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Posted by: Helen Philpot | November 3, 2008

There is a reason we call them Grand

My grandmother made the best cinnamon rolls.  As much as I try, I cannot repeat her perfection.  She never really understood why I wanted a different kind of life than the one she had, but that didn’t seem to matter.  She still made me cinnamon rolls every week.

The best tribute we can give to Barack Obama right now (in addition to our vote) is to remember our Grandmothers and why we love them.

Please share your favorite Grandmother memory below.  

(And if you didn’t like your Grandmother this is not the place to share.  Go write those memories on that horrible Dr. Laura’s website.  I read somewhere that she didn’t like her grandmother either.)

Rest well Toot.  You did a fine job.  We’ll take it from here. I mean it.  Really.

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  11. Grandmothers … oh how I miss mine. My paternal grandmother was a LPN. She and my grandfather ended up divorced when my Dad was 4. She took care of him and was a single parent before it became commonplace and carried a huge load in her life. Lots of times she had to leave my father in the care of his aunt while she went to do her nursing work at people’s homes as a private duty nurse. She was a lady first and foremost, but she was tough as nails underneath. She played the piano, classical piano and Dad said she was wonderful. She got all the lessons she could in Maine, and would have had to go to Boston to progress, but couldn’t afford such, so went into nursing. She always had horses and dogs around when she was younger, and as we had dogs and cats when I was a child, I always heard her say, “Take care of the animals first. Tend to them before yourself; they’re waiting on you.” I took that lesson to heart; today my cats are fed and cared for first before myself. She made the very BEST fudge in the world. I recall her walking through the kitchen, a heavy kettle held in the crook of her elbow, beating the daylights out of the fudge with a heavy wooden spoon, being ever so careful to not get cigarette ashes in the fudge! Her fudge just melted in your mouth – it was wonderful. She smoked Camel cigarettes – chain smoked, so it’s no wonder that a heart attack took her away when I was only 10. She knit scarfs, afghans, sweaters, and always had knitting needles in her hand. She taught me how to knit and said I did a good job, so I’ve always been proud of that. She was stubborn, stubborn as a mule but loved her family dearly. She thought one’s appearance was important. Around the house, she’d wear any old flannel shirt and torn men’s pants around. She’d have her hair up in curlers – look a wreck, but if her brother drove in with his lovely, wealthy Connecticut wife, well, heart problem or not, my grandmother would race up the stairs and you’d hear all sorts of commotion from her bedroom. Mom and I would talk to my great aunt and uncle, and in minutes – sheer minutes – my grandmother would come down the stairs, hair softly styled in waves, pearls at her ears and neck, a classic brown sheath dress with stockings and heels, and fresh make-up. You’d swear to God that she’d been a lady of leisure all day, eating bon bons, and not looking like a homeless ragamuffin!! It was hilarious to see this. Mom would warn, “Someday they’re going to catch you looking like a wreck!” Amazingly, they never did. She always looked like a Queen when company arrived – it was like magic. How I wish I’d been able to take style advice from her as I was growing into my teen years … we would have had fun together had she lived longer. I remember her fondly and think of her often. She taught me a lot of life lessons that I’ve carried with me.

    My maternal grandmother was full of fun. She was a Red Sox fan – loved her baseball. She’d hurry on summer days to get her laundry washed, dried on the line and then she’d settle down in the afternoon at the ironing board, pressing all the clothes, while watching the Red Sox. She died in 2000, so she never got to see them win the World Series – how she would have loved that! She always was there for me when I was a child and also as an adult – she got to see me grow up and live my life. She always encouraged me and believed in me. She made the best biscuits in the world and her haddock chowder was the best! I’ve never been able to duplicate it, but I’ve come close. One day when I was perhaps 6 or 7, I was at her house, wanted to skip rope but it was pouring rain. I wasn’t going to go out to skip rope … so I was bored and sulking a bit. She let me and actually encouraged me to skip rope in the house – in the kitchen no less! I knew my Mom wouldn’t have allowed this … but she did? Well, then she said to me with a twinkle in her eye, “Did I ever show you how I skipped rope when I was a girl?” No, I replied, to which she grabbed the jump rope and began skipping away – – – and she was a large lady – and every pot, pan and dish in that kitchen rattled while she jumped! My poor grandfather sat in the living room watching this – shaking his head in his hands, probably praying to God she didn’t break anything or get hurt – but he never told her to stop. We were having fun and that was Important! She made beautiful doll clothes for my Barbie dolls – tiny little intricate work and it was lovely – she had such patience.

    She was known around town for her diaries. She did a daily journal – not a personal journal – but a log of what was going on that day. It was warm and humid, Joe had just bought a new lobster boat for the season, Mary was pregnant, little Bobby was playing with matches and almost burned down his father’s work shop, etc. That kind of every day thing. Everyone knew this – in fact, they’d have bets going on what year something happened – and they’d call her up – “Margie, can you look up in your diary of when Joe’s boat got wrecked in that storm? I swear it was 1959 and Bill says it was 1958 – I’ve got $5 bet on it, can you help?” Sure enough she’d go research her diaries and solve the bet! I’ve got all of her diaries to type up now and if it works, I may match it up with her family photos – it’s a history of her day to day life on the coast of Maine. I’ve never read them before, so it will give me a look back in time to before my mother was born, when my grandparents started their lives together. It will be a big project – mid 1930s through 2000. Lots of typing but my grandmother gave me her blessing to do this after she died – because she believed in me and was always encouraging.

    I’ve had two awesome grandmothers and I miss them to this day. How they lived their lives and interacted with me, gave me some of the life lessons I have under my belt to use as a guide. That’s such a precious thing that grandparents give us – guidance and unconditional love.

    I’ll bet Margaret and Helen are wonderful grandparents – and this blog is a terrific thing they’re doing for their families.

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  12. My gram always kept a jar of cookies for her grand kids, and a jar of livasnaps for my dog.
    The jar for the dog had a label on it “livasnaps FOR DOGS”.
    Just in case there was any confusion.

    Every election I would pick her up and we would go vote together, canceling each other out each time. Then we would go share a martini.

    I can’t tell you how much I missed her canceling my vote this past election.

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  13. I never met either of my grandmothers, they were deceased before my birth. I do feel as though I knew my maternal grandmother though. My mother looks just like her mom. My mother bakes just like her mother and she passed the talent to me. I am told I am opinionated and outspoken like my grandmother was and from all the pictures of her I have seen I look more like her than all of her other 28 granddaughters. EVerytime I wear a pair of pantyhose I get a run and one of my mother’s cousins always says, you are just like your grandmother, you always have a run in your stockings….lol Some traits, talents and mannerisms are in the genes and I am thankful for that. 🙂 I know my grandmother as much as I know myself and that is a beautiful thing.

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  14. Fond memories-We used to pick fresh, red raspberries from my grandmother’s garden and eat them with vanilla ice cream. Every time I smell a kitchen filled with warm smells of breakfast (bacon, pancakes, eggs) I remember how my grandmother used to get up early and have a hot, delicious breakfast ready for us when we visited her every summer.
    My grandmother is going to be 97 this November 30th. I love her dearly, and look forward to many more fond memories (and making more “great grand” memories with my her and my 9 year old son)!

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  15. Like Barack Obama, my grandmother also helped raise me. Everyday she’d make me breakfast before school and do my hair. My parents frequently argued when my Dad came home from work so i often spent my evenings at her kitchen table doing my homework while listening to the radio. She was always there for me.

    My favourite memory of my Nana was when i was 11. I came home from school crying because the kids were making fun of my tough skins (sears) jeans. She asked me what kind of jeans i wanted and i said “LEVI’s cords”. The next day she took me down to the candy/general store and bought me my first pair of levis. She was the best.

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  16. Paige – beautiful post. Thanks for sharing. My mom was a lot of “firsts” for my kids as well. Just as my grands were many firsts for me.

    I am also glad our new President and VP are so close to their moms and grandmas (fathers too I bet if they were still alive). They represent all of us who love all generations of our families and are happy to show it.

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  17. At your request, I’ll skip the stories of my grandmothers, but I’ll share the story of my daughter’s grandmother, my mom. She was her first Brownie leader, her first piano teacher, her first babysitter and is the first person she comes to see when she comes to town. When she needs advice, a shoulder to cry on, an ego boost or simply someone to share good news with, Nana is who she calls. They have a special bond that makes them closer to each other than either is to me, although I am close to both. They like the same foods, music, movies, books and TV shows. They even have the same facial expressions. They are like twins born 60 years apart.

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  18. My grandparents made me want to be a grandparent.

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  19. dyricci – that was the point I was making in my post. That’s why I said “Maybe my middle name is Hussein too. What would it matter?””

    During the presidential race his middle name was something used against him, to incite fear and hate, which was RIDICULOUS. I said it as a statement that there’s nothing wrong with it.

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  20. RE: Lorax on November 11, 2008 at 11:38 pm
    “Yeah, I said his middle name. Maybe my middle name is Hussein too. What would it matter?”

    ——————————–

    It doesn’t matter…or shouldn’t. It’s just a name his parents gave him. Penalizing Barack for his middle name is like penalizing somebody for having the same first name as Charles Manson!

    Barack means “Blessing” in Arabic.
    Hussein means “One who is handsome”…appropriate, don’t you think?

    Since Barack Obama was born in 1961, there is no way that his parents would have had any idea there would be any hooplah about his middle name. Saddam Hussein was very low on the horizon at that time…I’m sure they didn’t even know he exsisted! Saddam didn’t become president of Iraq until July 1979…when Barack had just graduated from high school in Hawaii.

    So, any possibility that Barack’s parents named him in any remote way connected to Saddam Hussein is just ridiculous.

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  21. My grandmother lived to 98, going out every Wednesday via public transportation to teach oil painting at the Golden Agers’ until the age of 95.

    I remember once, when I was a little girl staying over at her flat, that I wanted to draw but she had no paper, so she climbed up on a chair and took down the window shade, and with a flourish, rolled it out across the floor to provide me with an enormous “canvas” for my artwork.

    She was a great woman, born in the late 1800’s but a model for today.

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  22. BTW: Toot lived next to the hospital I was born in and I later lived about two blocks from her and Barack. What a small world.

    I cannot thank her enough for the gift she and her family gave to this world, that gift being Barack Hussein Obama.

    Yeah, I said his middle name. Maybe my middle name is Hussein too. What would it matter? He’s an amazing man and he is my president. I love him, his family, and all the Bidens.

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  23. My Nana (my moms “adopted” mom) had a saying. Instead of Smart Fella she liked to call people Fart Smella. And she said, about stoplights, yellow meant “Go like hell!”.

