Friday, June 11, 2010

Flashback Friday: Grandparents!

Tell about any grandparents, cousins, or other extended family that was special to you growing up. Did they live near you or some distance away? Do you have any particular childhood memories (good OR bad!) of times spent with your grandparents? With your cousins? Did you spend holidays with them? At whose house did you generally gather? Do you still keep up with cousins, aunts & uncles, etc.? Did your paternal relatives and maternal relatives know and get along with each other?
 Oh, I love to talk about my grandmothers! I don't remember either of my grandfathers, as one passed away when I was a baby and the other passed away when I was about 2 years old. But my two grandmothers lived to be 88 and 89; they both passed away in late 2004, within just a few weeks of each other.

I was very close to both of my grandmothers. My maternal grandmother was Granny and my paternal grandmother was Grandma. They were as different as night and day! Granny was all hugs and snuggles; Grandma was shy about showing affection. Granny and I talked a lot; Grandma was not as much of a talker. Granny's house was full of stuff; Grandma's was neat as a pin. Near the end of their lives, Granny developed Alzheimer's disease; Grandma's mind was clear as a bell up to the minute she died.

For some of my childhood we lived near both grandmothers, and during other times we lived 2-3 hours away. My mother was very good about keeping in touch with both of them, so I got to talk to them on the phone quite often even when we lived far away - and that was back in the day when long distance was expensive! I spent a couple of weeks each summer with Granny, and when we lived farther away, she would come and spend a couple of weeks with us occasionally. Granny lived next door to her niece, so there was someone to take care of me when she was at work. Grandma worked full time too, but there was no one living near her who could take care of me, so I didn't spend much time with her during the summers. I think my parents kept a good balance of time for me to be with each of their mothers. Mama always kept up with Grandma just as much as she did her own mother.

We split holiday time between the two sides of our family. Every fall, Granny would ask Mama when Daddy's family was having their Christmas dinner, and they would always work out a good time for everyone to get together without having any squabbles (I now know how blessed our family was in that respect!).  On Mama's side, we would always gather at Granny's house for Christmas. She would usually make a chicken casserole and our favorite desserts. Granny would hand-make many of our Christmas gifts. She would buy those fabric panels that you stuffed with poly-fill and sewed up - one doll or animal for the girls and another for the boys. She made us girls Barbie clothes too; we had the best-dressed Barbies around! And there was usually a bought gift of some sort, like a tea set for me or model cars for the boys. We would all sit around the living room and open one gift at a time (this drove my husband crazy when he joined our family!), and it would take half the night to finish, but I have such fond memories now of all those Christmases.

Christmas on Daddy's side of the family rotated among the three brothers and their sister. I was the only grandchild on that side for the first seven years of my life, and my Dad's sister and youngest brother were teenagers when I was born, so I was pretty spoiled with gifts from them. We'd all bring favorite dishes to eat, and we would usually have a ham. I think they still have ham for Christmas, and come to think of it, I like to fix a ham for Christmas! I remember getting things from Grandma like clothes, many of them handmade, but I'm sure I must have gotten some toys too.

My grandmothers knew each other and got along well, although they didn't see each other often. I used to get tickled at them talking when they did get together, because they called each other Mrs. Rogers and Mrs. Holden. They were the same age, shared children and grandchildren, but never called each other by their first names! I think that had to do with the era in which they grew up. After I was grown, every time I would talk to one of them she would ask how my other grandma was doing.

I also got a "bonus" grandmother and a grandpa when my dad remarried. My stepmom's parents were wonderful people who welcomed me into the family and treated me just like their own grandchild. They lived next door to us, and we kids could pretty much come and go from their house as we pleased. I very quickly began calling them MaMa and PaPa. I couldn't have asked for better bonus grandparents than they were!

I had pretty much lost contact with all my cousins until Facebook came along. Now I'm "friends" with several of them, and with the daughter of one. I've seen them all occasionally over the years, but we never had much contact unless I was visiting out there. I've loosely kept in touch with my uncles and aunts, and again, Facebook has made that easier. Hopefully I'll get to see most of them within the next year when we take a trip out to SC. I think a visit from me is a good excuse for everybody to get together, don't you?! :)

Linda very graciously hosts Flashback Friday each week. Stop by and see what others have to say about their extended family this week!

6 comments:

  1. This was fun to read! Thank you for sharing your memories!

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  2. Oh, I loved reading about your grandmothers and your "bonus" grandparents! Thanks for participating!

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  3. Beth ~~ Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I always love talking about my grandmothers.

    Linda ~~ I've been blessed with the best! :)

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  4. What sweet memories! It's so neat that your grandparents knew each other. I don't know if mine did -- except maybe way back when my parents were dating. That's neat about "bonus grandparents," too.

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  5. I mentioned Facebook in my post too about keeping up with my cousins!

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  6. Barbara ~~ I always liked it that they knew and liked each other. The two sides of my family have always gotten along well.

    bp ~~ Facebook has changed the way things are, hasn't it?! It's nice to be able to link up with distant family members.

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Thanks for taking a minute to read my ramblings and leave a comment! I appreciate it!

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