Nelda was the first grandchild for our Grandma and Grandpa Ezell. This gave her two grandparents, 3 uncles and an aunt that doted on her. Imagine her disappointment when three years later, I was born. She had believed my parents were her second set of parents. Fortunately for me, she changed her mind about me and we became very close. We spent a week or two every summer with our grandparents plus Christmases. It was always more fun if she was there. We always had to share a bed and were very lucky if we got a real bed and not the roll-away. Winters were especially memorable because our grandparents didn't like to burn the Dearborn heaters at night. So we had to climb into bed under about 20 pounds of blankets. You had to jump in and freeze until your spot warmed up. Then you couldn't move because the rest of the bed was still freezing and it was hard to move due to the weight of all the blankets. There were always strange sounds outside and we tried to figure out what they could be. Our imaginations were always more creative with the scenarios than what was probably just an armadillo scratching around in the garden. We rode in the back of the pickup together, often standing on the side planks with our heads sticking up and the wind blowing in our faces. This would be frowned on in today's safety conscious world. Back home in Fort Worth, I remember many nights spent at her house. We always had a good time together.
It was also beneficial to have an older cousin that gave you her outgrown clothes. I always looked forward to a bag of her hand-me-downs. It was a sad day when I became larger than her and the hand-me-downs stopped.
When she left Fort Worth to live in Dallas it was as if she had moved to a far off world. In the days before cell phones and free long distance, it was unheard of to call from Fort Worth to Dallas, except for emergencies, so we wrote letters. Sometimes I'd go to Dallas and spend the weekend with her and Trey.
Fast forward to the years we both lived in Oklahoma- she in the Oklahoma City area and me in Tulsa. Her job brought her from Oklahoma City to Tulsa frequently and she always stayed with us. I always looked forward to those visits.
Now that we live in Texas again, she has stayed with us on many occasions and we actually refer to our guest room as "Nelda's room." She was the best houseguest that ever existed. She never needed any special treatment, knew where everything was and pitched in to help with anything. When she and Johnny stayed with us at Christmas this year, she was a huge help getting everything ready for our family Christmas gathering. We had such a great time together and I'll always treasure our last visit together.
With her living in Oklahoma and then Georgia, I tried to keep her updated on things going on at home. Tuesday, when I met our youngest cousin's boyfriend, my first thought was that I couldn't wait to call Nelda and give her the whole story. Then it struck me. That wouldn't happen anymore and there is no one else I'm dying to tell. I'll just have to save up all the stories and tell her when I see her again.