    My Paternal grandpa used to pay us to go into stores and buy candy for him, since we were in a small town and the people at the stores knew he wasn’t supposed to have candy.

    My Granny is the reason I am alive. When I was a baby I was a “failure to thrive” case. I was sent home to die. They couldn’t get me to eat. i was sent to Granny’s so as not to upset the siblings. My middle name is a version of serene, since I looked so peaceful… dying. My Granny didn’t fall for any of that bullshit. She bullied me and kept on until I ate and got better. From there I went in leaps and bounds through developing and ended up well ahead of the curve.

    Granny, like her sister Nana, were die-hard Catholics. Granny did not allow baby Jesus in the nativity set around Christmas until midnight on the 24th because “He wasn’t there before that!”. I am not religious but I have found myself hiding a nativity set , hiding it from my kids and family, at Christmas time, and you bet baby Jesus doesn’t go in until after midnight on the 24th. And although I am not religious, my Granny’s and Nana’s special crosses adorn my home. The one Nana left for my kids is above my front door. The one Granny passed on (it was supposed to be buried with her mom but she missed the funeral so the cross was kept back to give to her and she passit ir on to my daughter) is in a vase which I regularly add more preserved flowers to. They mean more than any religious beliefs could mean to me. They mean years of my ancestors and years of generations to come. They mean passing on stories and remembering who we are. They mean remembering the struggles we have been through to get to where we are today.

    And if Granny was alive today, she’d give you a big High-Five, Helen. And she’d call palin some expletives as well because she calls bullshit when she sees it.

    Keep on rockin, Helen.

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  24. Another one who is late in commenting but I just can’t resist!

    I knew only one grandparent…Granny; my dad’s mom. She passed when I was 10 altho’ she left me with a lifetime of memories. Granny adored her 3 grandchildren. She was, in no way, a traditional grandmother!

    She taught me every dirty word in the book, how to use them, what they meant, then made me promise to not use them because I was a kid. I kept my promise and have always been grateful to her for her explanations! My parents never found out.

    Granny’s mildly dirty jokes were the first I’d heard. They usually incorporated the dirty words she’d already explained. We’d laugh. She’d wink. My parents never found out.

    Granny wasn’t much of a cook. She even managed to start a fire in the kitchen during a week I spent with her! The fire engine roared up to the little cottage we were sharing and Granny’s best friend’s son, the fire chief, put out the fire. My parents never found out!

    Her name was Helen! What an incredible character she was. She died in 1954 and my cousins and I still reminisce about her to this day as there are so many stories to tell. We adored her.

    Toot, during her working years, blazed a trail in Hawaii just as Obama’s mom blazed a trail in Indonesia. It’s easy to see where Mr. Obama gets his strength and intellect. But, oh how I wish Toot had lasted just one more day. I can see her condo building from mine and am saddened every time I catch a glimpse of or drive by it. Deep down I know that she knows. But, still…

    RIP, Toot, knowing you did the best you could in raising your grandson and your best was way more than good enough! Thank you for your gift to the world. I mean it. Really! Me ke aloha pumehana.

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  25. I know I am coming into this blog rather late and probably no one will bother to read my thoughts on my grandmother but I feel compelled to say something, at least for me.
    I had two grandmothers: one mean, selfish and prone to poison pen letters; the other loving, fun and unselfish.
    My “Mom” is still in my thoughts and every time I look at her ring on my finger, I think of her. She was a woman who in her later years was disappointed in love and life but struggled the best she could on $404 social security each month. I did what I could back then to help her and go see her, even though we were a continent away from each other.
    “Mom” was a former Ziegfield Follies dancer/singer who married a poor man she loved. Her large Irish family gathered her around her when he became an alcoholic and left her for another woman after 35 years of marriage.
    My memories of her are wonderful, even though I realize now that her life with my grandfather then was one of constant fighting and separate bedrooms. However, when I stayed over, she created an island of love for me. I remember her keeping me up at night with stories about the dances she danced, the songs she sang and the dresses she wore in the Follies. Her home cooked food was warming to the heart and soul. She took me downtown to see Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft in The Miracle Worker on stage as well as to the movies such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. We giggled and laughed while we ate dinner on standing trays and watched the Ed Sullivan Show.
    Someday if I am lucky enough to be a grandmother I will be thinking of “Mom” as my role model as I laugh and play with my grandchildren.

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  26. My grandma was educated and a career woman before she settled down and started a family. She didn’t get married until she was 35!!! Which was unheard of in her time. She was devoutly Catholic but understood that the world was changing. You could spend hours debating religion and politics with her. She took me to Vegas for my 21st birthday. She was awesome (and she made the best chocolate chip cookies). I miss her very much. She would have been thrilled to see Obama’s win.

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  27. My grandma knew I liked two things to eat; peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (jelly that she canned) and hamburgers. The summer I spent with her as an 11 y.o., I got strep throat. Once I was feeling better, I wanted a hamburger. Not having a car (or knowing how to drive), there was no way of her getting a burger from Hardees. She tried to convince me to wait until an uncle or aunt could take me. But after much pleaded and begging, I convinced her that I could walk there and back on my own. She gave in and watched me walk down the road that would take me to Hardees. When I got back to the house, there she was, watching from the kitchen door, right were I left her. I doubt she left that door the whole time I was gone.

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  28. I am lucky enough to have 4 grandmothers. My mom’s mom died while she was was still a teen, but I was raised with her wisdom and my mom passed down the love her mom had for her to me… my mom’s stepmom was my no nonsense grandma. I remember playing solitaire at the kitchen table and I peeked at a card, and she slapped my hand and told me to never cheat myself. She told me that if I was willing to cheat myself, I would cheat anyone and anyone could cheat me. I was about 10 at the time and that lesson has stuck with me all these years.

    My biological father had a modern mom. She went to work everyday, walked home for lunch (my grandfather owned a business in his basement) and he cooked her lunch every day. He also cooked dinner and did the laundry and grocery shopping. She told me that she figured out early on that she would rather earn enough money to hire someone to clean her home than to do it herself. She did teach me how to sew and can fruit, and how to walk in heels on brick roads lol…I learned from her that women can dress and act like a woman and go to work everyday and come home to a man that cooks! This wasn’t something that was a common site in the mid 70’s!

    My other grandma is my stepdad’s mom. She loved and treated me as if I was born into her family. While my parents were dating, she made her basement into a toy room for us kids so that we felt comfortable at her home. She used to make homemade eclairs, which I think everyone should get to taste at least once… She raised her son to be a good man and a good father to me…

    Ironically, my stepdad’s mom is the grandma that I was closest to and miss the most… she was the more traditional grandma and came into my life when I needed that nurturing. My modern grandma moved to Hawaii and my parents had went thru a divorce…I need a soft lap to land in for comfort and she was that. She died some time ago after a lengthy illness…

    I am very fortunate to have four grandmothers, but more so that I had four strong women to guide me thru their memories, actions, words of wisdom, and hugs…

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  29. My grandmother on my father’s side was my favourite person in the world. She died of cancer when I was about eleven, after a battle that lasted more than forty years, including cease-fires, truces, retreats and finally, a defeat.
    What I remember about my grandmother was the time when I was about four and she called in an old friend of hers to teach me crochet. My gran’s hands were so rife with arthritis that she could hardly hold the needle, so she called in an old favour for me – I had to learn the ladylike arts, you see. Now, I didn’t know it at the time, but the old lady who taught me to crochet was a former First Lady of South Africa, who took time out of her schedule for my gran’s sake, to teach me how to crochet.
    Of course, being small and stubborn, I threw a tantrum when I couldn’t do it right, and stormed out of the room.
    My grandmother followed me and just sighed, and the look in her eyes made me go back in and try until I got it right. I resolved on that day that I would endeavour to be a perfect lady for my grandmother’s sake, so that she might never have to look at me that way again.
    Ouma Bettie is long dead now, and I’m very sorry, because I’m pretty sure that she would be looking at me like that now and I don’t know how to fix it.

    That’s one of my most vivid granny memories. There are many others, but this one, and the fear of disappointing that grand old lady who surely sits up in heaven and watches me every day, lingers.

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  30. hi helen (and margaret)

    well, what better a thing to do to champion barack obama by honoring his toot by honoring our gramma’s. nicely done.

    gramma gilda was the glue to our family. she didn’t drive and she lived the remainder of her life alone. so, although i was young in her final years, i could appreciate how lucky i was to live so close to her.

    she always had an open ear, always a wide smile on her face. we spent endless nights watching nick at night (even though tv was limited at my house) and endless hours playing cards at the kitchen table (even though my parents weren’t too keen on playing games.) her hugs mended everything that was broken: hearts, knees, and family relations.

    her pistachio pudding at thanksgiving, though going uneaten year after year, was missed just as much as her the first thanksgiving we celebrated without her (and the pudding.) at only 12 years old, i remember pleading, with tear stained cheeks, that we had to have pistachio pudding, i didn’t care if no one ate it. i could bear the hurt of losing my gramma, of mending scraped knees, of seeing a family slowly disintegrate. but, it was too much to not see pudding on the table.

    it was a small thing to cling to but it was enough a reminder that while she was in a better place, she also wasn’t far away.

    thank you and keep writing!

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  31. Obama’s grandmother passed away as I was mourning the 2nd anniversary of my own grandmother passing on.

    We were very close. I had a relationship with my grandmother that was very similar to Barack’s relationship with his grandmother. He called his “Toot” and I called mine “Ladel.” I never called her grandma. I called her mommy, mum, and every other variation of the word “mother.”

    My mother is alive, but my Ladel was my everything. I love my mother but I have a different love for my grandmother. She didn’t give birth to me, but she raised me and love me with so much love.

    She was the strongest woman in the world to me.

    Grandmothers are beautiful people. They really are.

    By the way, she taught me how to make cinnamon rolls and buns, apple pie, and many other things from “scratch.” Since she passed, I am now the one in charge of holiday feasts.

    My grandmother was my mother.

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  32. I lost Grandma Young when I had just turned 19 and was away at college in 1971. She was an amazing woman (all of 4’10”, with a tough outside and a heart as big as all outdoors). She never “improved” her house with the fancy stuff like electricity or indoor plumbing and heated with wood she cut herself. She did not believe on relying on anyone for things she could provide for herself and her family (most likely lessons from the depression).

    What I remember most is the huge smile I was greeted with when I saw her and the bear hug that almost took my breath away! There was no doubt that she loved me.

    Her self-reliance and fierce loyalty to family and loved ones is a strong part of who I am today (and probably a good part of the “stubborn” streak” that my husband of 36 years always kids me about).

    I still miss her but her memory always brings a smile to my face and warm feeling in my heart.

