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Posts Tagged ‘grandmother’

Hope you all had a tremendous food fest, that is called Thanksgiving, here in the U.S. 

TV is on and I just HAVE to say this.  Just how sick is Bridalplasty.  The whole idea makes me sick.  What a sad state this country is getting itself in.  Enough digression.

My fond memories of Thanksgiving are from my childhood, when we traveled to my grandmother/aunt’s house and I spent the day being hugged and kissed by comfy aunts and spent time with my sister (she lived with my grandmother). 

My grandmother was a quiet woman.  I really wish I could remember her voice, but I don’t.  I do remember her whispery reading (something my dad did also) and her piano playing.  I also remember that, if she knew you had a favorite dish that was just a bit different from norm, say the lemon filling in lemon cream pie but without crust (Now who in the world would want to do without homemade pie crust?).  I’m just saying, that if that was what you liked, Grandma had it there waiting for you.

Grandma’s house was full of people and conversation and laughter; especially when the ladies went out to do the dishes while the men slept on the couch.  They were mostly laughing about the men, I think, but they were sure having a good time.

Then, came the time when dinner was at mom’s house and I was one of them helping  with cleanup (when mom would allow anyone to help) and laughing.  It was always extra good when unexpected relatives arrived to crowd the table.

This year, Thanksgiving was particularly quiet.  It was just five of us and we catered it from Cracker Barrel.  After two weeks on my Vegan heart diet, I decided to join in and eat just regular food.  The best was the pizza and chips we had for lunch.  But, they weren’t quite as good as I remembered.  Everyone enjoys Cracker Barrel’s cooking, but I was actually wishing I was still eating Vegan.

Surprised me!  Something about this diet makes me feel lighter inside and like all my insides are working properly.  I know that isn’t a very scientific way to put it, but I’m glad to be back on my diet. 

STATS:  By Wednesday (that’s actually a week and a half) I have now lost five pounds.  Thursday’s meal put it to four.  Since I cannot see inside my arteries, I cannot tell you but I imagine little blocks of them floating downstream.    I made a great three bean soup and adjusted the War Cake recipe (follows).  It is one of the most moist cakes you can make.  It is from World War I and has no eggs, milk, nor butter in it.

This recipe is from a Dear Heloise column, when someone asked for the “eggless, milkless, butterless cake her mother made around 1918.  It is dark and heavy but ohhhh so good.

Mix 2 cups brown sugar
2 cups hot water
 and 2 teaspoons shortening (I used 2 teaspoons of apple sauce) in medium saucepan.

Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup raisins (I used chopped up dates). 

Add 1 teaspoon each of salt, cinnamon and cloves.  I RARELY add salt and did not for this cake.

Boil the above for five minutes after it first bubbles.  Remove from the stove and let it cool.  Let it cool completely.

After it is cool, add 3 cups of flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat but was then out of whole wheat so had to use 2 cups of white.  I would normally at least do 50/50 on that but am now going heavier on the whole wheat.

And, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in 2 teaspoons of hot water.

Mix well

Pour into greased bundt pan

Bake 1 hour at 350 to 375

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gram-s-r-lydia

This is my grandma, with her pearls, Master’s Daughter, daughter-of-eleven and my Aunt Lydia.  Aunt Lydia never married.  She said she was never going to do what a man told her to do and, since the Bible said she had to, she just was not going to get married.  After helping her put a new door up at their house once, my father came home and said that she was the most difficult, bull-headed person on earth. 

 

My mother said that was like the pot calling the kettle black.

 

 

Grandma was a quiet, uneducated woman and once asked her son, when he came home on a visit from the military, “Do you have any of them G.I.’s in your camp?”  Everyone has a story or two about things grandma said.  She did not understand a lot of the world as it moved on past her.

 

She was not a real big talker anyway.  I mostly knew her from observing.  But, she always took the time to play the piano for me.  Her right hand had a huge tumor on it and it amazed me how she could make such beautiful music. 

