Tell me a story about when you where little, Grandma! | TheFencePost.com

Tell me a story about when you where little, Grandma!

Beth Gibbons
Crawford, Neb.

My grandchildren delight in asking me, “What was it like when you were little? Tell me a story about what you did, Grandma,” is a common request. I try to think of activities and fun things we did, like when I braided horses’ tails. Father did not approve of that though I didn’t understand why.

There was a time my younger brother said he was going to grow up to smoke a pipe and grow whiskers. We were quite tiny and I felt terrible. Imaging a three year old with black whiskers smoking a big smelly pipe turned me off. “You will not!” I declared. “I won’t let you!” I was just a year older and the wiser one, I thought. He laughed and giggled at the way he upset me. Older siblings thought it was hilarious that I was upset at his boasting. He and I did most things together and I didn’t want a pipe smoking whiskered little brother. The idea still makes him laugh all these years later.

We took our shoes off at the first chance in the spring. Usually we had to wait until school was out in early May, then we’d run barefoot through the sand. Long underwear and long stockings would come off at the first warm days too. They were not favorite clothing articles. Long underwear was usually itchy. My long stockings often got holes in them when I fell or would hang down wrinkled to my shoes. Spring was a time of release from all such constraints.

We delighted in the simple joys of freedom to run and play in the warm sandy trail roads. There was no traffic past our place except every other day at a certain time the mail carrier put-putted past in his noisy pickup. We heard him before seeing him.

All eight of us took baths in a galvanized wash tub each Saturday afternoon. The same water was used for everyone then used to mop the floor then to water the plants outside. Water was heated on the kitchen range which heated all the house. I still remember on a cold afternoon when older brother backed against the oven door. He yelled and was branded on his posterior.

Our mother was not happy the time Jim rubbed mud all over Ted and I in a nearby mud hole. She got out the galvanized bath tub and made fast work of scrubbing our muddy bodies off in the lukewarm water from the warming oven. We were scolded as she cleaned us.

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When we played in the clay hole we saw water snakes so that was quickly stopped. They were after the tad poles swimming there. We would sometimes bring tad poles inside to study and to observe. They were then returned to the water tank. I wasn’t afraid to play with toads and don’t consider them the source of having hand warts even though some people were sure they caused them. My sister that refused to touch toads had as many worts as I did. Grandma rubbed cod liver oil on my hands to ‘cure’ the worts. It didn’t. She gave me a nickel for my worts once. That didn’t stop them either.

Snakes were not frightening to me as I saw my brothers pull them from under the chicken house by the tail. So, I did the same. Then I saw rattlesnakes in the wild. That changed my perspective of all snakes. The first time I saw a rattlesnake was in the evening when my husband came rushing in calling for a gun and flashlight while he got the .22 shells. It was windy and dark all around. He shot one rattler as it coiled rattling threateningly beside the screen door close to my baby chicks which I had just been to shut their door – barefooted. Husband said, “Snakes usually travel in pairs,” and shining the flashlight to the corner of the brooder house came another snake slithering scarily.

The next snake I saw was beside the porch door. I quickly used the garden hoe chopping so fast I chopped the snake to pieces and ruined the hoe handle. It was just a little garter snake. I didn’t take time to check for rattlers on the tail, I just destroyed him. My adrenalin was flowing fast and furious.

At nights I often would read books to my three younger brothers. Usually we were spread out in a big bed with them crowding close, listening with rapt attention. I enjoyed this close camaraderie with my younger brothers. We got into lots of serious deep conversations. A time I remember most was when Ted asked, “Will there be horses in Heaven?” I didn’t know but thought it would be possible. “Well, if they are, I get Rusty,” he declared with finality. That was fine with me. I was not about to fuss about things like that for if there were horses then there were most likely be other animals too. I was thinking I preferred the presence and happiness of our family: Mama, Daddy, Grandmas and Grandpas, Sister and Brothers, Great Grandmother, Aunts and Uncles. They lived close by and all were loved.

The extended family came to visit often especially for special meals like when the uncles were home on leave from the service – army and navy. They looked so very handsome in their uniforms which they wore to leave. Other times together were special holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter. My mother cooked a lot of good simple meals like turkey, beef, veggies, potatoes and gravy.

Our mom made cakes on special occasions. She frosted the cakes which often fell leaving a depression in the center. Probably because some child ran through the house and slammed the door. Sometimes she’d fill that hole with frosting. Our Uncle Chester said those cakes with the accumulation of frosting in the hole were his favorites. He was always one to try to make people feel better and that did help. Our mother had been his teacher and we all thought a lot of him.

Uncle Chester liked to be included in activities with everyone. He played Old Maid and sat on the Old Maid card. Everyone had a good laugh when we found where that card had gone. Checkers were another game we played. I don’t remember our mother getting involved in games but Dad and the uncles and aunts were good competitors. My mother was more likely to be crocheting, embroidering or sewing. She liked to keep her hands busy creating something worthwhile.

