Saturday, November 28, 2009

Great-Grandmas Are Rare Treasures

Half of my DNA profile: This is a followup photo to my most-recent post. It's a classic four-generation picture of me on my great-grandma's lap, surrounded by my grandma, left, and my mom. It was taken in Milledgeville, PA, in 1951.
I'm lucky to have spent a lot of time with both these grandmas when I was a little kid. My great-grandma, however, was my preferred companion. When Mom would let me walk up to her house and spend all day there, those were the best days.
I'd push "Shave and a Hair Cut, Two Bits" on her front-porch buzzer, and she was always glad to see me when she came to the door. There was an endless supply of pink-peppermint candies in a bowl on the oak library table in her front parlor. That's where I'd head to right away.
Standing on my tip-toes, I could barely reach the bowl. "Better have two," she'd say kindly when I looked up at her for permission. Compared with the far more restrictive rules enforced by Mom at home, this kind of indulgence was one of the many reasons I loved my great-grandma. Just about anything I wanted to do at her house was fine with her.
She was a quiet woman, who listened to my chatter but had little to add. I wonder now if maybe she couldn't hear me that well. In her late 80s and depending on a cane for mobility, she never seemed to complain, even while slowly making her way upstairs with me for our aftenoon nap.
Today whenever I envision her face, she is always wearing the same little smile as in this photo. She died when I was about 12.
Yes, I was a lucky little girl. Great-grandmas are rare treasures.


  1. Indeed you were lucky to have known her and spent time with her Donna. I was able to meet both my Mom's grandparents on her Mom's side, but never really got to "know" them like this. And, I vaguely remember meeting my Dad's grandmother on his Dad's side, maybe once or twice, and was transfixed by the snuff in her mouth. That's about all I remember of her. :c)

  2. Lucky you to have this knowledge. My own great grandmother came to American in 1872 from Germany. Her husband died enroute and with 2 sons and a daughter she bought acres and built a farm in Minnesota. She lived until 1938 so I never met her.

  3. Yes they are! Thanks for following my doggie life blog... I look forward to visiting you and your sheps here often.

  4. Beautiful post. I especially like imagining "shave and a haircut" on her buzzer!

    Thanks for stopping by the manor today.

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog and your kind words. I live in MD so we won't be taking a walk together anytime soon. :-)
    We are the same age too.

    I was so sorry to read about the death of your husband and mother in the same year.

  6. It's wonderful that you have such a delightful remembrance of your great-grandma. I had a step-great-grandmother, and even though I visited her fairly often as a child I remember that she treated me as a visitor more than a granddaughter. But she was a sweet woman, and older, so I imagine that getting around and having a feisty young'un about were challenge enough for her. A relationship is far better than a visit. You are lucky, indeed.

  7. Yes, indeed, what a treasure your great-grandmother was! It is such a gift to have someone actually listen to us, isn't it? I'm so glad you're writing!

  8. Ah yes - the good old days. I always enjoy reading your stuff Donna. The Lord gave you a powerful gift and it is good to see you using it to process through the losses you have had. God Bless you kiddo - Steve

  9. It sounds like a wonderful childhood. Simpler times. I wish I had appreciated it more when I was a young-en.


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