. Libby continued living with us and moved with us to LaGrange. She and Gene got married at the Methodist Church in Eminence the year after she graduated from high school. Pretty soon after that, Gene was in the Army, and Martha Ann was on the way.
After Martha was born, Libby was still living in LaGrange. She had a little apartment not far from our house. From the apartment, she moved into a trailer, then into again into another trailer, still in LaGrange. I loved to get to sleep over at her "house". Pretty soon, Gene was home from the Army, and the boys were coming along regularly--David, then the three younger ones, Jimmy, Mark, and Kenny Mike, five children under the age of 7, I think. A full house! Libby said the other day that she had always envied her next-door neighbor and life-long friend Alma as a child--Alma had maybe upwards of 8 siblings--so she decided to have a big family, too! What I also remember her telling me, though, was that all Gene had to do was sneeze, and she was pregnant. I remembered that when I had my own family and tried to keep my David's allergies under control.
By then they had moved to Louisville. I was in high school, and Libby was busy raising children. We loved to have her and her family come to visit, and we loved going to visit them. We also liked to take the kids places. Once we took Martha and David to the circus, at Freedom Hall in Louisville. They looked so cute. Martha had her hair French-braided--did I mention that Libby was a whiz with hair?, and David had on this cute little suit with button-up short pants that he had worn as a ring bearer in one of Gene's sisters' weddings. David did NOT like the noise at the circus--he cried, and Daddy had him in his lap, with his hands over his ears. About halfway through the circus, David had to go to the bathroom. Daddy had a dilemma--here was this little fellow who wouldn't let him take his hands off his ears, but he HAD to take him to the bathroom. Finally David agreed to walk out, holding Daddy's hand, and they went to the BR. When they got to the john, Daddy proceeded to unbutton the shorts--maybe six buttons. They were like sailor pants and buttoned on either side. Once he got them undone, he found out that wasn't necessary, that David still sat down to pee, so all he really had to do was to pull them down. That story got a lot of mileage in years to come.
Okay, Libby sounds like a nice enough person, right? I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to convey to you how special she is, and I think it's going to be a while before I get that figured out--look for more on Libby in another post.