    My Grandma Glover was a strong image for me too – I realized a few years ago that she was a “women’s libber” long before the term was invented! When her two girls were young, she divorced her 1st husband (with good reason) in the mid-1920’s, got training, got a job as a secretary (remarried along the way) and did not stop working at something until her mid-70’s.

    She always told my mother that she needed to be able to take care of herself and not have to rely on anyone else. That lesson came through to me as well growing up.

    I know I was fortunate to have such strong female role models in my life. I miss them both and thank them often for the lessons I’ve learned (and continue to learn) from them.

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  33. Fun. Food. Specifically biscuits and chicken gravy. That is what both of my grandmothers were to me. Though I lost both when I was pretty young (both before age 12), I remember laughter, sitting at the table after Sunday lunch, or during the week get togethers, and we laughed. At each other, at family foibles and at life. I can just close my eyes right now and remember tones of voice, mannerisms and personality of both. Warm, giving and open to ideas. Both of them took care of the less fortunate as their jobs and out of the kindness in their own hearts. Grandma Page worked administratively at a mental institution. Meemaw managed a school cafeteria and created her own breakfast and lunch program before the government thought of it. I know they both would have voted for Obama. For hope. For change. For better lives for all.

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  34. I lost both my grandmothers before I was 25. Grandma helped my dad raise me after my mother died and she could be strict but whenever I was sick she was the best nurse. When I had the measles I decided I wanted some Orange Crush. It was Sunday and in those days n-o-t-h-i-n-g was open on Sunday. Well, Grandma sent my dad and my uncle out to find some Orange Crush and basically to not come back without it. They drove for miles before they found an open gas station that had a carton. And she made the best potato soup in the world!

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  35. In remembrance of my grandma, or pawpaw as we called her, I have to post. She was always full of life till the day she died. I remember her sauntering down the road with me in tow to get me my favorite chocolate ice pops. She was diabetic and had been for decades, which made for a certain irony. And my grandfather who showed me how he made shoes from scratch.

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  36. Sorry to be tardy about this but there has been a death among my circle of friends.

    My paternal grandmother was the reflection of God. She was the very first elderly person I had ever met (I was a toddler) and we clicked right away. She had recently lost her husband of 40 years and she loved me unconditionally, even when I jumped out of the loft of a neighbor’s barn to prove I really could fly. Somehow she seemed to understand that.

    But I guess grandmothers are just that way.

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  37. hi! my grammy made the best cinnamon rolls too! she was full of love and had the most beautiful heart to serve others in any fashion. i miss her hands, her wonderful home, homemade hot cocoa and staying up late with her watching the news. she was good for calling the weather man a “dork” everynight! she worked hard and try the best she could, which was more than enough for me… i miss my her and think of her everyday. thank you helen for letting me write it down. love you. i mean it. toby

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  38. My Grandma raised me. My mom and dad simply did not love me enough to stick around. They went off and did their own thing.

    Grandma made everything in my life beautiful. She could cook, she made a beautiful home for us. She taught me to read, she taught me the power in reading. She taught me about God and her love of Jesus. She taught me why racism was bad but not to hate. She taught me how to love. She would ride me hard though. But I know it is because she wanted me to be a better person.

    As the holidays approach I become very melancholy. I miss her terribly and I cried so hard on Tuesday because she was not here to see history being made. She would have been so proud.

    Now I am a grandmother and it is my job to pass on that love and kindness. I will love that little girl with everything I have in me the way my Grandma did.

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  39. It was an annual trip to go spend Thanksgiving with my grandmother and I always looked forward to seeing my cousins again because we’d all bunk down on cots in her rec room downstairs and stay up all night (or maybe until 10:00 or so) catching up on our lives at school.

    One of my favorite memories from one of these trips is the time I was having leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast (Grandmother made the best pies!) and my mom saw it and told me I needed to eat a “real” breakfast. Grandmother stepped in and said, “Let her eat it — it’s a vegetable, isn’t it?”

    Oh, and she always had a case of glass bottles of Coca-Cola cooling on the cellar stairs, waiting for us!

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  40. Thank you for the blog, Margaret and Helen, and Matthew for setting it all up!

    My grandmother was a genuine hoot who loved all of us grandchildren like crazy. Grandma knew how to have FUN – laughing, singing, watching softball games or outdoor movies in the summer time, doing crafts, eating popcorn – it was always great to be with her. We grew up in rural Iowa and I remember riding along with her one day on a highway when suddenly she pulled into the passing lane. There was no truck or tractor in front of us – instead she was moving to avoid hitting a small flock of monarch butterflies. What an amazing role model. I am crazy about my three little grandbabies and can only hope to be as wonderful a grandmother as mine was to me. We love and miss you Grandma!

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  41. It’s been a couple of days now since I read this thread and I must make a tribute to my wonderful grandmothers.

    It took a lot of years to figure it out, but I think my conception came as a shock and changed the happy, carefree life my mother was leading into that of a boring old housewife, married to a man she didn’t want to be married to, her good life over. I wasn’t exactly a welcome addition to her life. She probably tried, early on, but by the time I was old enough to know up from down, I had to find acceptance and love someplace else.

    When I was very small, my Grandma Monnie gave me love and nurturing and fixed my ringlets and braids and sewed pretty dresses for me and gave me her wonderful love; she died when I was five, though, and I had to learn about her care and love for me from others later. I’ll always love her for giving me the start in life that I needed so much.

    The Grandma I grew up with, though – the one who made the homemade noodles that my sister and I used to count out, one for her, one for me, because they were so incredibly delicious we’d fight over them (yes, that’s right – MY homemade-noodle Grandma) – well, that lady was my heart. I could never begin to describe the gaping holes in my psyche that would be disabling me if it weren’t for her absolute, unqualified, never-wavering love. She was soft, sweet, beautiful and very brave, and she was God-given to a little girl – and a bigger girl – who needed her very much. I got to keep her until I was 18 – she got me through all the tough stuff at home and made me believe I could handle anything the world dished out. I can’t imagine how she did that, but she did.

    It doesn’t surprise me to see that God made more than one of her; from the comments above, it’s obvious that the Grandma who made noodles was a favorite.

    I’m a grandmother myself now. I have only one grandchild – she’s 20, and she’s the world’s most amazing young woman – a high-GPA university student, a gifted musician, a debate whiz, etc. etc., but most of all, she’s compassionate and loving and kind. She makes the world a better place, and I’m proud of her beyond measure. Because my precious daughter has shared her with me, I have been part of her life from birth, and I find grandmothering the best of all things – I know that’s because of my own two wonderful grandmothers.

    My noodles, however, are inedible.

    Thank you, Margaret and Helen, for this opportunity to say the words that seem to come together best when we get old – or at least that’s true for me.

    And THANK YOU SO MUCH for your blog. Now that I’ve found it, I won’t miss a day of it. I so wish you were my next-door neighbor!

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  42. My mother’s mother, who died in 1986, was, at 4’10”, the shortest person in our family. So after my sister and I got to be 12 or so and taller than her, when she got mad at one of us, she had to look up to shake her finger at us. In addition to this visual, she’d turn bright red and run through the names of everyone, starting with her husband, until she got to the right name: “Harold, I mean Barbara, I mean Karen, I mean Jenni.” By the time she got it right, no matter who was at the receiving end, we were all laughing.

    She was a lousy entree cook, but a wonderful baker. Unfortunately, she never wrote any of her recipes down, so we are unable to duplicate her custard torte or coffee cake. I’m just thankful I paid very close attention to her apple pie!

    Finally, when I was in my 30s and still unmarried, all of my grandmother’s canasta club would pester me about when would I get married. Living in San Francisco, I finally replied that I was a lesbian so I wasn’t going to get married (let’s not get into that discussion, but suffice to say my grandmother would have been disgusted with the passage of Prop. 8, as am I). My grandmother dragged me into the bedroom and started laughing so hard she could barely get out the words, “That’ll teach them for being so nosy.”

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  43. I had two of the best grandmothers ever and I knew one of my great-grandmothers, too, which is amazing because we begin childbearing late in my family – after 30 frequently.

    Anyway, my actual favorite story is about my great-great grandmother. She came over from Prague in the late 1800’s with my great-grandfather. She met a couple on the boat and their six children. When the wife passed away, she agreed to pool resources with Mr. Zach (Zacek) and married him. She now had seven children. Yep, Mr. Zach died. My great-great grandmother raised six children not her own, and her own son in a foreign land selling head cheese to the bars in the Pilsner district in Chicago. Her son, my great-grandfather, grew up and became and attorney, and he was appointed a Judge in the City of Chicago in the early 1900’s. Everyone in the family referred to her as “Old Lady Uhlir” despite her marriage to Mr. Zach (Zacek). “Old Lady Uhlir” is just one of many strong women in my family. Strong women is what we do best which makes for some pretty spectacular men, too.

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  44. My grammie just died also….She was sooo excited about the prospect of a African American president!

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  45. My Nana was the best – she passed in 1989. She was truly the matriarch of the family; she took care of all of us while our parents worked. There are so many memories I have, that if I wrote them all, I’d take up a lot of space.

    My fondest and most cherished memory is that no matter what the issue, problem, etc., my Nana would sit and listen, make tea (she was from Scotland), and spend hours with us – even my friends. Nana was truly one of a kind.

    A woman who was widowed at 28 years old with three toddlers (my mother being one of them), she never gave up. She came to this country at 16 years old, alone, having not seen her parents and siblings for about 3-4 years (her father couldn’t afford to send for all at once, so he had to spread it out); her first job was in Fanny Farmer in Brooklyn and the rest goes from there.

    She was a pioneer, in my humble opinion. Love you, Nana and miss you.

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  46. Granny was 73 when I was born, so I remember her as rather frail and distracted. But she was tougher than she looked, living to be 93, nerve intact. A week before she died, they had to take her cane away from her because she was hitting people with it. Yeah, I love that I have a lot of that steel and crankiness in me, bless her.

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  47. Thanks for encouraging us to share these wonderful memories in honor and memory of our PRESIDENT ELECT!!!’s rock and core, Toot.

    My mom’s mom passed before I was born but I still have memories of her. She passed a year before my mom got married (1971). My grandpa never touched the basement and neither did his new wife (except to do the laundry). In the basement, my grandma Eve had stockpiled her favorite and most needed things. Sprinkles for the kids ice cream, cans of vegtables, boxed mixes. I imagine her popping down the stairs to get another can of green beans. It was left like that until the day my Poppa Milton died in 1997. Sprinkles from 30 some years earlier… I wish I had been in the country at the time so I could have rescued my Grandma’s precious items. They could never be eaten but it was my only memory of her.