 

I remember her ironing too.  She had this whispery whistle that accompanied her as she worked around the house and she was always working around the house.  I rarely saw her sit down and rest.  Even with a house full of company, she was always moving and cleaning. 

 

My aunt lived with Grandma, so I am not sure whether some of the things I remember were the result of my aunt or my grandmother.  I know when paper plates came out, they had to buy a pack.  We ate our meal on those plates and they gathered them up and took them to the kitchen. 

 

The next time I went into the kitchen, there was a clothes line of paper plates hanging out to dry.    

 

It did not matter how many children were there either, grandma always made their favorite food.  She would save out lemon pie filling for the child that liked it without the crust.  She watched and listened and, whatever food was the favorite of a child, would be waiting for them, the next time they arrived.

My funniest memory, of grandma, was walking in the door one time and hearing her yelling out, “Get Him!” Gorgeous George was wrestling on her little black and white tv and my quiet grandma was cheering him on.

This is a picture of grandma with three of her four children.  The fourth child, was a girl who died at the age of six.  Left to right is my uncle Clifford, my grandmother in blue dress (Flossie VanVleck) my father Harold and my Aunt Lydia. 

 

 

clif-gram-dad-lydia1

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Lest, BrainDrain a/k/a Master’s Daughter:

 http://braindebris.wordpress.com/2008/06/27/tampons-and-the-garbage-man/#comment-48 

Before she steals all Grandma’s “good” stories, I thought I should add my two cents. I wrote these lines this morning and then sat here trying to remember Grandma stories. I know there are some; actually more than you would believe. It’s just really hard to remember them. There was the time grandma fell down a couple of the basement stairs and broke her ?foot ?wrist. Daughter of eleven children, was visiting and wanted to call an ambulance. Mom would not allow that.

No self-respecting woman would let an EMT in the house until she had crawled up the stairs, washed everything that got dirty in the fall, put on lipstick and combed her hair. Only then, was an ambulance called. I have not inherited this trait and I have been known to go to the emergency room in ratty sweat pants and shirt. I got very mad at my family, the time they made me get up off the van floor and sit in a chair with seatbelt because I had taken E-myacin and nearly vomited my life away. I refuse to comb my hair when I am in pain or vomiting. Ain’t happen’.

Oh, and then their is the time my soon-to-be husband was visiting and sat a water pitcher on the floor (we were playing cards). The intake of air, from all in presence in the room, sucked the oxygen from a three county area. He looked up at the open mouthed, staring faces, with a look of wonder. “What’d I do?” Teeth clenched, I whispered, “Pick it up, before she sees it.” But, it was already too late as the lack of oxygen had already gotten her attention.

There are certain things you just don’t do at Grandma’s house. Put things in the fridge without washing them off. She is actually trying to deny this at this point in her life but I remember the assembly line every payday when mom, dad, brother and I would unpack, wash, dry and shelf the groceries. Which I really didn’t understand when it came to can goods being stored in the basement. They had to be washed off again when you brought them up. Come to think of it, all canned goods had to be washed off again. You also don’t put things on the floor, not unless they can be decontaminated; nope, not even then. Feet are not allowed on the couch, but then bare feet are frowned upon anyway, and not wanted on the floor either. That may be it for this morning. That’s the extent of my memory.

I would be just as funny as Master Daughter, but she actually has a memory. One day we were talking and she relates a story about something that happened when she was two years old. I vaguely remembered the incident, and I was a lot older obviously, but it is not the “Remember that Christmas when you…” type of thing that is brought up every holiday so that you never forget it. Which is usually the point of those embarressing stories. I’m telling you, the girl’s memory is scary.

I, on the other hand, have been known to have a conversation about where to go on an upcoming holiday, walk into the dining room (from the location of the first conversation-the kitchen), sit down in a chair and look up at those living in the house and say, “When are we going to decide where we are going for the upcoming holiday?”

Only to be greeted by stares of disbelieve. Well, not anymore. They are used to it now. My lack of memory is legendary at this point. I tend to start conversations in the middle of topics. I forget I was just thinking about it and not already discussing it.

