In the photo above is Mom on the right, my brother Glenn, our friend Bob holding my brother Kevin, Bob’s wife Elaine, and me in front of Elaine. We had taken Bob and Elaine to the Frankfurt American Airport in Frankfurt, Germany, so that they could return to the States.
We first knew Bob and Elaine in Arkansas when Dad and Bob were stationed in the United States Army. Bob and Dad were reassigned to Giessen, Germany.
Dad went before we did to Giessen, and Bob went there before Elaine. Mom, my brothers, and I met Dad there about four months later. We had four flights from Louisiana to Frankfurt, and Elaine traveled with us on the last flight.
After Bob and Dad retired from the Army, they would sometimes visit us in Louisiana, and Mom and Dad would sometimes go to Arkansas to visit with them.
Bob and Elaine were older than Mom and Dad, and having them around felt like I had grandparents around me. We lived about five thousand miles away from home, where our grandparents, Bob and Elaine became a great set of substitute grandparents.
Elaine taught me how to crochet when I was about eight years old. She showed how to crochet using the thin thread used for doilies. She also gave me a watch of hers, which mom had to find a small enough band for the watch to fit my tiny wrist.
Bob had a “game” he would play with my brothers and me. He would hold a small paper bag, reach into it, and throw an invisible ball in the air. He would then catch the invisible ball in the paper bag, and we could hear a thump on the bag when Bob would catch the invisible ball. My brothers and I were amazed and couldn’t figure out how he would do it. It was probably a year later that he let on that he would snap his fingers on the bag, which made the thump sound.
All-in-all, the invisible ball trick is one of my fond memories from childhood, along with fond, lovable memories of Bob and Elaine.