    My dad’s mom is still with us in body but not in mind. I lived with her when I was little (my family lived on the upper floors in their house) and so she had a huge impact on me. When I was 2 and 3 we would sit on the front steps feeding the ants cracker crumbs and she took a broken triangle of concrete out of the sidewalk and made that my garden. We lived in NY and she would take me into the city to see the symphony and opera and ballet. We would stop and have lunch at a fancy restaurant and she would let me sit by the window and we would make up stories about the people we saw walking by. The clearest memory I have of my Grandma Marion is her high heels. 6 inch stillettos every day. Usually with jeans and a white blouse and sometimes, a leather harley vest my dad got her one time. She was the height of fashion in every era. Now that I am in my late 20’s and I come visit my parents in my stillettos, my dad always remarks that I remind him of his mom so much. What a compliment! I always wanted to be her.

    Thanks for this. As I sit here at my desk crying in joy at the memories… thank you for encouraging me to remember them.

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  48. My Grandma was the best person I ever knew. She loved gardening, and I associate sweet peas, maiden hair ferns, and hydrangeas with her memory. She lived with my great-grandmother G.G. when I was little, and I spent the weekends with them often. The house was always filled with wonderful foods and playing children. Grandma taught me how to embroider, which I have since forgtten, but I feel strangely compelled to try it again. She tought me to be nice to my younger cousins and to share with them even though I didn’t want to. Most of all, she always made me feel very, very special and very, very loved. I love her so much still and miss her terribly. I think about her almost every day, although it has been 29 years since she died. My goal in life is to be as good a grandparent one day as she was to me and as my mother is to my children.

    Sadly, today my husband’s grandmother died unexpectedly. She was 89 years old, but of good health and lucidity. I know he will miss her very much in the years to come. He was quite close to her and to his grandfather.

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  49. Ahhh, the wonderful stories…the election wiped me out and I missed this post yesterday…but I can’t let it go by without adding my Grandmothers…my paternal Grandmother…who got up every day and started her morning Bible devotional at 5 am until 6…whose loud, booming voice (she was 6’2″ – a BIG back woods girl) would startle babies and make them cry and then she would cry out of disturbing them…who, after my grandfather died, never again would allow herself to wear the colors she so loved; she only wore black for 7 years and after that time allowed herself some gray; a sign of her love and mourning for the love of her life….she died in April, 1971.
    My maternal grandmother…who wanted a divorce because she “caught” my grandfather — and he put her in the Texas state mental hospital, a not uncommon way to handle “difficult” wives in those days; he put her in three or four times; she never lost her good humor; she was always the first to collect clothes “for the needy”; she loved to fish; she loved her children; she had atherosclerosis and from it suffered at the end of her life from dementia — every where she went she carried around a 60 pound suitcase! — when it was opened it contained large mason jars – filled with rocks — and she called them the family jewels. She would open them and patiently explain how, when polished, this one was a beautiful diamond, and this one here, a ruby…and she would always give you one of the best ones. She died in 1979.
    Both women had huge hearts; both had come from hard scrabble poor; both poured themselves out into their children and grandchildren.
    Ach, Grandmother – I miss you both so much.

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  50. My grandma passed away on October 5. I guess almost exactly a month ago. She would have liked you a lot- up until the end she was feisty, cracking jokes and not hesitating to say what she thought, although she was very careful to not use bad language.

    When grandma was around there was always music. There was plonking on the piano, and cute little songs she remembered from her childhood. She always made everyone feel good, was always there to support her family unconditionally, and never complained, even when life handed her a shit sandwich.

    In fact at her funeral, NONE of us (that includes four surviving children, 15 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, and 9 great-great-grandchildren) could EVER remember her ever whining or complaining about anything. Except the time when she complained about her boyfriend (a lovely 95 years young gentleman she met after my grandfather passed – incidently exactly 15 yrs ago to the DAY that my grandmother did) being around too much. So she lied that she was “busy” one day, to get some time to herself, and spend weeks feeling guilty about it.

    She was the glue of our family, the maker of the best grilled cheeses, the owner of the most spectacular costume jewelry, and one of the toughest ladies I’ve ever known. I don’t know anybody these days with such positivity, and such unconditional support for loved ones.

    I think she would have been proud of America if she had lived to see today. And I only hope I can become half the lady she was. 🙂

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  51. My grandma died the year before I graduated from college. I think of her often and remember how much I love her. Her house was on the way home from my elementary school, so every now and then, I’d stop by unexpectedly to see her. She was always so glad to see me and would get out the Kraft Singles and saltine crackers. This is still one of my favorite snacks.
    She had a napkin framed at her cottage that stated this:
    “Here’s to the two party system – one on Friday night, one on Saturday night”
    It’s how she lived and how I continue her legacy! I love you Grandma!

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  52. My Finnish grandmother, Muumu, left Finland at age 16 to find a better life in America – and she did – working first as a servant for a “wealthier” Finnish family in NYC, then as a millworker in New Hampshire and Vermont. She worked 12 hours a day 6 days a week, raised 3 children by herself, and got them all through college. She barely knew her grandchildren, as she died when the oldest was 5 and before the last 3 (there were 7 in all) were even born. I was lucky to know her, but still I was very young. But her indominable, courageous spirit was passed down through stories and traditions. My other grandmother also raised two sons alone after her husband died of the Great Influenza. At one time the president of the local bank “kindly” gave her a job – for which she worked long hours also, for little pay – she was “just” a woman, so she didn’t rate promotion to an executive!! She left us far too early, but again, the stories and traditions passed on have been part of my life and that of my brothers. Courage, dedication, hardwork, love of family, and compassion and generosity toward those even less fortunate than ourselves.
    Love your blog, thanks for writing!

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  53. I lost my grandma in October this year. Talk about a time of reflection of the greatest woman that was ever a part of my life. She did not have a mean bone in her body and made the greatest, softest cookies…I think I got my sweet tooth from grandma…as well as the “Richardson rear”! I remember her taking me to church when I visited it on the weekends and taking me to the mall shopping, always letting me pick out an outfit. She also took me to the library, she was a reading teacher and reading was very important to her. I miss my grandma and am grateful for her helping me be the woman I am today…may she rest in peace!

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  54. Toot did a fine job indeed.

    One of the things I’ve most enjoyed in the past five years or so is the opportunity to get to know my grandparents as adults–perhaps even as equals.

    With my maternal grandmother, we’re both coming to realize that we actually share more, personality-wise, than either of us have in common with the much-beloved woman who connects us. The look of horror on my mom’s face when she realized that her child was not the only family member who had perfected the art of cooking a meal with one hand while holding a really good paperback in the other, was priceless. What’s worse, it’s not something Grandma taught me…this kind of bookwormery is inherent, and it just skipped a generation.

    We’re both shy in the same way, so books have really been our most common point of connection. I love the fact that we’re shy in the same way; it’s one more thing we share. I also love the fact that my personal library has basically doubled, since I pass along most of what I read, and these days, she does the same. It was a happy happy day when I discovered “Dreams from my father” in her bookshelf (we had previously left politics untouched).

    We’ve never lived close to one another, but I try to visit whenever I can. And perhaps my favorite thing about the relationship we’re slowly developing as adults is that we can look across the Thanksgiving table at each other and know that if it weren’t for 300 miles and 60 years, we’d totally be buddies.

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  55. Both of my grandmas (both in heaven) loved me very much. I loved the times I got to visit without the rest of the family because that meant I didn’t have to share them with anyone else. My mom’s mom always made us homemade molasses cookies when we visited. And my dad’s mom always made us some kind of homemade dessert – usually pies. No wonder I have such a sweet tooth!

    I know that Barack’s “Toot” is watching him from above, so very happy. Thanks, Toot, for doing such a fine job raising our next president!

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  56. I lost my Nana this summer. We shared many good times, but I think one of my fondest memories was fresh baked bread after a day of swimming in her pool. She was an office manager/accountant, and we used to stay up late together trying to balance the ledger so she could complete her financial statements. I didn’t become an accountant, but I still love working with figures to this day.

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  57. My maternal grandmother, Sarah, had 15 kids. She was the kind of meek that I’m sure the Lord was referring to. She grew beautiful holyhocks. My favorite picture of she and I is one where we are standing in front of a beautiful magnolia tree in full bloom. She liked to paint copies of Readers Digest Magazine covers.

    My paternal grandmother, Crystal, was my hero in many ways. She was headstrong and independant. She was an FDR Democrat. I loved riding in the country with her in her ’77 Pontiac LeMans, playing 8-track tapes of country music and talking to truckers on her CB radio. I learned a lot about cooking from her. She made a peach cobbler that is to this day the best thing I have ever tasted.

    I had a maternal great-aunt, Johnnie, a cousin to Sarah, who baby-sat me and was as much like a grandmother to me as could be. She was from Arkansas and loved the blues; I think that’s where I get my love for blues music. She taught me how to make corn bread in a cast iron skillet.

    I loved them all.

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  58. Helen, I never knew either of my Grandmothers, so I guess I’ll just have to adopt you. Even if you are old enough to be my sister.

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  59. My Grandmother was hard as nails. A divorcee when such things were not common, she raised 3 children on her own through the Depression. And she could be very tough with us all when we were small. But later, after my grandfather who had left her with 3 small children died, she blossomed. She traveled the world, took up painting and poker and made me laugh till I could hardly breath. She lived to just shy of 101 and I am so flad to have known her. (Especially those last 30 years.)

    My father was a very hard working man with a serious streak of justice and kindness to others. She made him the man he was and I thank her for that.

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  60. I can’t express just how much have I loved reading each and everyone of these posts. I am so moved by everyone’s individual recollections and am amazed by how we are all interconnected by our love of grandmas who never even knew each other. What a quiet and wonderful way to embark on our new journey with Barak Obama at the helm.

    Helen, you are a genius.

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  61. My grandmother used to make me Mickey Mouse pancakes on Sunday mornings. She would sit with me at the kitchen table and listen to my Rice Krispies “snap, crackle and pop”.

    We would dance around the living room to big band music. She would dig out her old movies that played on a projector and didn’t have sound. We would watch the family act out skits wearing homemade costumes. We would laugh so hard that she would get tears in her eyes.

    She never forgot me, even as the other 5 grandchildren came along and I got to be a teenager and an adult. I believed I was the best. She still hugs me the same and laughs with me – and still makes the best pancakes for me. I am 31 years old and lucky to have her.

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  62. During what was to be the last summer of her life, my grandmother and I sat at the edge of the ocean, she in a folding chair, and me in a sand chair so that I had to look up at her. We were right at the tide’s edge, and every time the water came up hard enough to slap the shore, she would squeal like she was a little girl.

