The Simple life - Grandmother Part 2
- The Simple Life
Grandmother Part 2
My grandmother met my grandfather and the story she told about the
time of their marriage was actually very sad. It seems my
grandfather's parents never liked my grandmother, at least not in
the beginning. They thought she was "too good" for their family
probably due to her comfortable upbringing. A case of reverse
discrimination. Many years later, tears still came to her eyes as
she told of their rejection.
Grandmother's life took quite a turn from comfort to
frugality as she raised her four children for a few years in a small
home with a "pump and a path". She had terrible headaches and
didn't cope well with that, often spending time in the hospital.
Grandfather went from business to business during wars and
the great depression, some more successful than others. A Coney
Island hot dog shop, for one, as well as a bowling alley and later,
he was a successful Kirby Vacuum Dealer.
My grandparents did become more successful, eventually
owning cottages on the lake Lake Huron, and many, many happy times
took place. My family has loved the lake, boating, swimming and
At a young age my grandfather developed Alzheimer's, a
disease that left him more and more confused. And eventually my
grandmother couldn't take care of him. They were too young to
retire so my grandmother returned to college and got her teaching
degree. Leaving the thumb and going to an apartment on the campus
of Michigan State must have been very difficult for Gram. Likely
her studies kept her mind off her loneliness. I remember my family
visiting her there, but at my age, I had no idea how gutsy she was.
That was only the beginning.
Grandmother did her student teaching in Guatemala and her
letters revealed her deep love for her students there. She later
returned to the thumb to teach until she retired. Grandmother loved
to travel and went on many many trips. She visited China, Europe,
Italy, Alaska, the Canadian Rockies to name a few.
After she was retired and my grandfather had passed on,
Grandmother remarried a man named Vern. Vern was a gem. When my
daughter Holly was born, he was so excited as if she was his very
own granddaughter. He insisted on having his picture taken with her
(as if we minded) and that is just one example of his love for us.
He had huge farmer hands, but I can't imagine him ever using them in
anger. He was a very quiet and loving man.
My grandmother had pretty clear ideas, by this time, of
what was "proper". My Uncle Dave was visiting them not long after
they married. My Uncle and Grandpa Vern were discussing farm work
and Uncle Dave must have said the "s" word for manure. My
Grandmother overheard this and stated, "We don't use that word in
this house." My Grandfather quietly replied, "In my house we do."
And that was the end of it. My Uncle and Grandfather got along well
Grandmother and Vern were married about 13 years and packed
it with fun. They traveled worldwide with another couple the
couple who introduced them. Grandmother was very lonely after Vern
died, but she didn't let it stop her. I loved to take her to lunch
and she loved to ply us with baked goods as long as she could. She
loved to think that both her husbands were the best of friends in
heaven, they had both been great sportsmen of hunting and fishing,
and in a way you could tell she couldn't wait to join them.
Grandmother is still waiting. She is in a nursing home in
Clare. She remembers us, but it is very hard to even have a
conversation with her. She remembers her childhood as if it was
yesterday. I try to ask her questions about my family that died
before I was born, and she usually can tell me the answers.
It is very hard for me to visit my grandmother, seeing her
as she is. But I remind myself of what a gutsy and truly wonderful
person she was and still is. She had many struggles in her life
but, soon, she will join my grandfathers. She is a woman of faith
who has never gone anywhere without her Bible, sharing the gospel as
long as she was able.
* * *
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be
pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."~~ Psalm
"Of all the billions of people who populate the Earth, you and you
alone are capable of creating something unique. Whether it's the
ultimate bagel, a thriving dry cleaning business, a lifetime of
exquisite tapestries, or a child, you are the only one who carries
the blueprints. This is the gift you have been given, and if you've
ever listened to that small, still voice in the dark recesses of
your soul, you know this is true." ~~Suzanne Falter-Barns
"Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him
it is sin."~~ James 4:17
Here is a family recipe that my grandmother loved to make for us.
Pork Chop Casserole
One or two pork chops, per person
Potatoes, peeled and quartered
Several onions, sliced
Carrots peeled and cut in two inch pieces
1 or 2 cansTomato soup
trim fat off chops, brown. Place on bottom of crock pot or roasting
pan. Place veggies on top and cover with tomato soup and 1 soup can
of water. Cook all day in crock pot or several hours in the oven at
325` - until tender. Add a salad and you have a yummy simple meal!
* * *
Now is a great time to find bargains on mums, pansies and other
perennials for the garden. Bulbs are on clearance, too. As long as
the ground is not frozen its not too late to add some plants to the
Keeping it Simple.