Thursday, September 5, 2013

On Being a Grandmother

Grandma Ollie

I've been blessed in my life to have reached the age to where I have little ones calling me Grandma.  It got me thinking about the memories I have of my Grandma Ollie (my dad's mother).  She is what one would have called a "tough old bird".  There were no gray areas ... only black and white ... wrong and right.  She lived life simply, with each day a series of making meals, cleaning and sewing. She was a fabulous cook and her bread and rolls rivaled any bakery today.  Here's a list of my most favorite memories.


Grandma Ollie was an amazing seamstress.  She had an old singer machine that was powered by a large foot pedal plate that was mesmorizing to watch.  She would save me fabric scraps and I would spend HOURS making little outfits for my dolls and she was right there to help me if the thread got tangled up in the machine. I can remember EVERY birthday seeing packages wrapped in white tissue paper and yarn bows and knew that they were clothes that she had made just for me.


Grandma had a quilting loom that always had a project on it that she was working on.  Her nimble fingers would literally fly through the material as she worked.  She later had a small business from home making her hand quilts.  I wish I had one of those quilts still, as her workmanship was simply amazing.


There was always a jar of bacon grease or any other grease that she collected as she cooked.  From that jar of grease she created the most amazing cookies ... to this day I've never tasted ANYTHING like grandma's cookies.  Of course, I don't believe anyone makes cookies from bacon grease today.  Heck, not many people actually bake from scratch anymore with baked goods so readily available at the grocery stores.  I remember her hot cross buns sitting on the table EVERY Easter.  And when I had a sleepover at grandma's house, you can bet that for breakfast she would make me cinnamon buns ... which were actually just leftover hamburger or hot dog buns, liberally spread with butter, then topped with brown sugar and cinnamon, and then put under the broiler just until everything melted together.  I remember going over to grandma's house for Sunday dinners and there was always a nice pot roast or fried chicken on the table, along with homemade bread and jams.  Grandma Ollie also taught me how to make fudge from scratch.  The kind you have to cook to a "soft ball stage" and then beat the living daylights out of it until it lost it's gloss and then you HAD to learn to know when it was almost done, as it would harden in almost an instant and you would be left with digging it out of the pan. 

Hair Receiver

You don't see these on anyone's dresser anymore, but my grandma had what I called a hair pot ... a little glass jar with a hole where she would clean her brushes/combs and store the loose hair into this little pot and save it until there was enough to fill a small sachet or pin cushion with.

My grandma had hip problems for many years and walked with a cane ... eventually she would be wheelchair bound, although this didn't slow her down at all.  I'm now using a cane until I get some knee surgery done ... seems so odd to me to think back on how much pain she must have been in, but somehow she never let it dull her spirit.


Oh, I have such a great memory of this claw foot tub that seemed SO huge to me when I was a child.  And of course, grandma made sure I had plenty of bubbles in the tub when bathtime rolled around.

Four Poster Feather Bed

I'm sure it was because I was a young child, but grandma's bed seemed SO tall ... I had to use a step stool just to be able to hurl myself onto the top mattress.  I lost my grandfather very early as I don't have many memories of him. Most of my early memories seem to be of just grandma and me. 

I am hoping that I leave my grandchildren with loving memories of their time spent with Grandma Cat, and that they will both know how very much they are loved and what JOY they have brought into my life.