Stories about my
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Poem #382 - Sept 30, 2018 - "The Hope of a Mother
Thank you, Heavenly Stars!
These are grandma stories about my paternal grandmother.
Grandparents have the responsibility - through prayer, instruction, and good example - to leave a legacy to the next generations.
Those who make efforts to do this, deserve our appreciation.
Yes, they are human. Yes, they make mistakes - like we all do.
They struggle. They endure hardship, sickness, setbacks. Many of them are able to pass on the torch and give us a legacy upon which we can build.
In general, they make sacrifices to give us a better education and put us in better circumstances than they had.
God Bless Our Grandparents
How can we thank our grandparents who have so richly blessed our lives?
- We can pray.
- Let us ask God to crown their efforts, their sacrifices, their lives with the blessings of eternal reward, which they so richly deserve. For He alone can give adequate thanks.
- Let us hope to see them someday in Heaven.
My Grandmother's Easter Lilies
My Grandmother's name is Mary. She was born in the late 1800's, and she lived to be 75 years old.
My Dad says no matter how late the winter, Grandmother always had lilies blooming in time for Easter, even when no one else's were blooming. He didn't know how she did it, but they bloomed in time.
She would pick them on put them in buckets. Dad - who was a boy at the time - would put them in the wagon and pull them to Church for the ladies to prepare bouquets for the sanctuary.
One year Easter was early. Everyone was worried there would be no lilies. Grandmother cut them and brought them in the house for a few days. And yes, the first blooms were in time for Easter.
Could Grandmother Cook?
One of my aunts, who is 90 years old, said my Grandmother (her own mother) wasn't a very good cook. Probably in the sense of cooking for dinner.
But what she could do, not many people know how to do today.
She would can fruits and vegetables that she grew in her garden, and put up all kinds of fruit butters and preserves.
And that's what counts. Being able to put food on the table and having food in the panty to feed your family all year long.
Grandmother started plants, like tomatoes and cabbage, early in the year in a cold frame. When Dad was a boy, he would prepare it with manure underneath and a layer of dirt on top, which would keep it warm on chilly nights. You had to uncover the glass on a sunny day, else it would cook the plants inside.
Grandmother would sell some of the plants to the neighbors, and at the right time, some of them went into the big garden. My Dad remembers early every spring turning the garden over by hand with a shovel to get ready for planting.
My grandparents grew black raspberries. Every Fall, my Dad and his sister would rake the leaves from the linden trees and put them on a big blanket and take batches of them and dump in the black raspberry patch. The leaf mulch was several feet deep, but by the next Spring it had settled down to several inches. The berry bushes grew very well and there were lots of berries.
During the Great Depression, people came from as far as 30-40 miles away to buy the black raspberries my grandparents grew, and which the children picked. With the money, they were able to buy the food they couldn't grow. Back then, they called them staples. Things like flour, sugar, beans, eggs, milk.
It was how they survived, literally, during the Great Depression.
As I tell in the grandpa stories, one of my aunts told me that in the Great Depression, "It was very rough. It was very rough."
Not only then, but all the time growing up, my Dad remembers going with his sister or with others to pick berries and nuts in wild places in the country, or even one time, bring home a big hollow log filled with honey.
Grandmother would cook the last of the berries that didn't sell, or the too-green apples, and then squeeze every drop of juice or food through the straining cloth, and then use the juice to put up jars of jelly.
It was a time you simply couldn't afford to waste anything. Thank God most of us have it much easier now. We have such an abundance of good things to enjoy. Let's be truly thankful, truly grateful. Else, the Good Lord may take it away from us to teach us this important lesson.
"Thanks ... but the Pears were Rotten."
Grandmother and Grandfather were both born in the late 1800's. That's over 100 years ago.
They must have seen a lot of changes in their lifetime. New discoveries, new inventions. More roads were built. The horse and buggy was being replaced as more and more people bought cars. Truck drivers and railroads carried goods and supplies all over the country.
Grandmother had a special interest in learning about new foods, the fruits and vegetables that didn't grow locally. So as her children grew up and traveled and moved to different parts of the country, they would send Grandmother packages.
Right after my Mom and Dad got married, they moved to California, because Dad was out of work. It's quite a story, but I'll leave that for another time.
One time, Mom and Dad sent Grandmother a box with different kinds of fruits that grew in California.
Grandmother was very thankful. She wrote a letter thanking them for everything, but they had to throw away the pears, because "the pears were rotten."
What it was, Mom and Dad had sent some avocados in the box. Grandmother had never seen avocados before. She thought they were pears!
A Visit to Remember
When I was around four, I went with my family on a train to visit Grandmother. I tell more about the train trip in my Grandpa Stories.
There's 2 things I remember about my Grandmother.
I remember Grandmother sat in a wheelchair in the living room just around the front door. When she was not visiting someone or playing with us, her hands were joined together. She was busy praying. She prayed for many hours every day.
The other thing I remember about Grandmother. Next to her wheelchair there was a table. Grandmother would set up a bunch of dominoes in a row, curving this way and that. It took a long time to set them up, and then it was one of us grandchildren's turn to push the first domino. She made sure we all were looking.
And in a few seconds, all of Grandmother's hard work was destroyed !
We clapped and jumped up and down. We were so excited seeing all the dominoes falling so fast. And we wanted to see it again.
Mom told us years afterward, that it was very hard for Grandmother to set up the dominoes because of her crippling arthritis. Grandmother did it for us, because of the joy she could see on our faces.
Grandmother had arthritis for years, and was in a wheelchair for the last 18 years of her life. Her hands were all twisted and knobby and wrinkled and shaky. Yet she never complained. She was always cheerful.
It may seem like a little thing, but really, it is a big thing. God will not forget every good thing we do, and especially may He reward Grandmother for trying to make us happy even though it cost her a lot.
Gone but not Forgotten
Grandmother died very soon after our visit, in fact, less than a month after my fourth birthday.
I think God let Grandmother live long enough so I could remember a little bit about her, to really appreciate her. Even though I knew her so briefly, Grandmother is still to this day a blessing in my life.
Thank you, Grandmother, for your prayers for each of us. Thank you for making so many sacrifices to give us so much joy. May you receive many blessings forever. May your life be crowned with abundant peace and happiness. I am so glad your suffering is over. I'm sure you now know it was so very much, really worth it. For all that you did for the Lord, no matter how small, for all that you did for us little grandchildren, you deserve a big, big reward.
"For what you did for one of the least of these, you did it to Me," says Jesus, right after we die.
And Grandma, I like to think that you and Grandpa and all my special stars in Heaven, are sending your prayers and love and blessings down our way too.
Thank you, Grandma. Thank you, all my special stars.
Here are some stories about my grandfather
Go to Grandparents Day Poems.
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