Daily Dojo

Grandma, GrandPa and the Car

This is part III of my trilogy of ten minute plays called LOVE, LUST AND LIFE, which has been performed all around the country. Part I was A Boy, A Girl And A Dog and Part II was A Man, A Woman and A Cat … here’s the last piece of the puzzle.

Grandma, Grandpa and The Car

Two separate spotlights come up on a dark stage, revealing GRANDMA and GRANDPA, sitting in chairs. They speak to the audience without looking at or acknowledging one another.

GRANDPA: You know you’re old when, instead of thinkin’ about all the stuff you’re gonna do, you sit an’ think about all the stuff that you did.

GRANDMA: You’ve heard this one, everyone has, ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’, everyone in America has probably heard that one ten times.

GRANDPA: I spend my days on the porch, sippin’ iced tea with lemon and dreaming’ about the life I’ve led on up to this point. If I had any ambition at all, I would write it all down an’ make a pile of money. But I don’t have no ambition for that kinda thing. Not at all. I’m a simple man with simple tastes an’ simple pleasures.

GRANDMA: What do think of when you hear the word old? You think of somethin’ rotted, and decayed, and useless, that’s what you think. I don’t like to think of myself as old. I prefer to think of myself as accomplished.

GRANDPA: I used to be ambitious. Very ambitious. Not for money or land or ed-u-ca-tion, none of that bullshit. This was nineteen fifty we’re talkin’ about here, only sissies went to school, what was important in nineteen fifty was that you be a man, a proud man who worked hard an’ kept his word. A man.

GRANDMA: For I am accomplished. I’ve done more in the last ten years than many people do their entire lives.

GRANDPA: A man had to have a home, a good car to take you to work, a good steady job, and a family. An you had to take care of all of ‘em. Those were a man’s responsibilities.

GRANDMA: Only two years ago did I receive my college degree, and I am the first in the history of my family to have done that. And I owe it all to my husband.

GRANDPA: I’ll never forget the day it hit me, the day I knew my place in the scheme of things, it was the day I first saw her. I was walking down to the corner of Wiltshire Blvd an’ almost ran right smack dab into her. I’d have to say it was love at first sight. She was beautiful.

GRANDMA: Girls at that time, while you were in high school, you looked for a possible husband, one that wouldn’t be too mean, you got him interested in you, teased him along but you weren’t fast, boys wouldn’t marry fast girls, you got him so worked up till he’d almost bust, then he’d ask you to marry him. You got married, then you had kids and took care of the house.

GRANDPA: I had never seen anything in my life as beautiful as her. I knew the moment I laid eyes on her that I had to have her. I had a good job as a welder down at the foundry, good benefits, respectable. I set my jaw and went after her.

GRANDMA: Now when I was in high school, I had a boyfriend, just like everyone else, because that’s what you did, you had to have someone to take you to dances and drive-inns and ice-cream socials. He was nice, he was older and he never got too fresh. He liked me and my parents liked him. The word love just never came up.

GRANDPA: The next thing you know, she was mine. I called her Priscilla. My little Priss. She was a cherry-red 1947 convertible Chevy with white sidewall tires. The first car I owned all by myself. Gawd, I loved that car. That was the day I knew I was a man.

GRANDMA: So I had this boyfriend, and eventually, because we didn’t know what else to do, we got married.

GRANDPA: After that I got married an’ bought a house. A house with a big garage.

GRANDMA: Then we had kids.

GRANDPA: I bought a Buick, a four door, for family drivin’, couldn’t have the kids spillin’ their ice-cream on Priss’s leather seats, now could I? The Buick was for drivin’, the Chevy was for show.

GRANDMA: So I was a housewife, which was all I was trained to do, since I was a little girl. Do the laundry, make dinner, iron the clothes. Girls are trained to be task-orientated, thinking only of the job in front of them. That way they can be good housewives. It’s only natural that they would start to think of their lives in the same way. Get a boyfriend, get him to marry you, have children, raise a family and keep the house clean in case company drops by unexpectedly.

GRANDPA: Nobody but me drove Priscilla, and every Saturday that it wasn’t raining I would wash an’ wax her out in the front drive where everybody could see, then I would take her for a spin down around the town square. The kids and the missus would sometimes come along.

GRANDMA: It’s not until later, when all the tasks are done, the kids grown up and are married themselves, that you sit and wonder.

GRANDPA: I babied Priss like no one else, an’ after the kids growed up an’ left home, the missus and I would drive her to car shows an’ so on, it was a hell of a time. Every fourth of July we would drive her in the big parade. She was a by-gum classic.

