October 9-12: A Weekend in Corpus Christi
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December 22-27, 1987
Christmas in North Carolina


Grant and I always faced a dilemma at Christmas time. Each of us had family he would like to visit, but we didn't want to take separate trips. Grant's relations with his family were not uniformly good; particularly with his Dad, so he felt that going to Chicago was more of a duty than a desire. So this Christmas, we settled on going to North Carolina together, and then making a trip to Chicago sometime later.

We flew to Charlotte on Tuesday the 22nd; Grant got some time off from Gabberts, and I didn't have any classes to do either the week before or the week after Christmas. The American flight to Charlotte was pleasant and uneventful.

At the airport, I'd reserved a rental car, so we picked that up and I drove to my Mom's condo over on Park Road.

As I work my way backwards in this photo album, the maps and aerial views that I find online in 2016 have started to diverge more and more from the way things actually were some 30 years ago. The Charlotte airport today is nothing like it was in 1987; it was much, much smaller then, and getting in and out of it consequently much easier. As it expanded, new access roads were built, and the city streets nearby were widened. The route we took in from the airport that I show on the map at right is not the route one would take today, but I guess that's not important anyway.

Generally, we had to head southeast from the airport to get to the area where my Mom lives now (having sold the house I grew up in back in 1977 to move about four miles further south to this location. South Charlotte is growing rapidly; not much of what now surrounds my Mom's condo development existed when I moved away in the late 1960s; in fact, Charlotte is expanding so much that some people who work in downtown Charlotte actually commute from South Carolina!

We angled southeast, crossing the relatively-new Interstate&77 and then across South Boulevard to get over to Park Road. I grew up on Somerset Drive, which is one block off Park Road about four miles north of my Mom's current residence; her condo is also one block off Park Road, so she didn't move far at all.

When we crossed South Boulevard, we were on Tyvola Road (which was a country road when I lived in Charlotte but which is now a very busy, four-lane city street- one of the main routes to get across south Charlotte.

We took Tyvola Road to the intersection with Park Road and then turned to the north to go about a half mile to Cranford Drive. (I sometimes come from the airport a different way, on Woodlawn Road, turning south on Park Road. That's actually a better way because there is actually no left turn onto Cranford Drive when you are heading north on Park Road; Park Road has a median and there is no cut-in at Cranford Drive. You have to go another block to a spot where you can make a U-turn, but that's not very difficult.

My Mom's condo development is a small one; there are just two buildings with six units in each. All the units are the same size- two bedroom, two bath units. My Mom's condo is the first-floor unit on the north side of the north building, as I have indicated in the aerial view at right.

I might point out that the aerial view is recent, of course, and since our visit this year, a new development has been constructed on what used to be a vacant plot of land between my Mom's development and Park Road. There is a thick stand of trees that separate the two developments, and the last time I was in Charlotte a couple of years ago with Fred, we drove by the condo we could see that the trees almost entirely blocked the view of one development from the other.

I didn't take any pictures outside my Mom's condo on this particular visit, so let me take an image from Google Street View to show you what it looks like. This view is at left.

The picture was taken from Cranford Road itself, right at the spot where you turn left into the parking area for the two condo buildings. You are looking at my Mom's unit at its northwest corner. I've marked up the street view picture to show you a bit about how the rooms are laid out.

I might also mention here, since he will show up in some of the pictures on this page, that my Mom has met a nice man just a few years older than her; his name is Bill Michaelove and they met at the Charlotte Bridge Club. He is widowed, and the two of them have a great deal in common. He loves to squire my Mother around, and of course she loves the attention. When they go on trips, he makes the arrangements and pretty much takes good care of my Mom. So both Judy and I are happy that she has him in her life; my Mom asked him to give up his own apartment and move in with her, and so Judy and I are also happy that our Mom is not alone. None of us are getting any younger, and so it is always good to have someone close.

My Mom likes the condo; it is just the right size for her and much easier to take care of than the house she used to have. It is also a good deal more modern, having been constructed in the late 1970s (the house she sold was built in the 1940s). Everything my Mom needs is nearby, including a grocery store and pharmacy. Before Bill moved in with her, she could walk to both of them, and about the only driving she did was to the bridge club. Now that she and he are together, he as once again assumed the role my Dad used to play- being the "man of the house" and taking care of the chores like driving.

Grant and I spent five days in Charlotte, and of course my sister came down from Elon for Christmas. That's my sister and her husband, Bob, in the picture at right (along with an unnamed "friend"). Earlier this year you saw an album page detailing a visit to my sister's, and there are numerous other pages in this album, past and future, where I have spent time at her farm.

