My Grandma is an interesting chick. She’s funny and loud, a great cook, a good friend and listener. I’ve been meaning for years now (since I was in college) to help her jot down some memories. She doesn’t type, use a computer or take shorthand. I do occasionally write, so there you have it.
She turns 87 next Tuesday (it’s my mom’s birthday, too! Happy birthday, Mom!) so Internet, tell my Grandma and Mom happy birthday, would you? And now, for a 13:
13. Grandparents, parents (and uh, me) tend to sometimes tell you the same story over and over and over. Have you noticed this? Not if you’re really listening they don’t. I started asking questions and off we went…
12. I started out by asking her if it was okay if I wrote some things down for my kids, so they can remember her. Maybe a few anecdotes, a little bit of a family tree. Then we added recipes. My grandma and I love recipes. (See here, here and here for a few favorites.)
11. Next thing I know, she’s telling me about the time she and my grandfather ran off to the Memphis Zoo in the middle of the night.
10. Then she’s pouring her heart out, talking about my grandpa, and my dad (my Grandma loved my dad and stood by him when he was so sick), and we’re talking about all this, and about all the places she loved to go camping when her kids were little kids. To her, it seems like that was yesterday. My kids are little kids right now and some days? It feels like it will last forever. But I know it won’t. (I am looking forward to them growing up and dreading it, too.) Time goes so fast. You know that, but you don’t really know it until you’re almost 90, I guess. I made a list of all of her favorite getaways and am including that in the book.
9. The book? Yes. We’re turning it into a book. We can print it through Cafe Press. (PS — Shameless Commerce Plug — You know I sell Wacky Mommy gear at Cafe Press, yes? Go buy some!!!) I am so psyched about this book. She can sell it to her buddies at church, to her family back home, to the neighbors, to her own kids (ha, ha). Funny, eh? She wants to donate the proceeds to Meals on Wheels. (Thank you, Meals on Wheels, for visiting my Grandma five days a week.) I already have I don’t even know how many pages typed up. Twenty or so? I’m shooting for something around one hundred pages. Mebbe one twenty five. And I’ve typed up a bunch of recipes.
8. Including this one. It’s perfect for Fourth of July:
2 lbs. chicken
¼ cup oil
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
Garlic (1 clove)
½ tsp. grated ginger
Mix. Marinate. Bake at 350 degrees 1 hour or barbeque, turning twice. Sauce can be thickened with cornstarch.
7. Which reminds me. I need to get her potato salad recipe. And the recipe for the salad she makes with butter lettuce and milk dressing.
6. I’ve found out all kinds of stuff about our family, the Depression, World War II, her life. For instance, her brother was a bootlegger. And she and my Grandpa used to own a store, back home in Arkansas.
5. My mom is psyched, too — she has a family tree she’s going to send me, so we can include that in the front. It goes back to 1730!! Geez, who knew? That’s on my Grandpa’s side. And my Grandma’s side goes back to her grandparents, around the 1860s? My mom is going to keep researching.
4. It has made us closer, talking. I’ve been trying to call her at least every other day, and interviewing her for an hour or so at a time. Sometimes it’s a little much for her, tripping down memory lane. It can be a little intense.
3. But her mind is so clear and her memories are so strong. I’m grateful for this.
2. It means a lot to my mom.
1. My cousin and I are planning to add a memories section to the back, with our favorite stories about her. And we’re going to put a section of “Grandma-isms” in there, too. Fun!! Happy Thursday, everyone!
“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.”
– Madeleine L’Engle, writer (1918- )