Journal of Gerontological Nursing

Thoughts on Aging 

WHEN GRANDMOTHERS WERE THE FASHION

Gladys Little

Abstract

Some of my fondest recollections are of my maternal grandmother, a small, wiry little woman, who was Mother to the hired men and Aunt Susan to the school children. I shall always remember her sunny home-like kitchen. The teakettle would be singing on the stove, Uncle Dudley would be sitting at one end with Rover on the floor at his feet, a cat or two on the old settee. Grandma would be in her Boston rocker enjoying her morning coffee break. On a shelf over the sink stood a row of kerosene lamps. It was my task to see that they were kept filled and polished.

Grandma was a marvelous cook. Uncle Dudley wanted pies for breakfast, dinner, and supper, and the pies (especially mince and apple) were her specialty. Each fall, Uncle Dudley would take 80 pies down celler to freeze for winter use. Nothing slow about Grandma. I can almost taste her hot biscuits dripping with honey, spareribs, homemade sausage, and ribbon cake. When- ever I visited Grandma I always made a huge bowl of cottage cheese mixed with real cream. Yum, yum!

Grandma also had a green thumb. Her flower bed, bordered by a white picket fence, was just outside the kitchen window. In the center there was a large round bed which contained a double petunia, pinks, por- tulaca, and other old-fashioned flowers. Violets and ferns flourished in a shady niche. There were roses, sweet peas, and infants breath along the edge. Not a showy, formal garden, but sweet and fragrant like Grandma herself. Across the road stood the old well. What joy to lower the bucket into the deep dark depths and bring it up dripping with cold, clear water.

Grandma was a country woman, worked hard, and had only the advantages of the small country school, but she could shine in any society. It was said that in her earlier years she visited the Chicago World's Fair and people marveled at her dignity and grace. On Sunday, Grandma would hitch Dolly, her favorite horse, to the sleigh or top buggy and drive me to church, where we sat in the square family pew.

One day, a friend invited Grandma to ride out with him to call on the neighbors. Grandma was a sociable person and gladly accepted, but the ride never materialized because the friend suddenly remembered that he had come by horseback.

Grandma lived to be 92. Her hair was grey and her face wrinkled but I never thought of her as being old. She was my grandmother, one of the most wonderful people in the whole wide world.

Nowadays, with our modern apartment style living, grandmothers are often relegated to the nursing home. When I consider my own beloved grandmother, I wonder if the world would not be a happier and better place if the grandmothers were restored to their rightful place in the home and community.

When we wonder why our younger generations seem to dissipate and lack intrinsic moral values perhaps it is because grandmothers were our "fun mothers." Never too busy to listen, explain the whys, and teach us to understand and appreciate the simple things of life.

Gladys Little…

Some of my fondest recollections are of my maternal grandmother, a small, wiry little woman, who was Mother to the hired men and Aunt Susan to the school children. I shall always remember her sunny home-like kitchen. The teakettle would be singing on the stove, Uncle Dudley would be sitting at one end with Rover on the floor at his feet, a cat or two on the old settee. Grandma would be in her Boston rocker enjoying her morning coffee break. On a shelf over the sink stood a row of kerosene lamps. It was my task to see that they were kept filled and polished.

Grandma was a marvelous cook. Uncle Dudley wanted pies for breakfast, dinner, and supper, and the pies (especially mince and apple) were her specialty. Each fall, Uncle Dudley would take 80 pies down celler to freeze for winter use. Nothing slow about Grandma. I can almost taste her hot biscuits dripping with honey, spareribs, homemade sausage, and ribbon cake. When- ever I visited Grandma I always made a huge bowl of cottage cheese mixed with real cream. Yum, yum!

Grandma also had a green thumb. Her flower bed, bordered by a white picket fence, was just outside the kitchen window. In the center there was a large round bed which contained a double petunia, pinks, por- tulaca, and other old-fashioned flowers. Violets and ferns flourished in a shady niche. There were roses, sweet peas, and infants breath along the edge. Not a showy, formal garden, but sweet and fragrant like Grandma herself. Across the road stood the old well. What joy to lower the bucket into the deep dark depths and bring it up dripping with cold, clear water.

Grandma was a country woman, worked hard, and had only the advantages of the small country school, but she could shine in any society. It was said that in her earlier years she visited the Chicago World's Fair and people marveled at her dignity and grace. On Sunday, Grandma would hitch Dolly, her favorite horse, to the sleigh or top buggy and drive me to church, where we sat in the square family pew.

One day, a friend invited Grandma to ride out with him to call on the neighbors. Grandma was a sociable person and gladly accepted, but the ride never materialized because the friend suddenly remembered that he had come by horseback.

Grandma lived to be 92. Her hair was grey and her face wrinkled but I never thought of her as being old. She was my grandmother, one of the most wonderful people in the whole wide world.

Nowadays, with our modern apartment style living, grandmothers are often relegated to the nursing home. When I consider my own beloved grandmother, I wonder if the world would not be a happier and better place if the grandmothers were restored to their rightful place in the home and community.

When we wonder why our younger generations seem to dissipate and lack intrinsic moral values perhaps it is because grandmothers were our "fun mothers." Never too busy to listen, explain the whys, and teach us to understand and appreciate the simple things of life.

Gladys Little

10.3928/0098-9134-19790101-13

Sign up to receive

Journal E-contents