My grandchildren delight in asking me, “What was it like when you were little? Tell me a story about what you did, Grandma,” is a common request. I try to think of activities and fun things we did, like when I braided horses’ tails. Father did not approve of that though I didn’t understand why.

There was a time my younger brother said he was going to grow up to smoke a pipe and grow whiskers. We were quite tiny and I felt terrible. Imaging a three year old with black whiskers smoking a big smelly pipe turned me off. “You will not!” I declared. “I won’t let you!” I was just a year older and the wiser one, I thought. He laughed and giggled at the way he upset me. Older siblings thought it was hilarious that I was upset at his boasting. He and I did most things together and I didn’t want a pipe smoking whiskered little brother. The idea still makes him laugh all these years later.

We took our shoes off at the first chance in the spring. Usually we had to wait until school was out in early May, then we’d run barefoot through the sand. Long underwear and long stockings would come off at the first warm days too. They were not favorite clothing articles. Long underwear was usually itchy. My long stockings often got holes in them when I fell or would hang down wrinkled to my shoes. Spring was a time of release from all such constraints.

We delighted in the simple joys of freedom to run and play in the warm sandy trail roads. There was no traffic past our place except every other day at a certain time the mail carrier put-putted past in his noisy pickup. We heard him before seeing him.

All eight of us took baths in a galvanized wash tub each Saturday afternoon. The same water was used for everyone then used to mop the floor then to water the plants outside. Water was heated on the kitchen range which heated all the house. I still remember on a cold afternoon when older brother backed against the oven door. He yelled and was branded on his posterior.

Our mother was not happy the time Jim rubbed mud all over Ted and I in a nearby mud hole. She got out the galvanized bath tub and made fast work of scrubbing our muddy bodies off in the lukewarm water from the warming oven. We were scolded as she cleaned us.

When we played in the clay hole we saw water snakes so that was quickly stopped. They were after the tad poles swimming there. We would sometimes bring tad poles inside to study and to observe. They were then returned to the water tank. I wasn’t afraid to play with toads and don’t consider them the source of having hand warts even though some people were sure they caused them. My sister that refused to touch toads had as many worts as I did. Grandma rubbed cod liver oil on my hands to ‘cure’ the worts. It didn’t. She gave me a nickel for my worts once. That didn’t stop them either.

Snakes were not frightening to me as I saw my brothers pull them from under the chicken house by the tail. So, I did the same. Then I saw rattlesnakes in the wild. That changed my perspective of all snakes. The first time I saw a rattlesnake was in the evening when my husband came rushing in calling for a gun and flashlight while he got the .22 shells. It was windy and dark all around. He shot one rattler as it coiled rattling threateningly beside the screen door close to my baby chicks which I had just been to shut their door – barefooted. Husband said, “Snakes usually travel in pairs,” and shining the flashlight to the corner of the brooder house came another snake slithering scarily.

The next snake I saw was beside the porch door. I quickly used the garden hoe chopping so fast I chopped the snake to pieces and ruined the hoe handle. It was just a little garter snake. I didn’t take time to check for rattlers on the tail, I just destroyed him. My adrenalin was flowing fast and furious.

At nights I often would read books to my three younger brothers. Usually we were spread out in a big bed with them crowding close, listening with rapt attention. I enjoyed this close camaraderie with my younger brothers. We got into lots of serious deep conversations. A time I remember most was when Ted asked, “Will there be horses in Heaven?” I didn’t know but thought it would be possible. “Well, if they are, I get Rusty,” he declared with finality. That was fine with me. I was not about to fuss about things like that for if there were horses then there were most likely be other animals too. I was thinking I preferred the presence and happiness of our family: Mama, Daddy, Grandmas and Grandpas, Sister and Brothers, Great Grandmother, Aunts and Uncles. They lived close by and all were loved.

The extended family came to visit often especially for special meals like when the uncles were home on leave from the service – army and navy. They looked so very handsome in their uniforms which they wore to leave. Other times together were special holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter. My mother cooked a lot of good simple meals like turkey, beef, veggies, potatoes and gravy.

Our mom made cakes on special occasions. She frosted the cakes which often fell leaving a depression in the center. Probably because some child ran through the house and slammed the door. Sometimes she’d fill that hole with frosting. Our Uncle Chester said those cakes with the accumulation of frosting in the hole were his favorites. He was always one to try to make people feel better and that did help. Our mother had been his teacher and we all thought a lot of him.

Uncle Chester liked to be included in activities with everyone. He played Old Maid and sat on the Old Maid card. Everyone had a good laugh when we found where that card had gone. Checkers were another game we played. I don’t remember our mother getting involved in games but Dad and the uncles and aunts were good competitors. My mother was more likely to be crocheting, embroidering or sewing. She liked to keep her hands busy creating something worthwhile.

