Remembering Grandma

All 3 of them…


I was extremely blessed to have two wonderful Grandmothers. Actually if you count my ex-husbands Nan, I had three. They were all special in different ways and have helped make me the person I am today. I learned a lot from these strong women and I hope I have passed some of it along to my kids and grandkids.

I remember cold winter nights sleeping at my Mom’s mother’s house. Before we could do anything, we had to go into the basement to put coal in the furnace so we wouldn’t freeze. It always amazed me that we had to do this because we just turned our heat on with a thermostat at our house. She would let me shovel the coal but I wasn’t allowed to put it in the furnace and had to stand back while she did it.

I have so many memories of her house and the people who lived there. My Grandfather and my Aunt and Uncle and their son all lived there together. I always thought that was so cool. And now my son, his wife and kids live right behind my house. And that is very cool.

But my best memories of her are the ones where I spent the night with her. After the feeding the furnace… and us, we headed upstairs to her bedroom. She would always stop and let me go in my Grandfathers room. He had passed but his room was still there and all of his books were lined on the many shelves. I loved the smell of that room and I think that is where my love of books started. Then we would go to her room and climb in the big warm bed and cover up with her many quilts. After saying our prayers we would lie awake for what seemed like hours with her telling me stories of her youth and what life was like back then. I can still feel the warmth from the furnace and the smell of her perfume. I loved those nights in my Grandma’s bed.

My Dad’s mother was a strong outspoken woman. She never held back and said exactly what she thought (maybe this is where I got some of my outspokenness). She ruled the family and even though my Grandfather was a very strong man, he would always defer to Grandma.

The best memories of her are the ones we spent as kids in her kitchen. She would make us wonderful treats and “big people” drinks at her kitchen counter. We thought we were so grownup drinking our creme de menthe drinks she made for us. But even better was when she left us make the treats with her. Making peach pie with her was such an experience, she was never satisfied with the crusts. She would stomp and shout and want to throw it out and start over. We would finally talk into using it and it was as usual the best pie ever. It may not have looked good, but it sure tasted good. In later years when my grandparents moved to Florida, they would come home every summer and not one would go by without us making a peach pie together. I can still smell it baking and have yet to have one that tasted as good as those messy pies we made together.

My third Nan was one of the strongest women I knew at that time. Women just didn’t do or say the things she did. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and encouraged me to do the same. I was very young when I married her grandson and she took me under her wing and loved me unconditionally. She taught me so many things about life. I think many of the things I say and do with my grandchildren come from her. We spent many hours just talking and I think it helped for me to have someone like her to talk to and say things I couldn’t say to my Mom. She helped me at a time when I needed someone and I miss her every day.

These three women have shaped my life. All of them, each in a different way. I can only hope to be half the woman they were.

Who helped shape your life? What memories of your Grandma do you have? I hope you have good ones…

4 thoughts on “Remembering Grandma

  1. I was at one time fortunate enough to have 1 set of great-grandparents and 3 sets of grandparents. And it seemed like in a blink of an eye they were all gone!! I was closest to my maternal grandmother as she let us live with her when my parents got divorced. She used to come up to my mother’s house every Friday to have her hair done by my mom. Sometimes she would bring friends and sometime my aunt when she was visiting from Syracuse NY. She loved coming to mom’s because she was the only “hairdresser” that served breakfast and lunch!! I loved listening to grandma speak of times more simple and pleasant. She would tell some amazing stories and we would laugh and laugh!! I till miss her and my mother so very much and think of them constantly. Sounds like you had wonderful grandmothers too!! So happy we have awesome memories of them all!!

  2. Don’t you just LOVE these memories? You & I actually share some of the same! Because there were four of us children in our family & Dad being the one who worked outside our home (notice I said ‘outside’ cause Mother was, fortunately for us, able to be a stay-at-home Mom but worked very hard as well), our Grandmothers usually came to visit & make their specialties at our home rather than trying to get all of us together for a ‘trip’ to Grandma’s! We would visit primarily on Sundays after church! I digress! Our maternal Grandmother lived with my Aunt & her family after my Grandfather passed away so she would take a bus in town when it was a wonderful place to shop, & would then take the bus to our house for supper which she would help Mother make. Dad would take her home later in the evening. We would be home from school until she got there so we always knew she was going to be bringing ‘goodies’ from her shopping trip. We’d run to the bus stop which was actually just steps away from our home to help carry the bags. One of the ‘delectable treasures’ that we would ask her to make was her unforgettable beef pot pie. Mother would have already cooked off the beef and Grandma would make the dough. We couldn’t WAIT til it was done. Just the smell of it throughout the house made us all ravenous & yes, we ate like little piggies. LOL At Thanksgiving, Grandma was always there to make the filling. I don’t know about you but I have to say that’s my favorite part of the meal! She made the best!! To this day I make mine the same way.

    Our paternal grandmother, who was technically our great aunt – my Dad’s mother passed away when he was only two years old so he was raised by one of her many sisters. There were four children & Grandpa was unable to raise four children by himself & work, too, so he asked the sisters if they could help! They did & Dad was fortunate to have Aunt Esther as his ‘Mother’. We would go to Aunt Esther’s some Sundays after church for a delicious roast beef dinner with potatoes & then, as I remember, some kind of pie. She was a great cook also. She had a little, neighborhood store & when we would stay overnite we also helped her with stoking the furnace with coal at her watchful eye & doing her laundry which was always on Mondays. She had a wringer washer which she would stand by our side & help us with putting it through the wringer, always impressing upon us to never get to close to the rollers. She also, when we’d stay overnite, would allow us to ‘raid the candy case’! That was a favorite thing to do even though there were times I ate too much & would get sick on my stomach. I eventually learned! 🙂

    Well, I’ve said enough, me thinks! Don’t want you to get bored! Loved this one, too, Renee!! Took me way back to those good ol’ days & wonderful memories – a lot of them about the food! Keep up the good work!!

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