I want to give tribute to my grandmothers on this Mother’s Day weekend. What a blessing to have had both of them through out my growing up years. One died in my late 20s, the other died a month before my 44th birthday. I have such wonderful memories of both of them.
By the time I came along, my paternal grandmother who I called Grand-mom was a quiet settled elderly lady. My father always saw her as a loving, but no-nonsense mother. He made it clear to me about what Grand-mom would not put up with when he was growing up. He told me of the time on a Sunday afternoon she started whacking him at the front door before he got into the house good, because she saw a hole in his good Sunday pants. He was about ten years old at the time (1929/30). Back then, boys wore the same good pants every Sunday, so they were not supposed to play in them and yes, he had been playing in his good pants.
Now I remember a sweet elderly woman who made the best pies and cakes from scratch. Grand-mom buttered and cut my grandfather’s bread and served it to him with his dinner on a separate small plate. She had nurses training, but cleaned homes part of the time that my father was growing up. Her home was full of old elegant sturdy furniture. The living room sofa and chairs were adorned with embroidered white doilies. She called me “Bebe.” Grand-mom fussed about people raising children on welfare. She called it, “being on the dole.” I found out just a few years ago that Grand-m0m was a registered Republican.
My maternal grandmother, who I called Granny, did not mellow with age. She was tough and stood for no-nonsense. She was not a spoiling grandmother. When I was of preschool age, my parents were both working long hours to buy their first home. I only spent weekends with them. During the week, I live with Granny, who was quick to spank and did not tolerate the wasting of food. In other words, there was “no I do not want…” or “I am not going to eat…” She was always appalled at food being put in the garbage can.
Granny was very generous and took me on many of her church’s bus trip excursions. I remember going twice with her to the New York World’s Fair in the mid 60s. I went on numerous trips with her to the beaches of Wildwood, Asbury Park and Atlantic City in New Jersey. She respected each stage of my growth and maturity. I remember when she let it be known that she did not think it was right that I had to do the dishes each and every night after dinner. Yes, that was a household chore for me from the time I was 12 until I left to go to college. Whenever Granny was at the house for dinner, she would always stay in the kitchen after the meal was over and help me clean up.
Granny did not miss graduations. She was very excited about all of her grandchildren who went to college, because she never got past the fifth grade. Granny worked when my mother was growing up, by cleaning other peoples’ homes. She turned ironing into a high art form. Granny could iron a basket of clothing in record time and everything was perfectly pressed.
I admire my grandmothers, but I would not want to change places with them. When I was growing up, both my grandmothers saw that time as the greatest in comparison to the times when they and my parents were growing up. I do love the fact that they both remained married to their first and only husbands until death parted them. They both lived long lives and were good strong women.