My Grandma Grace has a very special place in my heart. She had a really bad temper, but we learned so much from her... She was German and would yell something at us as she was throwing a shoe at us, lol. My sister Denise and I would spend alot of time over at Grandmas and looked forward to going over there. She was our refuge when some of the worst things in our little lives came at us. Looking back I am sure alot of my memories are somewhat distorted or from the view points of a under 10 year old child. But that's ok, they are great memories to me.
The little house pictured here is the house she lived in till she passed away. There was no running water, we had to use an outhouse... Let me tell you that it is no fun having to run past the geese and chickens in the middle of the night and you have to go to the bathroom... And if there happen to be chickens in the outhouse during the winter, then let's say you will be in for a rude awakening and who ever was in there stood a chance at being eaten since they scared you to death.
I also remember how mad she got when I tried to make pancakes on the wood burning cooking stove and didn't know that I had to use a frying pan, lol... She was a tad bit upset at me, but not too bad. Grandma Grace showed me the right way to cook them. Grandma would also sit at the little dining room table that was full of papers and food items and smoke her cigar and read her Bible. What a combination that was as I think back on it. The foods she seemed to always have was her canned bread and butter pickles, apple butter, fresh butter and bread... She didn't put alot of thought into having a lot of food in the house. You had what you needed and when she got her check each month from Social Security, she would go get a chocolate bar and each of us kids would get one too...
We would cuddle in this down comforter at Grandmas and she had no power, so it was a wood burning stove. Whoever was the last one in bed, was up the creek when 3 or 4 in the morning came and we had to go outside in the snow and get coal from the coal pile. We all made a mad dash to the bed when it came time and almost always I was at the beginning of the pack. When I was the last, I just dreaded going outside. Not only was it cold and in Northern Indiana we got alot of the lack front weather... Not a fun time, but oh so pretty still... It did loose it's appeal when you had to go outside to get the coal.
We would fight over who got to sleep in my grandmas room, she had a big bed with a large handmade blanket that was warm. We also knew that we would be warm in there and didn't have to go out to get coal. I always looked forward to seeing Grandma and Christmas's was even better. Not because of the gifts, we just knew that she wanted us there and she represented love to me at that age. I never really knew till way later that she was a Sunday School teacher.
For me the happiest Christmas's were back in Indiana. My Grandma Grace would put all the toys or gifts on her bed and we could pick out what we wanted. I remember getting this purple stuffed poodle one year. Grandma never had much, but what she did have, she gave with a joyful heart. She would get all the toys ready and we knew what she was doing and we would run to the room. On Christmas mornings in Indiana, we always had snow. I am sure my parents weren't fond of the snow, but it just went hand in hand with Christmas. From what I remember, I don't think we actually had dinner at grandma's for Christmas. Not sure why this was, we would take food over there, but not sure why they never came to the house. There is alot of dysfunction in our family and things to this day never made sense to me...
In the picture below, we had to use well water and I believe that is my sister Brenda since it was in August of 62. I can still think back on how much better the water was from the well then anything we would get from a tap... Maybe it is because we had to prime that stinking pump for sometime to get the water to come up it...
The anniversary of my grandmas death is December 5th. I so remember the day like it was yesterday. I was only 10 yrs old and I remember coming home from school and my mom told us that grandma passed away. Since I was only 10, I didn't really understand what this meant. I knew grandma was in and out of the hospital in Knox Indiana, but that was all I knew. Then mom and dad were making plans for her funeral and to this day this is the reason I never go to funerals when there are viewings.
Back then when a person died, they would put it on the local news. I thought every place did that and when I seen grandmas picture on the TV I was so excited. I didn't know why she was up there and that it meant I would never see her again. Mom and Dad had a typical funeral, casket and all. We went in to the church in the viewing area and where they have the service. We were told to not get upset and just go up and say good bye and kiss Grandma goodbye. I was not ready for this at all. Since we could show no emotion or we would get in trouble, we went up one by one and acted like everything was fine. What got me and still gets me to this day is when people say that the person who died looks so peaceful and good. Ok, well that bothers me to no end. Granted they look at peace, they are no longer in the body, but a 10 year old doesn't know that and when they close that casket and you know that your grandma is in there, that is not something good to remember about the person you love. I like to remember the person when they are alive and breathing. I don't want to imagine them forever in a box that is closed, put in the ground and not breathing. I know now that Grandma is with Jesus and she is at peace, but to a child, that's hard to understand.
I know that Grandma is with Jesus right now and that she is in a much better place... I always seem to think about her at this time of year, the snow, Christmas and December 5th. Grandma Grace died in 1973, but it seems like yesterday.