Granma and Gramps

Rounding out the Ashe Family with a Christmas portrait of Cathy Henderson Ashe and Robert Ashe, Sr. Granma and Gramps. The founders of the Ashe family in Parthenon. This is the lovely couple for whom Katie is named (Catherine Roberta).

Cathy is a full Shawnee. Her grand-niece is Stacy Henderson, the Haint. She was one of the first American Indian models. Thoroughly at home in nature and with her body, she often posed nude. She eschewed the hippies of her generation as “paleface copy cats who forgot the meaning of soap.” When her sons Steve and Bob were old enough, she went to work as an elementary school music teacher. She considers her greatest accomplishment to be getting fourth grade boys to sing “I Am Woman.” She is still a free spirit and is famous in the neighborhood for her Halloween costumes and displays.

Robert was born and raised in Pittsburgh. After two years in the Vietnam War as a Marine, he moved to Parthenon, where “every tree doesn’t have an Ashe up it.” He fell in love with Cathy at first sight, and somehow convinced the wildcat model to marry him. For a few years, he drove a furniture delivery truck, but it grew boring. So, Robert joined the Parthenon police force, and became a street beat cop. He held that position for forty years, refusing to be moved to the desk three times. His retirement party was gigantic, with over 350 people showing up to pay their respects to the peace officer who knew every street vendor, shoeshine man, and waitress in the downtown area.

Robert and Cathy have the marriage everyone wants. As they get older, they get cuter and more mischievous. Right now, they’re turning the backyard into a giant model railroad, just because they can. It hasn’t always been smooth. At first, Robert’s father Franklin opposed the marriage. Then, he met Cathy and decided he was just an old bigot who needed to change his ways. His uncle Newton refused to speak to him for five years for “marrying outside his own kind.” But Newt finally succumbed to Cathy’s charm, and a stern lecture from big brother Franklin. Cathy wanted more children, but after two miscarriages following Bob’s birth, Robert convinced her to call it quits.

Of course, the blackest day in their lives was when their son Stephen was killed. Robert didn’t cry at the funeral. Cops and former Marines don’t cry. In public. At home, it was different. That was the only time Cathy ever saw her husband get drunk.

Gramps and Granma know about the changes in Katie and Steph, and about their “night jobs” with Jessie. Robert isn’t quite sure what to do with his granddaughters, but he’s darn proud of them. He’s especially proud of Katie, the first Ashe to graduate from college. As for Cathy, she likes seeing herself in her granddaughter’s faces, even if they have to wear those horrible masks. At least they show cleavage and leg. She sure did at their age.

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