    Out of the blue, she said aloud, and matter-of-factly, “Yeah, I remember my wedding night.”

    I did a double take. Was she going to dole out all the juicy details? I was in college at the time, and I felt like I did and did not want to know what she was about to share.

    “Your grandfather, he took off…” she began slowly, wistfully, as I sat dumbfounded over what she was about to reveal, “his shoes. And my god, they were the ugliest feet I had ever seen. They were like pigs’ feet.”

    She laughed again, and I joined her. Before they were married, she had never even seen her husband’s naked feet! She loved that man, even though he’d left her a widow long before I was born. Even though they’d hardly known each other at their wedding.

    What was weird was that it was one of those moments that I just knew would stick with me, like even though she hadn’t really been sick, I knew it was our last trip to the beach together.

    It’s sad that Obama’s grandmother missed seeing his being elected president by a single day.

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  63. I lost my grandmother just last spring. She was 92. Nona had magical hands. She could make me feel better just by patting my head. She made salad dressing with oil and vinegar that was the most delicious thing ever. It must have been the love.

    My grandmother never had the chance to go to college, but watched proudly as her two daughters, and then her three granddaughters, graduated with honors. We all know we are where we are today because she was there to support us.

    I love you, Nona. Today I am celebrating for both of us.

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  64. My little Nanny used to walk up and down the hallway of her house pulling me in my red wagon until I fell asleep. She told everyone she didn’t smoke, but she would steal cigarettes from her husband, pinch them in half, and smoke behind the shed until her husband finally quit smoking.

    I call her my little Nanny because she was only 4’10”, and each of the grandkids considered it a milestone when we grew taller than she was. As she had a hump due to her osteoporosis, she grew shorter as we grew taller.

    Now she has Alzheimer’s and she calls me by my mother’s name, and she calls my daughter by name, as if she has simply lost the last generation. She worked as a janitor and cleaner of warehouses until age 77, when she finally quit.

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  65. My grandmother came to live with us for a couple of years when I was just turning into a teenager. I often think of her trying to sleep in the bedroom I gave up for her and had painted bright lemon yellow. She smelled of Vick’s, Bengay and those peppermint balls that melt in your mouth.

    I would sit with her for hours while she watched her daily stories and crocheted for each new baby our very large family seemed to keep producing. After raising 12 kids of her own, and god knows exactly how many grandchildren, step grandchildren, and great grandkids, her fingers were always busy.

    I now teach knitting and crochet, and always think of her legacy I get to pass on each time I make a baby outfilt for a new niece or nephew. Thank you Bertha for inspiring me to create. I loved you very much, even though you always didn’t remember who I was.

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  66. My grandmother turned 80 this year and I was fortunate enough to celebrate with her. She raised me and I am truly grateful.

    She married outside her race and raised me to be tolerant of others. I cannot imagine what it was like to be shunned for marrying someone because of the color of their skin. But damn I’m glad to be here!

    Her strength in bucking tradition is what made my family so amazing.

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  67. Regretably both my GRandmothers were gone before I was born. HOwever I had on Grandfather . My Moms Russian Dueda we called him his name was John she and His wife came here in 1907 they left Russia by 1905 had 2 kids on the way over and a 3rd onthe boat. They landed in SF. There were 10 more kids born . Durrring WW@ my Dueda took care of me while my mom worked in a factory and Dad in the Navy he was fun even if i could not speak the same language

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  68. My grandmother lived long enough to see her first great-grandchild, my son.
    She passed a week later.
    I still carry a picture of her, sitting in her rocking chair and holding him, the light of a perfect Tennessee autumn day cascading through the window, shining cleanly upon the both of them.

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  69. Hi Helen,
    My mom’s mom (we called her Nernie….Verna was hard for my brother to say as a little one) was the best grandmother in the world. She passed away two years ago, and it was quite sad. But, we still keep her memory strong by laughing at the funny things she would do or say.

    We use to play cards a lot. She taught us how to play solitaire. To make things interesting and to allow all three siblings + Nernie in the game, we played quadruple solitaire. It made the game very complicated and very competitive. We would sit for HOURS playing one game sometimes.

    One day, we were all sitting in our same spots on the floor and my grandmother pooted (she called it a “pop”) accidentally….she was mortified. It was histerical though to all of us and I am laughing now as I type this trying to hold back the tears because she made us laugh often.

    Since Nernie was a child from the depression, she was VERY creative. She taught us all three and my mom to draw very well and to make things out of other things instead of spending money on new things. My grandfather (Dago) was really cheap, so us making things went along with him being very thrifty as well.

    Before her arthritic hands could sew no more, she finished two twin quilts for my twin sister and me. I will cherish the memory of her starting those quilts when we were five years old and giving them to us when we graduated high school…finally finished….made with so much love.

    Thank you for your blog. I love it!
    Cheers to you and your family,
    Rachel

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  70. One year before my Grandma passed away in 1997, I was a senior in high school and she took me out to her brothers horse farm not far from where we lived. She went in the rear of one of the stables and brought out some dried plants. My Grandma and great uncle then sat on the side of a fishing pond and smoked a little “railroad weed.” Yes I know it’s illegal, but we sat on a bright, sunny, late spring day fishing under a tree and then breaking out into hysterical laughter. She said she hadn’t done it in years and it was my first time. It was an awesome moment and I will always remember her laugh because of that day. She made me promise to never tell my mother and I still have not to this day. She was a feisty, intelligent, independent woman who never played by the rules, but always worked hard and played hard.

    My grandma taught me the value of what it is to be one’s self and how to laugh at our own existence, because we never know how long our life will be. I think about her almost every day, still, almost 12 years later.

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  71. I posted earlier, but two things I just had to add…My Italian grandmother jumped for joy when my great “love” finally asked me out (I think she had her doubts I would ever date anyone) and my Puerto Rican grandmother was the one who stroked my hair and spoke quietly to me in Spanish when I had my heart broken the next year. She didn’t try to make me feel better, she just stroked my hair and kissed my head while I cried. Sometimes you need someone to be happy for you and sometimes you need someone to just let you cry…I try to remember that with my own two girls now.

    I was overcome last night by the election results, and I don’t remember ever crying before (oh wait, unless you count my incredulity that George Bush was re-elected). Although I am not African American I can remember times when my grandparents were not treated well (sometimes treated with great disrespect and hostility) because they were immigrants. I hope we are at the beginning of a time when we do all come together and learn to see the beauty that’s there in every human being (sometimes you just have to look a little harder, that’s all).

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  72. You guys would make any granddaughter proud. My paternal grandmother’s nickname was Tornado, and rightly so. Like President-Elect Obama, mine had a big hand in raising me, and I miss her often in these 12 years since her passing. She was invasive, crude, messy, meddling, but that was actually part of her charm – she was REAL and she was all love – it might have pissed off an uptight person but she was the cure to uptightness. Her intents were good, her execution messy, and her gifts ample. She took care of me in the worst, ungrateful depressed teenager years, with my abusive (now ex) stepmother and my rape and my hopeless crushes. I just called her Grandma, a woefully uncreative name for a woman who gave me so much. Love!

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  73. I Love and Loved my 4 foot 2 in Grandmother… She was married to my 6 foot 2 Grandfather and she made his day….
    She was a wonderful women, beautiful and heart warming.
    She brings a smile to my face every time I think about her and what she did for our family.

    I love you Nonna.

    I am sorry you could not be her today but you stay with me forever.

    Love them when they are here remember them everyday.

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  74. I Love and Loved my 4 foot 2 in Grandmother… She was married to my 6 foot 2 Grandfather and she made his day….
    She was a wonderful women, beautiful and heart warming.
    She brings a smile to my face every time I think about her and what she did for our family.

    I love you Nonna.

    I am sorry you could not be her today but you stay with me forever.

    Love them when they are here remember them everyday.

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  75. I’m sad to say I never knew my grandmothers. One died before I was born and one shortly after. I wish with all my heart that I could’ve known them.

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  76. When I was growing up, any time anything really funny happened, my Nana would have to take off her glasses because she cried when she laughed and she would have to wipe her eyes. I didn’t like the way she looked without her glasses on and would tell her she looked scary, which would make her laugh harder.

    I think she would be proud of the way her grand-children turned out. I miss you, Nana.

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  77. My grandmother was 94 when she died 30 years ago. But for you causing me to think of her in this context, I would not have realized something that all of her many grandchildren learned from her. I remember her every day stopping whatever she was doing to listen to the news. She was blind, and the hearing not so good, but i think of her sitting right on the television, so that she could listen to the news, and Jesse Helms (who was a news commentator before he ran for the Senate.) he was not quite as extreme on TV as he became as a Senator, but hey, it was the area and she was a product of the 19th century. And so i realize the gift she gave us was to stay engaged, to PAY ATTENTION to what was going on no matter what. No excuses. God Bless her. She might be amazed to find where her grandchildren (and some of her children) ended up politically, but she would I know be pleased with what we learned from her.
    Thanks for the post, and thank you for making me think of this and my Grandma.
    So everyone, do your grandcildren a favor-stay engaged.

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  78. Grammie died June 20, 2003–her 80th birthday. In our last conversation, I was telling her about my plans to spend the spring semester in D.C. She said “oh good. Maybe you can go down there and teach George Bush a lesson! Though I probably shouldn’t say that.”

    She was, to me, the quintessential yankee grandmother: she kept a garden and baked, sewed and knitted clothes, and kept track of everyone’s birthday–no small feat with 8 children, 8 daughters and sons in law, 17 grandchildren, a half dozen of their partners, and a half dozen great grandchildren.

    I finished school in May and for the first time am making my way in the world in my own apartment, in a different state from my family. But I keep Grammie with me. In addition to my memories and my love for her, I have her necklace, a beautiful lap quilt she made me when I left for college, and a copy of our family cookbook (including her recipe for yeast rolls). I keep her picture on its own shelf in my kitchen. Fridays when I get home from yoga, I light the candle next to her picture and have dinner, reflecting upon the past week, and the loved ones who have passed on.

    Thank you for given me the opportunity to share these thoughts.

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  79. I only knew one grandma and there were always buttermints in a bowl. And dollar bills in cards. Chicken and Dumplings! And it wasn’t until I was older that I learned the smell I associated with her was Port wine! This apple didn’t fall far from that cirrhotic tree!

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  80. Sadly I have no grandparents left. One passed before I was born, another when I was three, another at eight, and the last at 12… I was very close to my maternal grandparents. They lived two doors down from us and I remember Grams telling me stories (and leaving me gift in the name) of the Little Blue Man. Trivial and flimsy as many of those trinkiets were, I still have them. And I keep her wedding photo next to my bed. We still “talk” she’s still a strong force in my life even though I haven’t seen her in 17 years.

