Friday, May 25, 2012

"OK, Pop, Turn Over"

Mom and Pop Friddle moved to Lewiston, ID around 1928 from Pomeroy, WA.  They had moved to Pomeroy, WA in the early 1920’s so their oldest son could go to school.  As soon as he graduated from high school, they moved to Lewiston, ID.  They lived for a while in the east part of the Orchards just south of Lewiston, ID.  At the time, the Orchards was not a part of the city.  They bought a large piece of property on the corner of Thain and Stewart and lived there the rest of their lives.  Pop Friddle worked for the irrigation department and made $1 a day in salary.  Half of that money went to pay for the land and the rest to support his family.

By the time my mother was born in 1941, Mom and Pop Friddle had raspberry bushes that they picked and sold the fruit as well as fruit orchards.  They also had huge gardens every year.  They gave a piece of their land to the daughter as a wedding present and she and her husband built a house just a short distance away from her parent’s home.  Mom was the second of two children born to her mother, Capitola and her father, Richard.  Mom’s favorite person in the world was her grandfather, who she called Pop.   When she needed a hug or sympathy she went to her Pop and got a big bear hug that let her know that she was loved.  When her father died when she was 6 years old…I’m sure that male presence was even more important.  By the time she was 8 or 9 years old, Pop Friddle’s health had began to fail and he was home much more.  He spent a lot of time around his home filling his time with work around the house and yard.

Every spring my mother remembers her grandfather complaining about the iris.  He hated iris with a passion.  Mom remembered him digging and burning the iris leaves only for them to come up again the next spring.  He was convinced that you couldn’t kill it and considered it the bane of his existence…at least in the spring.  Mom remembered him telling her grandmother to never put iris on his grave because if someone did then he would roll over in his grave in disgust.  Mom Friddle would smile at him and I suspect she always remembered his intense hatred of iris…she probably replanted some every year just to enjoy his disgust.  They were a wonderful couple – both had a great sense of humor and liked to play jokes on each other.  My mother remembers her grandparents telling stories on the other that everyone  knew was completely false and the other would just nod their head and smile. 
Mom and Pop having a good laugh

Pop Friddle’s health declined to the point that he suffered a bad stroke just after Christmas in 1954 and died on 4 January 1955.  My mother remembered sitting beside him as he died holding his hand.  It was a devastating blow to the entire family – but especially to his wife of 47 years.  That spring my great grandmother and grandmother gathered flowers to take down to their husband’s graves for Memorial Day.  It was a tradition in the south to decorate the graves and it was something that they embraced.  Mom Friddle gathered the biggest bouquet of Iris that you have ever seen and placed it on Pop Friddle’s grave and said “Ok, Pop…turn over!”  I imagine that my great grandmother shed a few tears on the first Memorial Day after Pop’s death…but I also think she might have had a good giggle on having the last laugh on her beloved Pop.

Mom Friddle over Pop's Grave
Mom Friddle survived Pop another 24 years.  For much of that time, she placed a huge bouquet of iris on his grave and said the same thing “Ok, Pop…turn over!”  When she could no longer go to the cemetery, she made my mother promise that she would always make sure that Pop would have iris on his grave.  Some years were harder than others to find enough iris to make a bouquet.  Mom had a few plants out back that didn’t always cooperate in giving us iris in time for Memorial Day.  Sometimes, she even had to buy iris…but every year, she kept her promise.  The last few years Mom was alive, she looked to me and told me that I had to keep her promise to Mom Friddle.  So…Dad and I have gone out to my aunt’s house and picked iris on a hillside, we’ve gathered blossoms from my sister’s home and neighbors.  We have even had to buy it.  This year I planted some iris in hopes that I would have a few more blossoms to work with…but the new iris hasn’t bloomed yet – but I do have a few on the older plants.  So, tomorrow evening, I will pick the iris that we have and Dad and I will go down and probably use mostly silk flowers on the other graves at Normal Hill Cemetery…but at Pop Friddle’s grave, we will place a bunch of iris.  Knowing Mom Friddle – she is probably elbowing him and giggling up above while he is groaning in disgust as she tells him “Ok, Pop…turn over!”