I spent a lot of time with my father's sister's kids when I was little. My aunt would watch me for Moma and Daddy when they had to go someplace. It was natural for my cousin Randy to tag along with me and my Moma, too, sometimes. He loved to go with us when we went to visit my Gramma and Grampa Carter. He was a little charmer with those big brown eyes and his big white smile. They really got a kick out of him.
One time Randy was going to go stay with his Grandmother Shoates and, for some reason, I got to go along with him. Randy was two years younger than me. I can barely remember this so we must have been pretty little.
Grandmother Shoates was a weird old bird. She was tall and gangly and she was always puffing on a cigarette. My uncle, Jimmy, had been adopted when he was a baby so I always wondered how she felt about being a mother and grandmother. She didn't seem to be a particularly loving person. I never knew Jimmy's daddy because he passed away before I was born. Jimmy was always smiling and friendly and easy going. I figured it was a good thing he was adopted and didn't take after Gramma Shoates.
When Randy and I went to spend the day with Gramma Shoates we played around and didn't do anything particulary bad, or anything but she became annoyed with us. She said she couldn't take the noise or us any longer. She called a taxi and told us she was taking us home.
She put Randy and me in the taxi and rode over to Randy's house with us in tow. My aunt wasn't home and there wasn't anyone there to watch us but Gramma Shoates put us out of the cab anyway. She told us to sit on the steps until Vivian got home. Then she crawled back inside the taxi and rode away.
Randy's family lived in a threadmill house near the mill. There were dozens of other similar little houses in the neighborhood. Our uncle Bob lived up the street from them. We went to their house but nobody was home there, either. I think we played in somebody's coal pile for a while before we returned to Randy's house to wait for Vivian to come home. I don't know what happened when she came home and found Randy and me sitting on the steps but I imagine it caused quite a stir. Randy and I never did go to visit his grandmother together again. I imagine it was just as well.
If somebody did something like that today the law would get involved and the kids would probably be taken away from their families. I think someone should have dropped a net on Gramma Shoates. She was the one who was irresponsible. We were just kids. Crazy old woman!