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  81. Dear Margaret and Helen:
    My grandmother, Philomena Gasperini, was a rock. Literally. This woman raised three children on her own after her husband died when they were only 13, 14, and 15. They lived in this tiny one traffic light coal town in western Pennsylvania where jobs and hope were scarce. She got herself a job as the town’s tax collector and got all three children in to college, where they each enjoyed amazing success. She was so proud of them, my dad, aunt and uncle, that it often brought her to tears. I will always remember her cooking – sometimes my roasts are as good as hers, but not usually. She also made these apricot roll cookies that SOMETIMES I can replicate. She called my dad “Jimmy” and was the only person I ever saw who could put him in his place. When she had a stroke, I was in high school and went to live with her for awhile while she re-learned to dress herself, etc. I’ve never known anyone so independent. She had a gentleman friend named Charlie, who used to bring her “Charlie” perfume. She died at home while fixing herself breakfast a month after she turned 80. I was in my early twenties. I still dream about her. I named my daughter after her. It’s been 15 years, and I still miss her……

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  82. Thank you Helen for all your wonderful blogs. They truly elevated my spirits…

    My Nonna came to live with us from Italy when I was 5 years old. She was the first relative I ever met as my parents had emigrated shortly after WWII. I thought all grandmas were supposed to look like Mrs. Claus and smell like apple pie, so I was pretty shocked when I was confronted with a rather stern looking woman in a bearskin coat who reeked of cigarettes and had an absolute baritone of a voice. There was no soft-bellied hug, but rather a stiff pat – make that pound – on the head. I was confused, terrified and curious. She only spoke Italian, and at the time I only spoke English, so our early communication was a comedy of gestures and pantomime. But my sisters and I came to love her and her eccentric mannerisms. She loved opera and sang all her favorite arias in her fabulous baritone…who knew that sopranos existed? She would reward us for practicing the piano by sneaking up behind us and cramming a hunk of her favorite bittersweet chocolate in our mouths, mistaking our gagging and choking as a request for more. In addition to her singing, she would recite passages from Dante, collapsing into the most convenient chair for added effect. She smoked her cigarettes with such gusto and ferocity that I feared that one day she would inhale the filter. She told us that she started smoking during WWI, under the Germans, because it protected you from typhoid fever. When we protested that that couldn’t be true, she told us that her sister refused to smoke , and she died of typhoid, case closed. She made a mean grape pudding from the concord grapes in our backyard and could stretch a singular chicken into three meals for a family of six. But what I appreciate most about my Nonna is that she helped me form my world view. Her stories about being occupied by the Germans in WWI, conquered by the Americans and British during WWII, and living as a foreigner in the US made me appreciate that the world is a complicated place. Her tales of what life was like in Italy made me want to learn other languages and travel to other countries. Her stories about my relatives gave me a sense of history and a sense of responsibility because it made me understand that whatever I did reflected back on more than just myself. When she passed away, I chose one of her favorite quotes from Dante’s Inferno to put on her headstone…”Ricordati di me che son la Pia”, which means, “remember me, I am Pia”. I will never forget my Nonna, Pia Maschietto Squarcina.

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  83. My Gramma used to take me to church every week and then make shapes out of the church bulletin during the homily to entertain us. She made the best mashed potatoes – bar none.

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  84. I love my Grandma. We disagree on a lot of things, like what I should be doing with my life and even my religion but she sure is one tough lady. She has been through a lot in her lifetime but still hangs on and really believes in the good of people. She is from a different world then me, one where you know everything about everyone and drop off a hot dish when someone dies. She also makes the best comfort food in the world, and will be 80 on the 10th!

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  85. let me kiss her :)))

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  86. wow mommy

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  87. Thanks Margaret and Helen! I have bought two T-shirts and a mug to remember this great moment in our history!!!!

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  88. I think all these responces should be put into a book. And one for grandfathers too. I really enjoy reading them.

    This would be great before bed , in bed….but I don’t have a laptop….so no can do here!

    I also think Helen and Margaret should be on OPRAH.

    and hooray for Obama’s victory! Isn’t it sweet…..his daughters finally get to get a PUPPY. I bet knowing him….they will find one at an animal shelter. Im happy for them.

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  89. Here’s my memories of my grandma. Her name was Gladys Parker, and she decided to go home to be with her Mama and Papa Green 12 days ago.

    http://gingereebs.wordpress.com/2008/10/26/things-i-learned-from-my-grandmother/

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  90. My Grandma Anne was my inspiration and my heart. She taught me to be strong-minded and kind-hearted, to love your family and stay true to your faith (although we are two different religions). She passed down her recipes, her knitting needles and her devotion to the Steelers.

    The advice I got from her would fill a book, but the way she summed up ‘the downfall’ of our society was that we have become to casual. As a society, we no longer take care with our appearance, our words, our actions or our neighbors. Like so many things that Grandma Anne said and did, so simple and yet so deep.

    I miss you. I love you. Know that everyday I strive to be ‘just like my Grandmother’, because although my father would say that in loving frustration, I say that with great pride.

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  91. My Grandmother always made macaroni & cheese for me – she knew I loved it. When I prepare it – never turns out like hers… Maybe it was just her love for me that went into the preparation and came through in the experience… It wasn’t just food…

    Now I’m about to become a grandmother… my prayer is to be for my little grand-babe what she was for me… a rock of unconditional love and support – always.

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  92. I never really knew my grandmothers very well; my parents are immigrants so seeing them was an event that happened once every few years. I lost my maternal grandmother in the spring of 2007, while living abroad and unable to be comforted by or comfort my immediate family.

    I have a memory of being 5 years old and traveling to Italy for the first time. I caught a glimpse of her and my grandfather beyond the arrivals gate and I noticed that she was crying. I was too young to understand why she was crying; I thought, “Why is Nonna sad?”

    At 28 years old, I understand why she cried: because she was so very happy to see us. As I get older, I, too, have taken to crying when I’m unbearably happy, as I did today when Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States. My mother doesn’t cry that way. My cousins don’t cry that way.

    I must have gotten it from her.

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  93. Just had to add another blog from me that’s off topic – but I am so damn happy at the election result – I can’t sleep tonight ! To quote Michelle Obama, for the first time in my adult life I am really proud of my country ! Never shed tears over an election result before – that’s for sure. How lucky I and so many of we seniors are to have hung around long enough to see this. God bless Barack and his family and God Bless us all !

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  94. Both of my grandmother’s were great women and very influential in my life, I miss both of them greatly.
    Big Ma was a character and bigger than life.
    Her mom was called Li’l ma when she was alive by us kids. Florida born and raised into a farming family, she only finished an 8th grade education and then recieved her nursing license during ww1. She ran the local emergency room at the small cty hospital by herself at night, an orderly or two to assist some evenings. If something came in she couldn’t handle, which was rare, she called in the local doctor.
    She became state president for the nursing society and thru that association was able to take me on many trips out of state. Thru her I got to see for the first time NYC and Washington DC, smithsonian, so much … sometimes I remember that trip like it was yesterday … even though I was only 12 years old.
    A strong woman that could fish and hunt along side of any man, cook and clean better than any Martha Stewart, I remember her telling me in her later years … ice cream didn’t hurt her diabetes and when she moved in with *a* man, at the age of 70, she told me, in her own special way … sometimes you just need a friend … there’s nothing going on besides friendship then she whispered in my ear in conspiracy, he was inujred in the war down there anyway.

    Gosh, she was something.

    My other Grandmother, Granny … my earliest memory of her is her smell I think. She was a farmer and worked along side her husband in their fields, orange grove, raised three children … and worked, at home, in the fields. She smelled of the earth. As a child, I was terrified of this woman, she was stern and believed that kids should be seen and not heard … spare the rod, spoil the child sort but
    she had a hard life really. They ran a small produce stand on the property, sold vegetables and eggs from the farm on it. They put their kids thru school from that stand and were quite well known in the area for their vegetables.
    She loved her kids and grandkids, great grand kids. She lived to be 97 although at the end, she admitted she may have been older. Her eyesight failed her in her later years due to Macular degeneration and although some eyesight existed, she always told everyone that would listen …I’m blind, can’t see a dang thing. This became a rather fun point for us kids at times, whenever Granny wanted sympathy or didn’t want to do something, she’d proudly announce — I’m blind, you know.
    I don’t recall my granny being that fond of animals all that much when I was a kid coming up but in her later years, she acquired a yorkie for a companion and she loved that little dog dearly. They’d sit out on the porch soaking up the sun like two old lizards.
    One evening, I had gone up to help her into bed and she told me about how she had not slept well the night before and just held onto her little pet, talked to him thru the night. Then she said something that really made me smile and feel a litttle joke coming on … she committed about how the stars just twinkled in her dog’s eyes and was so pretty to see.
    I said but Granny, you’re blind! how could you see that?
    She thought a few seonds and then shouted out … well I saw that!
    I think if she’d had a belt, she’d have spanked me for sassing her … once more, just to prove she could.
    rofl … both were characters, strong women, both were influential in my life, both were *always* there for me, both were good hearted and both are very much missed by me.
    Thanks for the blog and the walk down memory lane.

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  95. he did it! we did it! xoxo it’s a great day for our country, sugar! President Barack Obama!

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  96. My grandmother has a bright yellow jeep, with purple pinstripes. On the spare tire cover, on the back of the jeep, it has a purple angel. The license place says “Bukkit” because that is what my great-grandmother called cars, “bukkits”. The best part is, my grandmother has these huge sunglasses with reddish orange lenses that she wears while driving around in her bright yellow jeep, and she loves to throw up the peace sign at people while we drive by. Just…awesome 🙂

    I voted for the first time today. When I saw Obama on that stage, I cried. I am so excited to see what this man will bring for this country. I am excited to see this country unite and make some changes! YAY!

    Peace and Love from California

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  97. The world will be in a much better place! yay for President Barack Obama. He will serve you proud.
    i had goose bumps for 5 hours awaiting the news.
    He has grace and will unite the country along with many others.
    God Bless America

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  98. My grandma taught me to play poker. To this day, I can’t beat her. As a kid, I would ask every so often to throw in a game of slap-jack, because my reflexes were faster, and that game I could win. Of course, she always came down on top of me a second later, rings and all. But I didn’t care. When I was sick, she’d make a bed on her couch, and we’d watch Lamb Chop and Mr. Rogers and game shows together. She’s still with me, thankfully.

    My other grandma I saw less often, but we’d sit together at her kitchen table eating Cheez-Its or egg salad (or anything — but I needed to eat!) — and she would tell me stories. Every time I saw her she asked me what I was writing. It meant a lot to me that from the time I was young she took an interest in that part of my life. She’s still with me, too, just in a different way.

