The other day, I found myself thinking back to the days when I visited my grandparent’s house. I lived in a very small town and they lived just a couple of blocks away. I would grab my rope and skip down to their house as I sang a happy song along the way. I was just doing what most kids did at six years old in a small town. Their house had two bedrooms. One of the bedrooms, if I remember correctly, was connected to the dining room. The larger bedroom had a feather bed. Now if you do not know what a feather bed is, then I will describe it. A feather bed is made of goose feathers. Most folks made their own feather beds. When you laid on it, you sank. There was no way of turning over. One thing for sure, they were warm and a lot of fun. The bed was always covered in homemade quilts. A quilt box was in the room with more quilts for those cold winter nights. On the dresser was a shoe box filled with black and white family pictures.
The living room was small. In the winter the room was heated by a coal stove which was very messy. Grandpa was always up by 4am in the morning to get the stove fired up. He and grandma backed up to it and warmed their behinds. Grandpa always sat in a rocking chair right by his cuckoo clock. The clock totally amazed me. I loved watching the little bird pop our and cuckoo. By the clock sat an old radio. Of course it only had an AM station. FM had not come into to play yet in those years. Over by the other chair was the old rotary type telephone. It was used for emergencies only. Sometimes when they were not in the room, I would pick up the receiver and listen in on the town folk’s gossip. I sure miss those party lines. Back in those days that could be very informative and entertaining for a seven year old mischievous kid like me. It was kind of like a community family telephone because some of us didn’t have a telephone in our houses.
My favorite room was the kitchen. Grandma was always cooking something that aroused your taste buds. The wonderful aroma from her kitchen still sticks with me today. Home made pies cooked in the oven and were set on the window sills to cool. Grandma boiled her potatoes and chopped them up with a potato masher. No, there were no mixers in those days. A woman in the kitchen had to have strong hands. Grandma would always let me lick the cake batter off of the spoon when she baked a cake. I would watch, sit real still, and wait for that special moment when I was allowed to grab that spoon and bowl. Then I would lick to my hearts content, wrapping my tongue up and down that big wooden spoon. What a delight! Those were some good times! There were lots of wooden pine shelves on the wall. The shelves contained rows of mason jars. The jars were of all sizes. They were filled with corn, jams, jellies, and any kind of beans that you could imagine. There were jars of relishes, potatoes, soup, dill pickles and almost anything that you can find in today’s grocery store. This was real down home cooking. A fly swatter hung on the wall by the door. That was a job assigned to me. If a fly found its way into Grandma’s kitchen I would give it a good swat.
From the kitchen you could go outside through the old back door. It was always especially important to remember to close the screen door or I would be batting flies again.
The yard had flowers of all kind. The roses and snow balls were the prettiest. I always had an urge to pick a few but I didn’t want a paddling. Now a paddling was a good swat on the bottom side of ones lower part. A huge tree stood with its branches swaying in the wind. The tree provided shade during hot summer days. There was no such thing as air conditioning in that house. My grandparents would have said even a fan would give you a cold.
Further to the back of the yard was a chicken coop where Grandma fed the chicken’s everyday. Sometimes I helped gather the eggs. Some of the eggs were brown and some white. That always amazed me too. I could not understand how white chickens laid brown eggs. I was told that the brown eggs tasted better but I am not quite sure of that. Beyond that point was the vegetable garden. The rows were always straight and kept clean of weeds. Grandpa had a man plow the dirt some time in late February or early March. Each year the man came down the streets of the town with his mule and plow to do up the town folk’s gardens.
Even today, I can remember Grandma in her long apron that she wore to keep her dress clean. Now back in those days, it was important to keep ones clothes from getting dirty because washing was a real chore. Do you remember the old ringer type washer? Grandma filled it up with water from a garden hose. After that she put the clothes in it. Each piece of clothing was hand fed through a ringer to get the soapy water partly out. Then they were rinsed in a wash tub and hung on a clothes line to dry. I can still remember the old clothes pen bag. Those sheets would just be flapping in the wind as the strong sun shine beat down on them. After they were dry, I can’t say they were soft but oh did they ever smell good. Even until today clean fresh sheets are my favorite smell.
My Grandpa dressed in his bib overalls and had whiskers. I remember his shaving mug, brush and long blade straight razor that he used when shaving. Maybe this sticks out in my mind about him more than anything else because he had trick he used to play on me. It gave him a good chuckle but I just got a red cheek from it. He always wanted his grandpa hug and then he would allow those whiskers to touch my face. Grandpa called that whiskering. As I remember it, I called it uncomfortable. Now you know I was always grateful when I met up with Grandpa on a Sunday morning when he had just shaved.
Yes, being Grandparents and grandchildren back in those days was quite different than it is today. Today I am the Grandmother. My house is an apartment. There is no Grandpa with me. My groceries come from the grocery store. My laundry is done in an automatic washer and dryer. When I make a cake, it comes from a box. I mix the cake with an electric mixer. My flowers are indoors and made of silk. I buy my pies already baked. My grandkids don’t skip a rope to Grandma’s house. My granddaughter drives her own car. My grandson has his skate board. They both text . I have my I phone to watch videos of them. I see their faces on Facebook.
Just like most of you that may still have grandparents or even are grandparents yourself, there is ONE thing still the same. That one thing is the Love that is there between Grandparents and Grandchildren! I just hope that someday, my grandchildren will be able to remember something special about me.