I feel like a fraud adding a humor tag to my blogs, after reading the ungrateful rat daughter’s, but hey, she’s got talent. I would like to point out that her Blog name is not BrainDrain but is actually Brain Debris.  I looked it up. I forgot.

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My dad and David during WW II

It is raining in central Indiana. Since I grew up in northwestern Indiana, this does not surprise me. It is the reason that all I want to do is stay in, drink hot oolong/Jasmine tea and curl up under a blanket with a good book.

 

Actually, I love the rain. One of my favorite memories is camping with my family in the rain. Sitting in my living room, I can smell the wet canvas and hear the sound of the tent zipper. My brother and I would play Cribbage by the fire, after the rain cleared, or while sitting at the picnic table, under a tarp. He also taught me to play chess. He loved games. I don’t.  I have a compulsion to create and, the whole time I am playing a game, I feel I am wasting time when I should be painting.  But, I do make an exception for Cribbage and chess and would give a lot to have one more game by the fire.

 

My brother, David, was under two when our dad went off to war. He, mom and our sister lived with our grandmother during this time.  David loved our Uncle Donald.  He followed him around like a puppy dog until Uncle Donald DeWitt shipped out. One day, he woke up from his nap screaming. Grandma and mom went running in to comfort him. He told them that Uncle Donald was hurt, and they put him in a jeep, and they drove him into the forest, and he was never coming back. David was inconsolable. My grandmother said, she knew right then that her son was dead. David’s dream was a warning for her.

 

It was true. Uncle Donald was fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. There was a company in the U.S. that ran out of gunpowder so they decided to try TNT (excuse me if I have the names of the powders wrong). Uncle Donald’s weapon exploded.  An ambulance was not available, so they put him on the back of a jeep to take him to the field hospital; through the woods. He was DOA.  When they received the death notice, the day of his death was the same day as my brother’s nightmare.

 

My brother was born six years before I was. I understand he liked to spoil me when we were little. I don’t remember much of that but I do remember that he was always there to listen, when the world seemed to be crushing me. I also remember him reading or listening to music. He would come to dinner with his nose in a book. In fact, one day he came out of his bedroom when mom had company, and the company asked her who the boy was, who was visiting. They had been to our home several times but he was always in his bedroom reading and they had no idea she had a son.

 

David went off to the Air Force and became a phlebotomist. Mr. Nasty Nice would draw blood, take bodily fluids, and test them. In those days, I believe they just put their thumb over the end of the test tube and shook it up.  However, you would incur his wrath if you took a drink out of his water glass.

 

 

When he signed up for military service, he got the deal to pick where he would be stationed after basic training. As any sane person would do, he chose Hawaii. He actually spent the last years of his service at Ernest Harmon Air Force Base in Newfoundland. The Air Force has quite a sense of irony, doesn’t it?

 

After he left the Air Force, my brother worked at a hospital lab in Illinois. His co-worker invited him to dinner one night and introduced him to her daughter, Terri. They married and had four wonderful kids. He was head of the lab at St. Margaret’s Hospital in Hammond, Indiana, until he got involved with computers.  It was a passion for him and when he became ill, he was able to work from home as he became more ill.

 

Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma took his life.  He fought it for two years.  As the disease progressed and the treatments took their tole, he developed a cough. One of the few things he could enjoy was eating lunch with friends in the hospital cafeteria. One day he was coughing in line and another hospital employee told him, “If you are that sick, you shouldn’t be here.” I kind of understand, but he wasn’t infectious and for the rest of the time he had left on earth, he ate lunch alone in his office.  Which was not right either.

 

People tend to panic on their fiftieth birthday. My brother didn’t.  He panicked when he turned forty. This was before they diagnosed his cancer. I joked that he should wait and get upset when he turned fifty. Something in him seemed to know he would never make it to fifty, and he didn’t.  He passed away in 1990. I miss him every single day; especially the rainy ones.

 

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