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  99. Yes we can! Yes we can!!!!

    I want pie too

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  100. Thanks so much for your wonderful blog. Please keep up your wisdom.

    Memories of Grammie: My mother grew up in depression-era Boston, in a house with her parents and all her mother’s siblings. By the time of my childhood, my grandmother Grammie was still living with her sister, Auntie Anna. Grammie didn’t know how to drive but Auntie Anna (who had been a flapper) had her own car. So, Grammie and Anna visited our house every week for most of my childhood. Grammie taught me to drink Lipton tea, with peanut butter on toast on the side. On her Franciscan Desert Apple dishes. Which dishes I proudly own to this day. Grammie also taught me to read…from the Whitman’s Sampler box top, about how to find which chocolates were the caramels and which had the nuts. Nobody wanted the nuts. Grammie was married to Grampie, a retired fireman and a singer of local fame. My mother didn’t have such a good relationship with her mother. But I loved Grammie and I miss her every day.

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  101. My grandmother wore her hair in two long braids that she coiled around her head so that they looked like a crown. She could cook and bake like nobody’s business, and I loved her more than I can say. We lived a whole continent away from her and I didn’t see her nearly enough, but my main memory of my grandmother is the enfolding love I always felt when we were together. I miss her so much.

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  102. Have another piece of PIE, Helen!!!!
    THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO!!!!!

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  103. WE WON!!!!!!!
    LET’S EAT!!!!!!

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  104. My grandma was a flapper in New York during prohibition, she met my grandpa at a party and dated him because he had good liquor. It turned to love and they raised a family and had a good life together. She was liberated was before women’s lib. She comforted me when I was fighting with my mom, she took me on trips and showed me a different way to see the world. She was famous for her “rubber-band jello” because she was too impatient to stir! She is my favorite person and I miss her every day.
    Condolences to Mr. Obama.

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  105. Thanks, Helen, for asking. I’ve heard that we have a blood connection with our parents, but a SOUL connection with our grandparents, and I agree. My maternal grandmother, Willie Jean Leitch, was born in 1906, raised in Kentucky (we think she was born out of wedlock) and refused to be married at 14. She was taken in by a well-to-do family because she showed an interest in education and desired the be an “educated woman”. She used to talk about everyone in terms of whether they were educated or not, it was VERY important to her.

    She learned how to be a LADY (that was also VERY important to her and she drilled that notion into my head over and over). She graduated from high school and went to college at Davis and Elkins in West Virginia. She met my grandfather, whose family was from Virginia (so far back it makes me eligible for DAR) and studied architecture at Univ. of VA. They married and had two children. She did not become a school teacher. But she CONTINUED to learn every day. She was an AVID, AVID reader. There was never a day I didn’t see her reading a book. She knew everything about the Civil War, she read autobiographies, biographies, always non-fiction, and the newspaper every day. She could tell you ANYTHING about ANYTHING.

    She created works of art with her knitting, crochet, needlepoint, and other crafts that she made for her family. She was filled with wise and sometimes funny quips (“we gain our immortality through our children”, “the bachelor ladies love their gin”, “ladies DON’T play football”). She would not allow us to put a milk carton on the table, always must be in a pitcher. The table was always set for company, even when it was just family. She made the best fried chicken and potato salad with pickles.

    She was beautiful as a young woman (Scotch-Irish), black hair and blue eyes, and she was even MORE beautiful as a woman in her 90s. She was strong-willed, stubborn, and brilliant. She drove us crazy with history, checked through your things to make sure you had the treasures she gave you, and always said “Oh, Dave” to my grandfather when he joked with her. (She was very serious and he was just plain funny all the time.)

    Just before she died, she told my mother “I wish I had hugged you more as a child.” And to my surprise, she blurted out at her 90th birthday party to my mother and stopped the crowd with “Did you know Susie (me) is a Buddhist?” My mother said, “Yes, mama.” My baptist grandmother said, “I think that is really good and very interesting.” She also thought it was a good idea for couples to live together before they got married. She was not racist, but felt it was hard on the kids when interracial couples married. I believe she would love your blog, and she would have respected and admired Barack Obama. I think she would have voted for him, too.

    My favorite memory was the sparkle in her blues eyes, the way she would gently place her delicate hand beneath my chin and smile broadly and proudly at me whenever she saw me for the first time during our many visits. Oh, and she always sent me a check for $2.00 on my birthday.

    Thanks for the sentimental journey. I hope you are as happy tonight as I am watching Barack Obama make his eloquent acceptance speech. What a wonderful day for America and the Universe.

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  106. Thanks Helen for keeping us sane all this time (and thanks to eveyone else).

    YEAH BABY!

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  107. We won, yes–and for all the grandmas out there!! Let’s hope with our new guy…as Emily Dickinson points out:

    “Success is counted sweetest
    By those who ne’er succeed.
    To comprehend a nectar
    Requires sorest need.

    Not one of all the puple Host
    Who took the Flag today
    Can tell the definition
    So clear of Victory.

    As he defeated-dying–
    On whose forbidden ear
    The disant strains of triumph
    Burst agonized and clear!

    Low at my problem bending,
    Another problem comes–
    Larger than mine–Serener–
    Involving statelier sums.

    I check my busy pencil,
    My figures file away,
    Wherefore, my baffled fingers
    Thy perlplexity? ”

    ..Seems like a conclusion. Thanks for this site, my friends–let’s revive that phrase and make it good once more!!

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  108. My Grandmom used to make us baloney and butter sandwiches because when she was a kid, only the poor people ate sandwiches with mustard on them. It was her way of honoring us. Love you Grandmom! You were the best!

    Love, Lel

    Go-Bama!

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  109. Oops..I re-read what I wrote and it didn’t come out the right way (not missing out on much). I was trying to pay you and margaret a compliment. What I meant was
    I no longer feel like I have missed out on all the wisdom, the sassiness, the hilarity, the intelligence I know my grandma would have imparted on me, because I’m getting it all from you guys :o).
    It’s late an I have been celebrating a bit :o)

    Goodnite

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  110. Congrats!

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  111. we made it…thanks for always making me smile!

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  112. Toots…pat yourself on the back!

    WE DID IT!!!

    PEACE!

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  113. God Bless President Obama and God Bless Helen Philpot!!!!!!!!

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  114. YES WE DID HELEN & MARGARET!!!!!!!

    My only grandma that I knew died when I was 3, I’ve always felt that I had lost out on someone wonderful in my life, now meeting you two ladies I’m not so sure I lost out as much anymore.
    All I can do is be the best Grandma (Nanno) I can be to my 3 grandbabies.

    History was just made and my babies will grow up in this “new time” I have never ever been more proud to be american, not black american, just american.
    I will remember this day always because I saw for maybe the second time in my 47 years, we came together as a people…I sure hope it lasts.

    Please keep writing, I love your blogs and some of the comments are so amusing.

    Thank you

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  115. You ladies must be so excited!

    My favorite Grandmother memory is one fall day, I was in the car with her, crying about something. She couldn’t get me to stop. Then she said, “look sweetie,” and pointed out the window to the leaves being blown all around by the wind. “The leaves! They’re dancing!”

    I immediately stopped crying and got really excited about the dancing leaves.

    Of course a few months later, I would burst into tears because the leaves were no longer dancing, but that’s neither here nor there.

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  116. Thank you Toot! We did it!

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  117. My grandmother was instrumental in helping to raise me (much the same way Obama’s grandmother was instrumental in raising him).

    She died during my first semester of college, I wish she was around to see me today, starting my dissertation and just over a year away from my PhD.

    I really miss her stuffing on Thanksgiving, my favorite food, no one else makes it the same way.

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  118. my grandma collected dolls – she had a room full of dolls – it was a wonder. On the last day of my visit (I flew out to see her in Oklahoma all by my 10 year old self) I found a beautiful doll on my place setting @ breakfast. I still have it & several others she gave me. It was one of my best days.
    Thank you Helen for this lovely way to pay tribute & say thank you.

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  119. My Grandma was a thrifty giver. She loved to garden so she could give flowers, seeds, and baby plants to friends. She and a neighbor always coordinated their baking to use the ingredients efficiently. When one baked an angel food cake using 12 egg whites, the other baked 2 pecan pies using the egg yolks. After she’d had several strokes and had difficulty walking and talking, she still rolled bandages for the VA Hospital. I still remember the love in her eyes.

    Granny was a round little German lady with the most wonderful laugh and loving hugs. She had a saying for every occasion such as “Money only spends once”. She was a wonderful cook and always ready to take out her false teeth to the delight of her grandchildren!!

    Thanks Grandma and Granny!

    Thanks, Helen, for the chance to remember them and to talk about them after so many years.

    Senator Obama, Toot is so proud of you!!!!!!!!

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  120. When I would ask MaMaw, “How ya doing, MaMaw?” she would respond, with a smile, “Fat and Sassy!”

    That is my favorite answer to that question today and every time I answer “Fat and sassy!” I remember her.

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  121. My Nanny used to walk me to the library all the time when I was a little girl and play me in Scrabble all the time… I think it’s because of her that I’m set to graduate with a BA in English in the spring and I wish she were there to see me do it.

    I love your blog, and being that this is the first time I’ve ever commented on it, I just want you to know that I am so inspired by the both of you and only hope that I am as cool as you when I’m your age!

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  122. If I become 1/2 the woman my grandmother was, I will be able to say that I lived my life well.

    To the Obama family, rest in the comfort that we who have lost a grandmother mourn with you this day …

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  123. Helen,

    Thank you for writing and writing and writing. No matter who wins the election, please don’t stop. Your words bring such joy and comfort to me -and from what I can tell from these comments, so many others, as well.

    My maternal grandmother sympathetically comforted me when I cried about not winning “Most Likely To Succeed” in high school, and still taught me what’s most important and what’s true success. My paternal grandmother embodied unconditional love that I have never known more honestly from any other source of affection. I was very blessed to have both of them for quite some time, but I nevertheless miss them like hell.

    Thank you.

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  124. First Girl to Take HS Vocational Airplane Mechanics — 1942 in Selma, NC.

    Dear Miss Margaret and Miss Helen,

    My mother’s mother went to bat for her daughter (my mother, Myrtle) in my mother’s senior year of highschool. In North Carolina, in 1942, the school my mom attended offered airplane mechanics and only boys could take it. My mom had already flown solo (youngest in the state to do so at 14). Her 2 older brothers were mechanics and pilots and she blessedly had access. Denied the opportunity to atttend that class, my distraught mother turned to her mother. Mary Thompson (later known as Grand Mary) dressed in her Sunday best and went to the school and had a meeting with the principal. I am told by my mother that she simply and politely talked the principal into letting her into that class.

