Following his father's death, Garcia's mother Ruth took over her husband's bar, buying out his partner for full ownership. She began working full-time there, sending Jerry and his brother to live nearby with her parents, Tillie and William Clifford. During the five-year period in which he lived with his grandparents, Garcia enjoyed a large amount of autonomy and attended Monroe Elementary School. At the school, Garcia was greatly encouraged in his artistic abilities by his third grade teacher: through her, he discovered that "being a creative person was a viable possibility in life" According to Garcia, it was around this time that he was opened up to country and bluegrass music by his grandmother, whom he recalled enjoyed listening to the Grand Ole Opry. His elder brother, Clifford, however, staunchly believed the contrary, insisting that Garcia was "fantasizing all [that] . . . she'd been to Opry, but she didn't listen to it on the radio. " It was at this point that Garcia started playing the banjo, his first stringed instrument.