Grandma was rocking chairs and goldie birds, whole wheat toast with jam that had lots of seeds in it that stuck in my teeth.
Grandma had lots of snails at her house and an old wringer washer machine.
She had duck pens and chicken coops, and a field behind her house where Billy said golf balls grew.
She had a park down the street where Billy’d push me to fast on the merry go round and I’d throw up.
Grandma had a big ocean near her and a half naked lady that sat on her shelf that use to embarrass me.
She had rose colored dishes and a cookie jar that was always full.
She had a rose bush I fell in once and beans you had to snap in two to cook.
She made us write thank you letters and learn table manners, but she always had ice cream to go with it.
Grandma was forever correcting my grammar and telling me not to be sassy.
Grandma had curly hair that wound itself around the rollers.
She was picnics and rides, big smiles and rosy cheeks.
She was homemade apple sauce and rubbarb, cookies and fudge. She was baby quilts and afghans, tablecloths and handmade napkins.
Grandma pretended not to know I was pregnant before my wedding, and she was so happy to hear about it when I finally told her.
She was card games and scrabble, trivial pursuit and even poker.
She held my pedestal up so high I was afraid of falling off. She was kind and gentle, sweet and good, ornery and even stubborn.
She showed her favoritism openly and lavish her chosen with love and joy. She made you sparkle and shine whether you did so or not, and you felt graced by her affection.
I know – because I was one of those chosen few and feel sad for those others not so blessed.
by Suzi Terrell
When I was a very little girl, my Father was sent to Prague Oklahoma to manage a lumber yard there. We lived up over the office until my Father could build his own house. I do remember my brother and I climbing over stacks of lumber, digging into tar barrels and chewing it. Later after our house was finished, I remember helping Mother, playing in our lovely yard, garden and in the barn. We had a cow, and lots of chickens that I loved to feed.
Because I was a very lonely child most of the time as my brother was always out playing and doing Boy things and Mother thought I should stay inside most of the time, I had a lot of pretend friends. One time, I was about three and half or four, I ran away from home to visit a pretend friend, or just to go, I don’t recall. One of Mothers friends gathered me up and took me home, so I really didn’t get very far.
As I grew up Mother still kept me close to her and I could only play with children of her friends, most of whom had no children my age, all much older. Then when I was about nine (1913) we moved to a little town called Eufaula, Oklahoma, where my Father and an Uncle put in their own lumber yard, and I was at last allowed to go to school.
I then was allowed to have friends my age, that was wonderful, but didn’t last very long as Mother became ill and we left and came to Coronado California . Life became lonely there especially since Mother being bed-ridden all the time. Part of the time we were able to have a woman come in and help with the house work, but most of the time I did the bed making, dish washing, a lot of the cooking and cleaning up. Some times my brother would help with the dishes. But except for the 3 months after he had surgery, he was in school too and afterwards helping my Father in a small grocery store he had taken over shortly after we went to Coronado .
That time was my first experience of the ocean and of course couldn’t go to the beach alone – only with a friend of Mothers who had three children of her own, all younger that I. We were in Coronado for about 2 years (1918 – 1920).
In the mean time, my Father had gone back to Oklahoma City to another lumber yard and when Mother was able to be up, we followed. Life there was the same except Mother was up and about most of the time. Then after about a year there Mother decided it was time to move again, and we should get a farm. Well my poor Father was not meant to be a farmer, but he did work hard at it, and at a very bad time as that was the beginning of the ‘Big Dust Bowl’. Every thing dried up and burned – even the water. So after a year and half, and Mother sick again, we left and came west to Prescott Arizona .
I did learn to sew and cook under Mothers guidance and that was good for me. When I was 12 I was sent to a boarding school in St. Louis Missouri . It turned out to be a sort of detention home for wayward girls, but there were also nice girls there. I didn’t stay but three and a half months. That was plenty long enough!!
After returning to Prescott , I went to Flagstaff and there I completed high school, and did about seven or eight months college work in Home Economics.
There is where life really changed as there is where I met your Grandfather, married and started my wonderful family. End of girlhood and enough said!
(Written May 1985 age 81)
I recall when my grandma was dying in 1990 … I was in flight with my mom sitting beside me hoping we’d make it to Pueblo in time. But as we descended into Colorado Springs I looked out the window and ‘felt’ a cool, calming breeze go ‘through’ me and I turned to mom to say “Grandma just died … she just passed through me to tell me she was ok.” Mom didn’t comment, but I noted the time just in case.
At the airport the luggage handlers had misplaced Mom’s bag, so we had a delay then had an hour drive to St. Mary Corwin Hospital. As we entered the building, we were greeted by the front desk ladies where our driver Mary was pulled aside to tell her the bad news. Mom and I had gone on ahead but we’d heard what she was told, so when the elevator doors opened on Grandma’s floor and Uncle Bill was standing there before us, I burst into tears and fell in his arms. My watch had recorded the correct time she passed.
Very lovely Suzi….we have many things in common when it comes to grandmas….(Chickens,curly hair and unconditional love for starters)….,,Mine was the light of my life. When I first saw your grandma’s face as I was going through the pictures, without knowing it was your grandma, I had an instant feeling that I would have liked her.