She and Bob have a really nice place up in Elon- just the kind of place my sister always wanted for her horses, cats and dogs. I enjoy visiting there as it is like a country retreat. The only bad thing is that with so many animals of all kinds, Judy finds it hard to get away for more than a single day. For example, Judy and Bob arrived early on Christmas morning and had to head back to Elon about eight in the evening.

This is why I try to get up to visit my sister as much as I can, but on this particular trip home Grant and I just didn't have the time, so we were glad to spend the day with Judy and Bob and the rest of the family. Judy and Bob with friend. If you look at some pictures of Judy before she came to Dallas to visit us, you will notice that about the only thing she continued doing from her makeover was to wear her hair shorter. She said she'd never had the nerve to cut it, even though she knew it would be more convenient, so having it done professionally in Dallas was a good thing.

Most of the pictures I took were on Christmas Day when Judy and Bob were with us; Jeffie and Ted still live in Charlotte and have their own places, and so they are able to see their grandmother more frequently. So let's just have a look at the pictures from this Christmas Holiday. The first four were taken before Judy and Bob arrived.

Here, at my mother's condominium in Charlotte, are, from left to right, me, Grant, Jennifer, Ted, Mother, and Bill.

Here are Grant and I in front of the Christmas tree. We picked up the bears at Belk's, where they are on sale if you buy a certain amount of stuff. We pick up at least one each year to add to our collection.

Bill Michaelove sells solder for a living, and he has moved in with my mom. They play bridge together, and in general he squires her about and takes good care of her. He and Grant can talk about furniture, because that was Bill's career before he retired. He and my mom get along well together, and I think she enjoys the attention. It is a load off my mind that she has someone living with her; it makes me think that she is much more secure that she might otherwise be. It also gives her someone to drive her around, as she doesn't really like to drive. She has sold her own car and just rides with Bill. They go on trips together, and I think they are having a great time.

We spent a few hectic days with my mother shopping for everybody. This was the second time that Grant had met my family; last Christmas was the first time. Everyone takes to him extremely well. He seems to have a special rapport with my mother, who sees in him the sense of style that I don't have. She has started treating him like a member of the family, and Grant refers to her as "Mother," probably because she fills the void left by the death of his own mother. It seems that we are always in our hectic shopping mode when we get home for Christmas; it is just too hard to buy everything in Dallas and then carry it with us or have it shipped to North Carolina.

At left are myself, Grant and Jennifer with the bears we got at Belks. I must say that after a very brief initial period of indecision, everyone has taken very well to Grant and the fact that we are living together. Of course, the family has known that I was gay for some years now, but Grant is the first person I have brought to meet them, and I think they are relieved to find that he is not a typical stereotype.

I think that Bob is a little uncomfortable with both me and Grant, but truthfully he never lets on or acts in any but the friendliest way. It's just a feeling I have about him. The kids are great with it, and of course my mom is getting to like Grant more and more, treating him just like a son-in-law, or something. Bill may not care for the situation a great deal, but he never says or does anything that would make that obvious. Again, it is just a feeling.

At right is a second picture of Grant, Jennifer ("Jeffie", as she prefers to be called) and I with the Belks bears.

Jeffie is in the midst of deciding what she wants to do after high school; she has quite a few options, but I'm not sure she thinks of college as one of them. Her brother has expressed an interest in going into law enforcement and has been looking at programs at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC).

Jeffie shares her Mother's interest in horses, so maybe she will try to work that in somewhere. Music is another of her interests, although she isn't a musician. Perhaps something in the business end of the music business will attract her. All in all, it seems that kids today don't feel pressured to follow the same "tracks" that my generation did, and that's probably a good thing.

Judy and Bob arrived around ten in the morning, and while the Christmas ham was cooking in the kitchen, we took some more pictures:

We have opened all the presents now (and I am amazed to find that my mom has given Grant a check for $500 as a gift) and are just playing around before we have Christmas lunch.

I told Grant I just wanted to get a picture of him, but Judy and Bob couldn't resist trying to make the picture something funny. Grant is certainly a handsome man, I think.

Jeffie and I and the Bears

Grant and I Holding Some Bears

We had a great time on this trip, and returned home a few days after Christmas. We went to a couple of parties for New Year's, and went out to the Ripcord with Lowery and Brad for a New Year's Eve bash.  

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.

October 9-12: A Weekend in Corpus Christi
Return to the Index for 1987