Sunday, June 15, 2008

Grandma's House

Some of my fondest memories are going to Grandma's house. I had two grandmothers that we would visit and for a while they both lived in the same town. Both of my grandmothers were great cooks. My paternal grandmother never seemed to mind as more and more relatives would show up to eat. She loved preparing big meals and seeing how many she could actually pack into the house. We ate in every place imaginable in the house! The toy box for the grandchildren was in the closet that went between bedrooms....a great place to hide out.

My maternal grandmother loved to garden and can her produce. She spent hours laboring over a hot stove and all of us dreamed of winter days when we could break open a new jar of jam or her dill pickles. She also was an artist. Her paintings were very good and she proudly displayed them, actually taking prizes in the county fair.

Because Mom was the family genealogist (still is), my maternal grandmother was always on the look out for a new cemetery we could explore. I can remember her taking us to cemeteries, grinning from ear to ear with her big straw hat protecting her from the sun. As she grew older and more crippled, she still loved to go with Mom to courthouses and cemeteries. Many times she was forced to stay in the car while Mom did the research.

This makes me wonder what my nine year old daughter will remember about going to Grandma's house. Mom lives in a new townhouse and she has it decorated nicely with antiques and family items as well as newer furniture. Tyrah loves to ask who owned that and who is in a photograph.

In Mom's genealogy-computer room the computer shares a spot with books and photos, some old and some new. The top of her book cases are decorated with a plate that belonged to my Dad's great, great grandmother, a black tea kettle that belonged to Mom's grandparents, an old black iron, Mom's grandmother's coffee grinder, old bottles (Mom dug some of them out of old privies) and photographs. On one wall she has photographs of her trip to the Outer Banks last year and proudly points out the island area where her ancestors lived in the early 1700s.

In her bedroom is a china doll sitting in the white wicker chair that was in my Dad's grandparents' house. In the master bathroom is a pitcher and basin that belonged to Mom's great grandparents. Her great grandmother's butter churn is in the living room, along with her quilted wall hangings representing family places that she and Dad frequented.

All of this represents my Mom and her love of family and genealogy. I grew up knowing about family and ancestors and relatives. Mom can recite names, dates, places for generations and knows exactly where to look for what record in the stash. She's a great walking history book. But more importantly when my daughter goes to Grandma's house she finds a grandmother that does things with her so she too will have memories.

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