So, a thing about Rugby is that you know everyone. I mean, there aren't that many people to know, but every neighbor is a friend. That is something that I love about this place. The people haven't changed much in my lifetime and I love that. I think all who reside here have an aversion to change and don't always welcome newcomers well until we are positive they are not a threat to the precious socioeconomic group that has grown over generations. And I shouldn't even include myself into this selective clique because I am a hybrid and not always accepted by everyone here myself. Having DNA relating to that of Wayne Henderson helps though.
My Granny and her neighbors were some of the greatest people I have ever known. In the small grey house constructed of tar shingles directly adjacent to my grandparent's land lived Wayne and Lucy. Most of the days I spent at Granny's I would walk partway down the gravel driveway (Granny's was the kind with two gravel ruts and a tuft of grass running down the middle) and would cross through the vegetable garden where I would then wobble across the thin 2x8 inch board intersecting the small "branch" that ran between the two properties. I would scamper up the bank and then into Wayne and Lucy's yard. The chicken coop sat on my right, a flower garden was dug into the dirt on my left and the grey house and it's side glass storm door was straight ahead. The actual front door to their house, sitting atop a covered porch was to my left facing the road. I never knew anyone who used it.
When I came to visit Wayne and Lucy, I would scratch on the screen of the storm door instead of knocking so they knew it was me. Lucy, quiet and subdued, always dressed in a light cotton dress buttoned in the front and her hair was either styled in soft grey waves or pinned up in tight circles held to her head by bobby pins. She was very delicate. I was always scared to touch her for fear of hurting her. Immediately after my arrival she would insist that I have something to eat. She always kept a hard plastic cup; the kind with small cuts all over so it sparkled in the sun, full of candy on the counter. I am not entirely sure why it was always filled to the brim with such sweets as Worther's Original and Peppermint Patties. I didn't know if it was just refilled for my frequent visits, or if other children also stopped by or perhaps she and Wayne would indulge in the sweets every now and again. Whatever the reason, it was always there, as long as they lived in that house.
The complete opposite of Lucy, Wayne was loud and boisterous. He would pronounce, "Look who is here! Jayne is here!" every time I stepped in the door. He would then proceed to tell me the story of when he first met me. Apparently I rolled around in the floor of Wayne and Lucy's living room when I was perhaps 8 months old, having only one tooth protruding from my gums. Wayne had a shined apple in his shirt pocket and crawled over to him and dug it out. In his words, I fished it out of his pocket and used my one tooth to try to take a big bite out of it. That is pretty much all of the story, but I guess it was an exciting moment for him and Lucy and Granny. Another thing about Wayne is that my dad is named after him. When my Granny went into labor, Wayne was the only person in the county with a car, and he took my grandfather Walter and Granny to the hospital, therefore Wayne C Henderson has his name.
Wayne and Lucy's house is also special. The neat thing about it is that it had a room in it specifically for items that needed to be chilled, before people around Rugby had such things as a refrigerator. The spring ran through a cement holding tank in their cellar, which happend to be attached to their house, on the way to the bathroom. Many times I would stop in there and marvel at the cement tanks holding cool water that emerged from the ground just outside. Above the tanks were rows upon rows of cans filled with colorful food such as beans and tomatoes and apples. I always thought that room was pretty cool. Now, after learning about environmental law, the slow food movement and reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Mineral I wish I could visit Wayne and Lucy again and ask a thousand more questions regarding their food production and preservation. At the time I just thought it was a neat looking room, the likes of which I had never before seen in anyone's house.
These two people were part of my family. I am sad to say that they both have died in the past few years, but I remember driving to Rugby from college and taking my Granny-when she was 89-to Lucy's funeral because my dad wasn't in town at the time. It was important to me to be able to do that for her, because I loved them as much as she did, and as much as I have any aunt or uncle. They are good people and I am so fortunate to have known them.