I have been thinking about my grandmothers quite a bit lately. The older I get, the more I become aware of just how much of an influence they had on my development. They were very different women and yet had some common traits. They were both very hard workers, very productive women. One had good health until her 80's, the other died at age 63 with a smile on her face after struggling with her health for a number of years. They both loved their grandchildren and were happy to have their grandchildren with them, even in the middle of earning their livings. I am sure this is one reason I am so willing to enjoy one of my days off every week to keeping our first grandchild.
My grandma Beaty (we called her Mama Beaty) helped her husband run a farm for many many years. Then he went into business, moved them into town and my grandmother was the main force behind that business into her 70's. Whether she was on the farm or at the business, grandchildren were welcome to be with her and come along. She was the accountant for the business, every night after working hard all day long. I am sure many of my frugal ways and bookkeeping tendencies come from helping her to a very small degree with some of that. When I was 5, my grandparents made a trip to MI and brought back a newborn, a 1 year old and me for a bit of time while my mother was recovering from an illness. It was during that time I had my one and only spanking from this grandma. I guess I knew she meant business after that. Yet, I never knew of the spanking until I was well into my 30's when she recounted the situation to me. It obviously didn't traumatize me. I will always remember standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes with her. Many wonderful conversations over the years and so much teaching took place during those times. I do not mind washing dishes to this day.
Mama Beaty had no daughters of her own and so had much fun with her granddaughters. We will always remember her cutting the figures out of the Sears Magazine, mounting them on cardboard and then cutting out the clothes for them. Also constructing dollhouses out of cardboard, furniture, even putting in tiny cloth curtains, etc. Being out in the country and extremely frugal, she created the majority of toys for us. She called them "play pretties". Constructing indoor playhouses out of chairs and blankets, making mudpies outside on the big wooden spools left hanging around from the power companies, teaching us to fish, playing Dominoes, watching her milk the cow in the morning; the memories roll over and over in my mind.She always had books on her shelves. My relationship with Reader's Digest started at her house.
My grandma Spivey (Mama Spivey) wasn't so fortunate to have stability in her life. Abandoned by her first husband when her children were very young, a second marriage later did not make it either. So my times with her had no grandfather on the premises. She made her living in a variety of ways. For a few years, she was given a house to live in which was next door to a bedbound woman. My grandmother tended to her and the housework. The house my grandmother lived in had no indoor facilities (anyone else have vivid memories of outhouses?). She was fortunate to have running water into the kitchen sink. She kept everything neat and clean. I will always remember her hanging clothes out to dry, in more than this one residence too. Sometimes I feel the urge to hang clothes out to dry. My grandmother worked in a restaraunt as a cook for a time. She was also a sitter at the hospital. She would allow me to walk with her a certain distance to the hospital once I was older. This is the grandma who first took me to a library when I was 8 years old.It was across the way from her apartment. She walked me over, told me about the library, but wouldn't come in with me. I wandered in and was wandering around when a librarian spotted me. At first, I thought I was in some sort of trouble, but then the kindest thing happened. Rather than just sitting in the library to read, she helped me obtain a library card and introduced me to NANCY DREW! How I loved and still love Nancy Drew and libraries!According to family legend, I never had a spanking from this grandma at all, even though the other kids did. Although I doubt my younger sister ever had a spanking from either grandmother.
I have bits and pieces in my memory of both grandmothers with scriptures in their hands. I remember neither one being very "preachy" but just loving their families and especially the grandchildren and doing their best to be productive every day until the end of their lives. Making your bed every day, clearing the table, helping with the dishes or helping hang out laundry, sweeping the floors, dusting, etc. were things grandchildren helped with in both households.
I am so thankful for the influence of these women in my life. They directed me to the values of hard work, serving, frugality, reading, taking some time for leisure and most of all, loving your family! The memories are my "playpretties" now.