I really don't remember a whole lot about my Mom's parents, Leo Joseph McQuiad and Mabel Sawyer McQuaid. Mother and Daddy to Mom; Mamie and Poppy to their grandchildren. What I do remember are two loving and lovely people, who loved each other, their "girls" and their grandkids.
I remember Poppy's Irish accent and that he manned a tugboat on the Erie Canal. One time he took us for a ride on that tugboat---I'm not sure now who went on that ride---and the motor caught on fire. I remember flames and thick smoke, but mostly I remember Poppy being calm and cool, making jokes so we wouldn't be afraid, while he got the boat, and us, safely to shore. Another time, when I was really little, I had an ear infection and Mom put the medicine in orange juice. It tasted God-awful! Poppy got me to drink it and then held me on his lap, all wrapped up in a blanket, and rocked and cuddled me till I fell asleep. I can still hear him humming. While at Aunt Ellen's once, we kids played this really stupid game where one of us would lay down in the sandbox and another of us would jump over that person from a step ladder. Well, on my turn to lay down, and Lindy's turn to jump----yup, you guessed it. She jumped right on me and knocked the wind out of me! She was so scared that she had killed me that she ran away, into the cornfield next to the house. Poppy again held me on his lap on a lawn chair until I calmed down. Lindy eventuallly realized I was ok and came out of the corn field----this was probably a matter of minutes all together but seemed like a lifetime! It may have been that same day that Billy's friend, Scotty, came to play and they started to throw stones. Poppy told them to stop before someone got hurt, but, of course, they didn't listen at first. Suddenly, he was on his feet, told Scotty to go home, which he did as fast as his legs would carry him, and proceeded to give Billy a lecture I think he remembers to this day! It's the only time I remember seeing Poppy upset, altho I'm sure there were others.
Sadly, Poppy died when I was very young. At that time, and thank God no longer, people were waked in their homes. Since he lived with us through his illness, he was waked in our home. I remember seeing him in the coffin and taking his hand , and begging him to get up and play with me. I got really mad that he wouldn't. Mom tried to explain, but I was just young enough not to really get it. He had brothers in the Massena area and years later, when Mom would be at my house in Dannemora, we would go to visit them. I enjoyed all the people (my relatives I hardly knew) and all of the stories.
I remember even less about Mamie, since I was very young when she died. I do remember she always wore a house dress and stockings that she rolled down on her legs. She babysat us sometimes while Mom worked at the hospital. One of those times, Lindy pushed me off the porch and I almost bit my tongue in half--I can show you the scar. There was a LOT of blood but really, that's all I remember about it. I seem to think I remember that Mamie spent a lot of time in the kitchen..
Mamie was also waked in our house. In the "front room", with the shades down and the curtains all closed. I don't know who was babysitting us but I have a very vivid memory of holding someone's hand as we walked from her house to ours. Mom met us at the door and brought us in to see Mamie and just as a few years later with Poppy, I didn't understand why she wouldn't wake up.
That's all I remember of Mamie and Poppy, other than stories that Mom, Aunt Rita and Aunt Ellen would tell us. And I know from their stories, that they were wonderful people and parents. Poppy love Mamie and treated her like a princess and she loved him just as much. They adored their "girls" and their grandchildren. Just nice folks who I really wish I could have had around a little longer.