Playing Cribbage with Grampa Moore (from her book “What a Life”)
When I was around 5 years old, my folks had Mom’s parents, Charles and Charlotte Moore, move down to live with us in Fullerton. They were in their mid-seventies. My Dad had a comfortable room with bath added on to the rear of our home. This room had an outside entrance so that they would have their privacy — and besides it was probably much cheaper to build it that way instead of going through the outside wall of the house. They had lived in Virginia City, Nevada when they moved there in the early 1870’s for Grampa Moore to work in the silver mines, and he became a Superintendent with the Sutro Mining Company. They had migrated to America from England where Grampa had worked in the coal mines, settling first in Pennsylvania with a job in a coal mine there. My Mom was born in Virginia City in 1878.
Grampa Moore had a favorite big chair in a corner of our dining room. The chair was one of those Mission Style types, popular in the early 1900’s. Heavy, heavy oak legs, wide arm rests, and the back could be released back if you wanted to relax a bit and not have to sit straight. The seat was a leather-covered removable cushion, and the back also removable. It was a great chair, and I used to love to sneak on it when no one was paying attention, because I was always told it was Gramp’s chair. The chair was next to the big dining room window so he could get a glimpse of the street, but most of the time he would read the newspaper, then he would sit there playing solitaire. Then he would take a walk around the neighborhood for a little fresh air and settle his nerves, I would surmise. He was always yelling a lot at Granny Moore, and I really don’t know why because she was quite deaf and couldn’t understand half what he was yelling about anyway, and that only made him madder. When I look back on this, I think he was just frustrated with sitting around not knowing what to do with himself.
Grampa would try to get someone to play cribbage with him — his cribbage board was always close by; but no one seemed to have time. Granny sometimes would sit and play with him, but it didn’t go too well so she wouldn’t go near that corner of the dining room for fear of getting roped in to a little game. My Mom was too busy with raising us three kids that were still around, and Dad was away at work. And Buddy, my brother, who was 10 years older than I, was in his own little world with school sports — and excelling in them so no time for cribbage with our Grampa.
I will never know how it happened ….. all of a sudden there I was sitting there with the cribbage board between us, and Grampa teaching me the game. Well, I just fell right into it, loving every minute, and we would play for hours. I didn’t even bother going to the 3rd house up the street where I just loved to go and find the pan to wear at that rakish angle and sit on their front porch steps for awhile and watch the world go by on No. Pomona Ave.
Viv, my younger sister— by 18 months —- never got involved. She probably was smart enough by now to know not to interrupt something I was involved in. Besides, she had her dolls.
So there we were — Grampa Moore and me playing our little hearts out doing the “15-2, 15-4, and 4 is 8” and since he was a very wise Grampa he was probably letting me win a few games so I wouldn’t quit on him…..knowing me.