My oldest daughter, Laura McElderry, was alert enough to find and give me a sheet of United States Post Office special issue stamps honoring "Stars of the Silent Screen". Of the ten stars, one depicted Harold Lloyd. Harold Lloyd survived the transition to "talkies", movies with sound, by occasional stints as associate director. I picked up the genetic trait of being near-sighted as did Harold Lloyd and my grandfather, Herman Lloyd.
Grandfather was an identical twin. His twin brother died at the age of five during an epidemic of scarlet fever. My grandfather suffered substantial damage to his hearing during this illness. Grandpa was an executive in the oil business. During the depression, he had no job. So he approached an oil company that was in trouble and offered to work for nothing and promised to save their business if they would hire him. As a result of his success, my grandparents were able to retire in comfort living in an upscale neighborhood. When visiting, I used to observe my grandpa as he went through his various rituals. Every morning, after breakfast he would sit at his desk and load batteries in his hearing aid. He would make careful notations regarding their dates and use. Then he would check the stock market listings in the paper. While very serious and reserved, he taught me a lot of games and spent much time playing with me. He called me "the gamester".
When the neighborhood decided our business was a nuisance, Mom built a new "store". Short of capital, mother sold all of Grandpa's stock (at this time they were living with us in a large two-family home with a piano show room). Shortly after this sale, the stock market plunged deeply (black Friday?) requiring many years to recover. Thus, narrowly escaping this adverse event which allowed us to "sell high" and have a very nice store in better location on 30th street. These neighbors were happy to have us build a duplex rather face declining property values if a "filling station" bought the lot. The duplex looked like a large single-family "L" shaped rambler with an extra room for showing pianos. It was painted pink which was roundly ridiculed, but started a tread of pink houses! That Mom for you. The duplex allowed our grandparents to live in the house with us as their care requirements increased.
Our neighbors had short memories. After a few years, the decided we had a large truck parked on the street too much. The truck was owned by an employee which sold pianos in out-state Nebraska. So we were forced to move the business again. For a short stint, the store was located in South Omaha in the slaughter yards region. In the longer term, a store was built in front of an existing home on Dodge Street, a busy street in a small business section. We lived in the home behind the business. My bedroom had the unique feature of a flashing pink light from the neon sign for the photography studio next door. Elaine was an excellent artist and worked for them coloring their photos by hand (this was before the advent of using color film for studio work). [need to ask Elaine about this ... color film did exist then?]
Favorite memories of my grandfather:
More to come ....
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