GRANDMA: You wonder, just what the hell have I been doing these past twenty odd years? I’ve done something, I’ve got a good home, raised good children, but these were all unconscious acts, in a way, do you know what I mean? I wanted to do something conscious, for a change. To do something, anything, for myself. I tried to explain to my husband, but he just didn’t understand.

GRANDPA: The wife, now with the kids gone, she was startin’ to get itchy britches. She was jealous, I had Priscilla and she didn’t have nothing.

GRANDMA: He was a good man, but like all good men he had his blind spots. His was that damn car.

GRANDPA: She started actin’ by-God crazy.

GRANDMA: I just could not believe, that after all these years of marriage he did not trust me enough to drive his stupid car.

GRANDPA: She started makin’ crazy demands.

GRANDMA: What it came down to is that he had our golden years all mapped out, and it was a cavalcade of car shows and parades. I rebelled.

GRANDPA: She flipped her lid.

GRANDMA: I told him, “It’s the car or me!”

GRANDPA: An’ I said, “Get the hell out!”

GRANDMA: And I was gone.

GRANDPA: And she was gone.

GRANDMA: That was ten years ago today.

GRANDPA: I found out that I wasn’t too old for divorce. She got the furniture and the Buick. I got the house and the Chevy.

GRANDMA: I really owe it to him, though, if he’d humored me, if he hadn’t of thrown me out, the most I probably would have done is served on a school board or headed some church group. Instead, I went to college, got my degree in women’s studies, wrote articles for magazines and became a part-time professor. I discovered my own individual worth. Him and his damn car galvanized me into action.

GRANDPA: My father, he was the one who taught me the value of things, and I’ll always remember his lessons. Work was equal to worth, the harder you worked, the more you was worth. I felt I had worked hard, and I was worth somethin’. I don’t know why the wife didn’t understand that. I had my house and my classic car, but now I didn’t have my wife.

GRANDMA: Still, there were times when I’d remember him driving his red convertible with the top down and the proud look on his face, and how it would tickle me. He was like a boy with a favorite toy. But I didn’t have any room for boys in my life anymore.

GRANDPA: I’d always thought that she’d get scared an’ come back to me, cause that’s what girls did.

GRANDMA: When I had those thoughts I just pushed him from my mind.

GRANDPA: I waited for her to come back, and she didn’t. So you know what I did? I went back to her.

GRANDMA: He came courting, just like the old days.

GRANDPA: I sent her flowers.

GRANDMA: I sent them back.

GRANDPA: I sent her candy.

GRANDMA: I asked, “Did he want me to get fat?”

GRANDPA: The woman was so dad-gum stubborn!

GRANDMA: I never thought he was serious.

GRANDPA: I couldn’t get her to listen.

GRANDMA: Then, he did something extraordinary.

Very brief pause.

GRANDPA: I sold the car.

GRANDMA: He sold the car. I couldn’t believe it.

GRANDPA: My father he taught me a lot of valuable things about bein’ a man, but there was a couple of things he left out. I guess he figured I’d learn ‘em on my own. One of these things was the art of compromise.

GRANDMA: You don’t understand how many years of his life he sacrificed by selling that car. I thought, maybe he does love me.

GRANDPA: She cried when I told her what I had done. Maybe she does love me.

GRANDMA: I do.

She reaches out and takes her husband’s hand. They look at each other for the very first time and smile.

GRANDPA: So now I’m a simple man with simple pleasures, sippin’ iced tea with lemon with my wife an’ discussin’ what we’re gonna do today. I’m happy, I have a home and a car and most of all, my beautiful wife.

GRANDMA: And I have my life and a husband who loves me.

GRANDPA: And when we go out, the wife drives.

GRANDMA: Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

They look at each other and smile. Lights down.

The End

FOOTNOTES: Out of all the pieces, this one was produced the most, very popular … In New York City, my two favorite performances came from the one downtown (that I mentioned previously) with Clyde Kelly and Debbie Jones, and Invisible City with Clyde Kelly and Carla Hayes … Clyde has done this play more than anyone, nearly every time it was performed in New York, he was the guy in it (he also was the first to read it, in the writing group I belonged to, and the first to perform it, with Danielle Stanley at Developmental Stages, directed by Nick Corley) … It’s one of my favorite plays.

Thanks for reading, folks, I hope you enjoyed them.

One Response to “ Grandma, GrandPa and the Car”

  1. Janessa Says:

    My Huge Tits

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