My Memories of Grandma Nettie

Wanting to write about my Memories of Nettie came while looking through family photos. A feisty grandma, this lady is a big part of who I am. She taught me so many skills and I always enjoyed spending time with her. She was truly a strong and influential woman in my life. 

my memories-grandma Nettie

From about the age of eight, I would spend many week-end overnights with her and even more time during the summer, I would stay with her for weeks at a time. I have no memories of her ever losing her temper or scolding me. It must have been her nature, because, trust me, I was not an angel as a child (and my teen years are a whole other story). But, I remember her as patient, kind, a great teacher, and very funny.

I always was amused at the characteristics my Grandma had that were so different from my friends’ Grandmothers and the stereotype of “Grandma Behavior”. Mine was a chain-smoking, baseball-loving, shot-gun packing bundle of giggles and quirky comments. I loved being with her.

Garden Memories

I was born in 1950 and my parents and thousands of others lived under the shadow of “The Great Depression”. A time when families had very little to nothing and gardening was a means for many to assure there was food on the table. My Grandma Nettie was a pro at gardening and maintained a half-acre garden well into her 80’s. For those of you that are not from a farming family like I am a half-acre is 21,780 square feet. That’s amazing to me, especially when you add that she maintained it by hand. (no tractor or heavy machinery). She only had a rake, hoe and shovel.

So, now I’m sure you’ve guessed that I spent most of my summer with Grandma Nettie working in the garden. I never thought of it as work because I have always loved working outside and in the dirt. The time was spent listening to my Grandma’s stories of her life and raising up her children. I also learned all about the plants we were putting in, proper distance between plants, proper fertilization, etc. She was a wealth of knowledge and I draw on all she taught me when I work in my own yard.

my memories-scared rabbit

Here comes one of my funniest memories of her. She always kept a shotgun leaned up next to the back door. And if a rabbit was bold enough to enter her garden, she grabbed that shotgun and “blasted” that poor rabbit. I was horrified as an animal lover, but she assured me she never hit them, but they definitely vacated her garden. Well, I guess so!!!!

Cooking Memories

I don’t remember my Grandma teaching me how to cook any meals because baking was her specialty. I learned how to make pie crust out of lard. Not very heart friendly, but “oh, my, so good” and you must treat yourself to a lard pie crust at least once in your life because it will be a special treat.

My favorite pie to make with her was Blackberry Pie. She had blackberry bushes in the woods behind her garden and we would go pick baskets of them; can some, make pies with some and trade the rest. Her neighbor had apple trees and every year they would trade apples and blackberries. Trading was another “throw-back” to behaviors learned during the Depression. I was always fascinated and impressed to hear how innovative my ancestors were to keep life moving forward and finding ways to get what they needed to survive when there was so little.

Doing the canning of blackberries (and other foods) I mentioned earlier WAS NOT one of my fond memories. That particular task was hard and boring, but I learned it was a wonderful way to preserve extra food so it did not go bad. This skill can be thought of as obsolete since we now have advancements in freezing. But, I did learn that you can gift canned foods (“fresh from my garden”) that you can’t do with frozen foods.

The Art of Trading

my memories-apple sieve

Remember those apples we traded for? Grandma taught me how to make homemade applesauce (after we made a few apple pies of course). Back “in the day” (and that was the only way Grandma Nettie knew), we used an apple press. First you peel, core and boil the apples. Then you push them through this crazy contraption. (that’s the picture on the right). Another tedious job I didn’t like, but I loved the finished product and ate my weight in Grandma’s Homemade Applesauce. You need to check out on YouTube or Pinterest how we make homemade applesauce today. Wish I had all those modern devices years ago when I was in my Grandma’s kitchen. TEE-HEE

Puzzle Memories

My Grandma ALWAYS had a 1,000-piece puzzle on her dining room table that she was working on. We always ate on TV trays in the living room since the dining room table constantly housed a puzzle. I definitely got my love of puzzles from my Grandma and spending many hours with her at the dining room table, helped me develop the ability to tackle a 1,000 piece puzzle at a young age. To this day I have a puzzle always set up that I’m working on.

We would sit for hours and talk about life and what was on my mind. My best Memories spent with my Grandma because she was so easy to talk to and if I was mad at my parents or a friend, she was always able to calm me down and direct me on the best way to handle my conflict. I hope you all have had someone in your life that you were able to talk to (your support person). For me that was my Grandma Nettie.

my memories-woman and child putting jigsaw puzzle together

The Puzzle Tradition created with my Grandma Nettie was one that I passed on and do with my own six grandchildren. With each of them we have had many hours of sitting together working on a puzzle, talking, sharing and creating memories. It’s a wonderful experience and such a bonding moment with them all.

I feel so blessed to have had such an influential and entertaining Grandma. A lady who still stirs up fond memories for me, even in my elder years. Hope you all have such a person in your lives.

In Conclusion:

I have come to realize how important it is to have quality time with your family members. I know we live in a highly “device” and technical world. My own grandchildren have their noses buried in their Smartphones and computers all the time, but it is very important to find some time when you can talk and play and just get to know each other. I know people who insist their kids turn their phones off and throw them in a basket at mealtime, thus forcing conversations. Excellent idea! Enjoy your family!