Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gran Gran's hand me downs....and memories.

My Grandmother was wonderful. She personified love.
 I think of her often...especially when I smell Noxema!

 "Gran Gran" was her name to my children and cousins who were younger than me.
She lived through interesting times; saw the invention of the motor car, the airplane, and the computer. Well into her 90's she lived a full life before her demise.
Her influence on me is evident to this day, she was such an inspiration. I am so grateful to have known her and fortunate that I spent so much time in her gracious company.
Mother of 4 children, 3 boys and 1 girl. One of the boys died from menningitis when he was 5. Today only the youngest boy, my uncle, is living.

My grandfather worked at any job he could do bring in the money. Times were hard and the Depression was especially difficult. I heard that they sold their bathtub for $50 to pay a bill...and had to wash in a big bucket by the stove until they could save enough to buy another tub....imagine that!

My grandmother was a resourceful woman of many talents and had a gift for thrift.
She made a mean pie, brewed her own saki, made wine and could drink almost anyone under the table!
She had a green thumb planted a victory garden and grew a vast assortment of veggies. I think this is how she stretched her household budget...that and picking berries for her jams and pies.

My grandfather would bring home many a guest to dinner in their large kitchen...always unannounced. I do not know if she gritted her teeth or poured them a drink when they took off their hat and sat up to the table! She never drove a car and walked to the market and the butcher. The butcher must have been sweet on her as she always got a little something extra with her order...soup bones, oxtails to make into fragrant brothy concoctions which she ladled out and served with her homemade bread. There was always freshly baked bread...we used to slather butter on it when it was hot from the pan and eat greedily...my grandfather was the instigator!

I spent many a weekend staying with her...we had so much fun. I helped her in the kitchen, set the table, stirred the soup, made mini jam pies with the pastry scraps. She was very patient with me, taught me many things, read to me, and played cards. She could tell a mean joke...even if a bit "off colour" and loved a good laugh...her sense of humour must have seen her through some tough times.
My grandparents had separate bedrooms, it was a very commodious house, a staircase that wound it's way up with 2 landings and a great polished bannister...which I used to slide down on. A living room with pocket doors that closed off the adjoining dining room...a large country kitchen and a funny dark pantry just off of it. Four bedrooms and a bathroom were up and in the centre, a huge common hallway which most of my Bungalow main floor would fit into!

When I stayed over she'd heat milk and add Cocoa powder and make me a cup of hot cocoa before bed. I think it's about the best cocoa I have ever sipped! It was so hot that I made a slurping sound when I drank and for some reason she never once said anything about it being rude.
I slept in her bed under a gigantic wine coloured satin Eiderdown, warm and cozy but...she snored!
She applied Noxema to her face berfore retiring for the night. (The scent reminds me of her even to this day.)
In the mornings the house would be cold and she would tip toe downstairs and get the fire started and feed the cat. She would brew a pot of tea and it was my job to take a big cup up to my Grandad. I walked very carefully and slowly up the stairs lest I spill in the saucer. I was so proud that I was allowed to do this.
She would put my clothes near to the fire to warm them...central heating was not common.
After a big breakfast of eggs, ham or sausages, and toast and jam...
I would have a hot bath in the claw foot tub upstairs and then dry off and climb into warm clothes.

These are just a smidgeon of the many vivid memories that I have of her...
she had such a huge heart and gave of herself and of things to anyone in want or need...
She gave me so much of her time and love and I am sure at times she was worn out and bone tired.

She gave me a couple of kitchen items which I have and use...
they are plain and simple...
I think of her everytime I glance at them or put them to use.

I hope to be a Grammy of some merit...
I have had a great model... and she set the bar pretty high.
I will aspire to patience, graciousness, resourcefullness, thrift, kindness, generosity, humility, and a heart full of love...and I'll add my personal touches of course.


  1. So nice :O)
    I had a special relationship with my gran too - I have lots of her things in my house now.

  2. hi leslie,

    you are going to be the best gran ever. i can just tell by your enthusiasm alone. what wonderful recollections you have of your grandmother. she sounds like she would have been a great woman to know. so strong and able but at the same time sweet and kind. you do have pretty big shoes to fill and i just know that you are up for the job.


    ps ~ any day now!

  3. Your second photo is beautiful. And how wonderful to have a tradition of grandmothering to pass down.

  4. What a lovely post! These days your thoughts are naturally about being a grandmother any minute now. You have had a fine role model. Please don´t underestimate your own skills. You will be the best grandmother for your grandchild! I am totally convinced.

  5. Thank you all....
    I am doing a lot of thinking...
    as I wait...
    and sleeping light...

  6. What a beautiful post, your grandmother sounds like she was a wonderful woman!
    Hope you are having a great weekend!!