My grandchildren delight in asking me, “What was it like when you were little? Tell me a story about what you did, Grandma,” is a common request. I try to think of activities and fun things we did, like when I braided horses’ tails. Father did not approve of that though I didn’t understand why.

There was a time my younger brother said he was going to grow up to smoke a pipe and grow whiskers. We were quite tiny and I felt terrible. Imaging a three year old with black whiskers smoking a big smelly pipe turned me off. “You will not!” I declared. “I won’t let you!” I was just a year older and the wiser one, I thought. He laughed and giggled at the way he upset me. Older siblings thought it was hilarious that I was upset at his boasting. He and I did most things together and I didn’t want a pipe smoking whiskered little brother. The idea still makes him laugh all these years later.

We took our shoes off at the first chance in the spring. Usually we had to wait until school was out in early May, then we’d run barefoot through the sand. Long underwear and long stockings would come off at the first warm days too. They were not favorite clothing articles. Long underwear was usually itchy. My long stockings often got holes in them when I fell or would hang down wrinkled to my shoes. Spring was a time of release from all such constraints.

We delighted in the simple joys of freedom to run and play in the warm sandy trail roads. There was no traffic past our place except every other day at a certain time the mail carrier put-putted past in his noisy pickup. We heard him before seeing him.

All eight of us took baths in a galvanized wash tub each Saturday afternoon. The same water was used for everyone then used to mop the floor then to water the plants outside. Water was heated on the kitchen range which heated all the house. I still remember on a cold afternoon when older brother backed against the oven door. He yelled and was branded on his posterior.

Our mother was not happy the time Jim rubbed mud all over Ted and I in a nearby mud hole. She got out the galvanized bath tub and made fast work of scrubbing our muddy bodies off in the lukewarm water from the warming oven. We were scolded as she cleaned us.

When we played in the clay hole we saw water snakes so that was quickly stopped. They were after the tad poles swimming there. We would sometimes bring tad poles inside to study and to observe. They were then returned to the water tank. I wasn’t afraid to play with toads and don’t consider them the source of having hand warts even though some people were sure they caused them. My sister that refused to touch toads had as many worts as I did. Grandma rubbed cod liver oil on my hands to ‘cure’ the worts. It didn’t. She gave me a nickel for my worts once. That didn’t stop them either.

Snakes were not frightening to me as I saw my brothers pull them from under the chicken house by the tail. So, I did the same. Then I saw rattlesnakes in the wild. That changed my perspective of all snakes. The first time I saw a rattlesnake was in the evening when my husband came rushing in calling for a gun and flashlight while he got the .22 shells. It was windy and dark all around. He shot one rattler as it coiled rattling threateningly beside the screen door close to my baby chicks which I had just been to shut their door – barefooted. Husband said, “Snakes usually travel in pairs,” and shining the flashlight to the corner of the brooder house came another snake slithering scarily.

The next snake I saw was beside the porch door. I quickly used the garden hoe chopping so fast I chopped the snake to pieces and ruined the hoe handle. It was just a little garter snake. I didn’t take time to check for rattlers on the tail, I just destroyed him. My adrenalin was flowing fast and furious.

At nights I often would read books to my three younger brothers. Usually we were spread out in a big bed with them crowding close, listening with rapt attention. I enjoyed this close camaraderie with my younger brothers. We got into lots of serious deep conversations. A time I remember most was when Ted asked, “Will there be horses in Heaven?” I didn’t know but thought it would be possible. “Well, if they are, I get Rusty,” he declared with finality. That was fine with me. I was not about to fuss about things like that for if there were horses then there were most likely be other animals too. I was thinking I preferred the presence and happiness of our family: Mama, Daddy, Grandmas and Grandpas, Sister and Brothers, Great Grandmother, Aunts and Uncles. They lived close by and all were loved.

The extended family came to visit often especially for special meals like when the uncles were home on leave from the service – army and navy. They looked so very handsome in their uniforms which they wore to leave. Other times together were special holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter. My mother cooked a lot of good simple meals like turkey, beef, veggies, potatoes and gravy.

Our mom made cakes on special occasions. She frosted the cakes which often fell leaving a depression in the center. Probably because some child ran through the house and slammed the door. Sometimes she’d fill that hole with frosting. Our Uncle Chester said those cakes with the accumulation of frosting in the hole were his favorites. He was always one to try to make people feel better and that did help. Our mother had been his teacher and we all thought a lot of him.

Uncle Chester liked to be included in activities with everyone. He played Old Maid and sat on the Old Maid card. Everyone had a good laugh when we found where that card had gone. Checkers were another game we played. I don’t remember our mother getting involved in games but Dad and the uncles and aunts were good competitors. My mother was more likely to be crocheting, embroidering or sewing. She liked to keep her hands busy creating something worthwhile.

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