Gwen Bell · Blog

Bub (Lowell) Emerson Bell Has Died. He was 82.

May 18th 2017

My mom's dad, the man I called Bub and sometimes Bub Emerson, died on Sunday, May 14, 2017. The second to last time I saw him alive he was sitting in his Laz-Y-Boy chair and we watched an episode of Andy Griffith and part of a Perry Mason, both two of his favorite shows. I asked if there'd ever been pets around when he was raising his children, my mom and her brother -- he told me about Jimbo and Snoopy and that was the first time I'd heard that story. He asked how my garden was doing and I gave him updates on my cilantro (which recovered), pumpkins (which had gotten very big) and the cucumbers* which had sprouted -- and he hated cucumbers, so I didn't expect he'd ever eat one anyway. He asked what time I was working that day. 4? 4, Bub.

The next day I was visiting with him and he was less present than he had been the day before because the Hospice nurse was there talking about whether or not he'd been wearing the special diapers she'd sent for him to wear. He appeared medded out, my grandmother and her son/uncle Grant demanded that I leave the upstairs. They demanded it about the moment I told my grandfather that the day before I'd given him the first pumpkin bloom I'd sprouted and later that same day found out the bloom I'd given him turns into the actual pumpkin! I obeyed the demand to leave, returned to the downstairs basement where at my grandfather's repeated request I'd been living since March of this year. Everett and I had been living on and off with my grandparents since 2012; no one had ever told us we weren't weren't welcome. Until the day my grandfather died. Within 48 hours of my leaving at the demand from my grandmother and uncle (I was on my knees at my grandfather's feet talking with him when they told me to go downstairs right now!) he died.

The same day he died, I attempted to put my housekey in the upstairs lock to find out the funeral arrangements. The key wouldn't go in. My grandmother and/or her son had changed the locks. Then when she came to the door she let me know I wouldn't be able to drive the Oldsmobile further than the front yard. My uncle added that they knew the license plate number and would call the police if we drove it any further than where it was.

I walked to a next door neighbor's house and she was willing to call the police. I owe I sent her a thank you note. She remembered me because I grew up in the area after my mom died and I went to high school while living in the house; I was a local for years. With a police escort I got the remainder of my things and was told that since I was a resident of the house I could technically stay the night but he indicated he'd understand why I wouldn't want to. I didn't want to. So they negotiated that Everett and I could use the Olds for one more night, empty our small number of possessions out of the car and find a new place to live.

At Bub's favorite coffee shop, 2015.

I became grandfatherless, homeless and automobileless in one day. Sitting on the yoga mat now. In a weekly hotel until something more permanent (ha!) presents itself. If nothing more permanent does, I'll figure out a way to earn enough to stay in this little hotel which is as good as two practicing minimalists could ask.

I have dozens and dozens of Bub stories if anyone wants to hear about his life. If you are on Decent and want to talk there, we can. If you want to email, please give me a little while to respond. It's been a tough week.

Bub Emerson & Gwen take a trip to Lowes in April, 2017. Everett took the photo. A few years prior, Bub taught me how to make a three point turn using one of these shopping carts at this very Lowes. Useful tips last forever.

*That night in May I took some of the things that I'd bought and planted, including the two tiny cucumbers that had just sprouted. Someone at work said she was willing to add them to her garden; she did, they have now grown leaves that are about a foot wide. No cucumbers yet, but I bet it won't be long now.

Updated 2017-06-24 to edit 'owe' to 'sent'. Updated 2017-07-04 to resize and float photos. Updated 2017-12-14 to let the record state that my grandmother apologized to me for allowing the locks to be changed and the subsequent aftermath following Bub's death. She apologized on the phone on December 12, 2017. I accepted her apology.

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