Sunday, December 9, 2007

Memories Of Grandma

As I was writing my post yesterday my mind kept drifting back to my days as a child and the time I spent with my grandmother. I loved spending time with her because she always made me feel as if I was special. Believe me that was a big deal to a little girl that was one of the youngest of many grandchildren. One of my favorite aunts used to tell me that so many of the grown ups didn't know what they were missing out on by not spending time with me, but that was just the way it was. She said that by the time I came along there had already been so many babies born into the family that any new ones were nothing to take notice of.

When I was growing up, Grandma lived in a little cottage on a hillside in Southern Ohio just down the path from one of her son's and his family. She raised chickens, gardened, canned, quilted and watched TV. She cooked with a wood burning cook stove and heated with a wood burning stove as well. Any time we came to visit was reason enough to dress a couple of chickens and fry them up for supper. To this day, I have yet to taste fried chicken that could even compare to Grandma's.

I jumped at any opportunity I had to stay with her. Once while I was there visiting for a week she decided that she would teach me how to quilt. How important did I feel when she told me what we were going to do! We started with a pattern template and some fabric. I sat for what seemed like hours tracing that template onto the fabric while Grandma cut the pieces and stacked them into a basket. Of course she wasn't just going to turn me loose on the sewing machine with these pieces of fabric. She brought out paper and drew lines on them, then she drew circles on some and some were decorated with triangles and squares. She opened up her treadle sewing machine (that is peddle power for the younger generation) and took the thread out of the needle. After showing me the basics of operation she turned me loose sewing those pieces of paper with the empty needle. I was in heaven! It was when I mastered stitching on the lines that she threaded the needle and let me actually stitch the real deal together.

I was recently thinking about when we went to visit her at Christmas time as I was growing up and couldn't remember ever getting an individual Christmas gift from her. Her income was very limited and she did have ten children and as I mentioned before many grandchildren. Still Christmas did not pass without giving something of herself to each of her children and their families. It was the same gift every year and I looked forward to it just as much as anything Santa might leave under the tree. Every year at Christmas time, Grandma would bake an apple stack cake. One of those traditions that I have come to dearly miss over the years since her death. Grandma was the only person I have ever known of that made that cake. Several years ago, I was talking with a coworker during our lunch break and we were discussing grandmas and cooking, etc. She mentioned a cake that her grandma had made at Christmas time. As Cheryl described it, I knew it could be none other than that same cake recipe because I had watched Grandma make it many times. She told me that when her grandma had died after her belongings had been pretty well picked over, the grandchildren were allowed to go in and take one thing of hers. She took a kitchen calendar that had hung on the wall for years as she was growing up. On that calendar she found the apple stack cake recipe jotted down on the back of the last page. Cheryl shared that recipe with me and I still have it tucked away in my recipe box. I think perhaps this will be the year that I bring that recipe out and bake it for my family.

I loved my Grandma so very much and still recall what a bright spot she put into my years as a child. She was everything a Grandma should be. My mother was that kind of Grandma to her grandchildren and great grandchildren. I only hope that I can be the sort of grandmother that my grandchildren will remember years after I am gone and be thankful for memories that I have left behind.

Merry Christmas Grandma and thank you for the warm memories!


violetlady said...

Thank you for sharing such wonderful, warm memories of your grandmother. I remember my grandmothers with such love and I try to spend as much time as I can with my two grandsons. My mother helped me raise my daughter while I worked and she learned so much from her Nanny.

Jo and JD said...

There is just something so very special about a grandparent/grandchild relationship. My mother lived in a cottage on our property for 13 years and I wouldn't have had it any other way, because it was a win~win situation for her and my children.

judypatooote said...

Christmas time seems to bring out the memories of the olden days, and I just love reading about them, for each person can trigger a new memory for me...loved your story...I love going to Southern Ohio to visit the Amish, and watch them's beautiful country side..... judy

jle said...

OH my grandma was my favorite person too! She loved me like nobody else did--she taught me graciousness and kindness, and encouraged me always!

In my 8th grade home-ec class we learned to sew that same way, following lines with our sewing machine needle. It worked!