Today’s story is about my great grandmother, Gram. I have snippets of her life recorded from things both my mom and my grandmother have told me. I remember her quite well actually, but the tales of her younger years were much more exciting to me than the respectable senior citizen I knew.
Gram was a gracious woman. One of her trees was marked during the Great Depression meaning that she would give a meal to any who asked. All of the cousins (my mom’s generation) tried to visit Gram’s house at the same time. She always gave everyone what they wanted to eat: Kool-aid, potato chips, watermelon, sugar or molasses cookies. She ate more unusual things like sour cream (not the kind you buy, but SOURED cream) on toast or sugar sandwiches (butter and brown sugar on bread). She was allergic to poultry; it made her violently ill.
On Halloween, Gram would send her kids out to trick-or-treat and then put a sheet over her head and hide behind a nearby row of quince trees. She would jump out and scare them on their way home. One year, a horse whinnied and that sent the kids running. She didn’t get a chance to frighten them that year.
Gram was a recognized artist in her town. She painted murals in all of her bedrooms. At Christmas she went all out and won the town “best display” award many times. I am lucky enough to have some of her pieces like this Santa painting.
On Christmas Eve, she’d have the entire family over for dinner. She provided the meat and everyone else brought potluck. She gave each grandchild and later, each great-grandchild a gift. She’d hire someone to dress up as Santa and hand out the presents. When my mom was engaged to my dad, she had him act as Santa. It was one of those great memories for my dad and a great way to make him feel part of the family.