    My grandmother was known for many wonderful qualities, hard worker and boy could she serve a well-staged hot meal. In the 30’s, she fed “hobos” and always gave them a little something to do in exchange for the meal … like sweep the walk, because she understood people and their need for self-respect.

    I know this because of my mother. I also know that Mary did not always understand her daughter’s need for speed, but when it came down to it, she told the principal, ” my daughter belongs in that class, she knows more about airplanes than any boy taking it” and my mother was the first female to take boys vocational class in that Selma, NC school. How delightful to share that here.

    Joy

    PS- Thanks for the biscuit-men, Grandmother.

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  125. My Gram died in January after a long illness, but she spoke her mind until the very end. When the minister was giving her the protestant version of Last Rites, she pulled him close and told him she must tell him something. As he approached ready to receive her darkest secret, she said, “keep my service short, you tend to be a bit long winded!”

    I got a great smile from that, and she taught me much about life and death through out her 90 years. She was not a saint by any stretch of the imagination, but she lived by her convictions, and I only hope I will follow in her footsteps.

    God bless our Grands!

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  126. In life, my grandmothers did not like each other in the least bit. But they were both such a large part of shaping me into the woman I am today. One gave me the love of learning, travel and adventure. The other gave me the inspiration to keep working hard, to always have a plan, and to always be able to take care of myself. Both of them helped me learn to cook, and I think I got my sass and sarcasm from both.

    Not long after the second of them had passed away, I had a very vivid dream in which I was at my paternal grandmother’s house, and they were sitting on the antique settee together, smiling and telling me that they were friends now because of me.

    My vote today is for them — they both lived and suffered through the Great Depression, and gave me everything they could to make me strong.

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  127. Dear Helen,
    I did not know either of my grandmothers, and always felt that I was really missing something. My mother died when my daughters were very young and their other grandmother was never a part of their lives. I have had the enormous pleasure of being a grandmother to the most beloved child who is almost 5 years old. I hope that some day, she will realize how much I loved her and will appreciate having a grandmother in her life.
    Thank you for your thoughts. Rest well, Toot, knowing you were loved.

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  128. We called my grandmother “GeeMom” and some of my happiest childhood memories center around her. When trying to choose just one to post here, I realized how lucky I was because I had so many memories to choose from. She was known as a complex and complicated woman. But to her grandkids, she was an angel on earth. My favorite memory is a simple one. She would sit in her Queen Anne chair, knitting and watching her “stories”. My sister, cousins and I would crowd around her, teasing her hair and “setting” it in plastic rollers. After a few hours of this, she would declare it was “Enough!” and take a look in the mirror. Her gasp of horror always dissolved us into fits of hysterical giggles. It would take her “days to undo the damage”, but you could tell….she loved it as much as we did. I miss my GeeMom. My heart just aches for Obama. Rest in peace, Toots.

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  129. Helen,

    I began reading your blog a few weeks ago. I am a 44-year-old Southern girl who grew up in the back woods of Mississippi and is currently living in Albania (it’s a LONG story). Anyway, I watched Obama this morning talk about his grandmother, and came to tears thinking about my own grandmother who passed away a few years ago. Luckily, my daughter, who is now 13, got to spend a lot of time with her. I won’t say too much about her other than she always love me unconditionally, a concept my own mother has always had trouble with. Please keep writing, even when this election is over. It will keep you young.

    Thanks again,
    Cindy

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  130. Helen, you MUST post something early tonight so that everyone can log in and comment about the election.

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  131. helen? where are you? you haven’t gone off to hollywood, have you?

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  132. My grandmother never went anywhere without her lipstick on. She would put it on even before she would kiss us. Yiks, grandma! Now, I am the same way. And she always told me that colored people were very nice. That was how I was brought up in Arkansas.

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  133. All of these lovely tributes made me cry and miss my grandmothers. I wish I could have them back now to talk to. I never really appreciated them until it was too late.
    I have a dressing table where I put on my make-up and no matter where I’ve moved I’ve had one. My grandma Thornberry had one too and she’d let us girls play with her make-up. (There was a special drawer just for us, although we touched everything of course.) I guess that’s why I have one too come to think of it. Thanks for helping me remember.

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  134. Hi Helen,
    My grandmother, named Emily Olds Milne, but known to her friends as Molli, worked two jobs to support her children and her husband, who had a brain tumor thanks to exposure to atomic explosions off Bikini. She could be formidable, and yet at the same time, artistically clever and good at taking some old piece of furniture and making it into a thing of unique beauty.
    She had a great sense of humor and fun, and passed this on to her children. One year, her youngest son bronzed one of his old, giant, ripped up tennis shoes and gave it to her for Christmas – as he was the “baby of the family.” (I am sure you remember the custom of bronzing baby shoes…) Another one of her sons was an English professor. He had the annoying habit of always corrected the punctuation in the letters she sent — it was a kind of game they played, ribbing each other. So one day she sent a letter completely unpunctuated, but the envelope held dozens of confetti-like scraps of paper adorned with little commas, periods and semi-colons, so he could punctuate it himself.

    She was a die-hard Republican, however, and most of her children waited until she died to vote Democrat.

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  135. My paternal Grandma was the best. As a kid, I loved her even more that my own mother, because she had patience which my mother with eight children to care for didn’t have. As an adult, I now understand how tough it must have been for my mother, esp. when she and my dad separated.
    Anyway, my gram or grumps as we sometimes called her had a great sense of humour and always took the time to talk to us and tell us stories, she taught us how to dance. We would spend time with her and end up all sleeping in her double bed with her. I look back now, and wonder how she coped with so many kids in her bed, but like a trooper, she handled it with love and grace. We never questioned whether we were loved, just took it for granted. She made the best curried shrimp and beef soup. My dad would pick us up every Saturday, and take us to Gram for her beef soup. She died in the 1970s and I still miss her and shed a tear when I think of her. She was so dear to all of us. A star died the day she left this earth.
    I know how Barack feels with the loss of his beloved Toot, Grandmothers are lifelines to grandchildren.
    RIP Toot, we know you’ll look out for your Barry or Bear as you called him, with your love.

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  136. Dear Margaret and Helen,

    One of my friends suggested your site and it’s been a real delight reading your posts, both political and non political. My birthday is coming up and I’m thinking of getting one of your shirts from cafe press 🙂

    To share about my grandmother, my paternal grandparents lived with my family, so my grandmother has been a ever-present for much of my formative years. She was a hell of a cook and after I finished college, I came back to learn traditonal recipes from her and during that time a reporter from the Dallas Morning News came to write an article for Chinese New Year (we’re a Chinese family). We were making New Year dumplings and foods, and the reporter asked why she still does it. My grandmother answered in Chinese and it loosely translated to, “I do it because that’s who I am and I’ll continue to do it as long as I’m me.”

    She’s still alive, but a series of bad falls has her in a retirement community and she doesn’t have her own kitchen anymore, but I’ve still got her recipes and my hands will learn the rote of those delicate dumplings with practice and time. I know it brings us both a little joy.

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  137. My grandparents were immigrants from Checkloslovakia. They did not speak English when they arrived in America but managed to learn the language and educate themselves (my Grandfather was the first to graduate from not only high school but college as well!), and begin a new life. They were Americans who understood the sacrifices made to keep this country proud and strong. They truly felt as though they lived the American dream.

    They taught me the value of hard work, the pride that comes with conducting youself with integrity and that part of being an American was to share your good fortune with others — look out for those who had less.

    I have to think that would be shaking their heads in amazement at the state of our world today. I also think they’d be watching election results with me tonight with the hopeful aniticipation of knowing that they were watching history in the making. I think they would feel as I do, that our country is about to embark on a course to restore it to greatness — not for some but for all.

    Thank you ladies for bringing a wonderful voice of reason and wisdom to these final days of campaigning. Please keep the conversations going — the world needs more of your input.

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  138. I lost my Grandma over 20 years ago, and I still miss her. Madelyn was spunky, a former tap-dancer who played baseball in the street with us and made the best lemon meringue pie! She taught me to be strong, to speak up, to reach for what I want, to love and care for people.
    She would have been a Grandma for Obama.
    I miss you Dino!

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  139. my gramma used to make tia maria in her bathtub. and she told me my first dirty joke.

    man, i miss her.

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  140. Hi Helen,

    I never knew my grandmothers they passed away before I was born. My mother died when I was six months old but God did not leave me alone. My father’s older sister filled the bill for both of them. She did not have much money but what she had she’d share it with me. Some of my best memories are winter mornings in Ohio when she would made me home made pancakes and syrup made with sugar and water. Her love made me feel like I could do anything.

    My heart hurts for senator Obama.

    Shirley

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  141. What a wonderful way to honor our grandmas, and Obama’s grandma as well. Bless you both for asking for your readers to honor grandmas.

    My grandma was a small, plump woman who ruled her family with a velvet glove. She lived on 40 acres of farmland and would say to her grandchildren, “If I step outside and call for you, I expect you to answer me.” She had said the same thing to our parents, but when we asked what happened if they didn’t answer, they just shook their heads. The message? Listen to grandma. And we did!

    She was a sweet, loving, force of nature. The only girl in a family of 9 children, she proposed to her future husband, was the first telephone operator in our county, and always knew exactly which grandchild liked which cookies. When her husband died at age 59, my grandma was so devastated that my parents moved in with her for a couple of years. I was only 4 at the time, but still have fond memories of living with my grandma.

    My grandma died 12 years ago, a year after my father (her middle child). She never knew that my dad died, as she’d disappeared into Alzehimer’s. I was the first granddaughter and her favorite, and my deepest regret is that my grandma never met my daughter. She would have loved her.

    Grandmas rock.

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  142. I must say that my brother and sister and I all agree that all the good qualities any of us have brought to adulthood were forged by our loving grandmother and granddaddy.

    Our bad qualities are from our parents.

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  143. Grandma Morgan talked about her father going west to the goldrush and serving in the union army and about the photographs he took. She talked about working at the St. Louis Worlds Fair in 1904. Two years ago I got the trunk she kept keepsakes in. There are groundbreaking and opening day tickets to the fair. There is a Grand Old Army pin that Union Veterans wore. There are photographs that predate the civil war and also of his trip to the Dakotas showing campsites, teepees, Native Aericana and one I especially love is a picture of my great grandparents dinner table with the family at dinner. And letters, lots and lots of letters.

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  144. Helen,
    You always make me smile!
    My favorite Grandmother story was when my 88 year old Grandmother went to visit her son in Ohio for a few weeks. A few days before returning home she stumbled while out shopping with my Aunt and fell flat on her face breaking her glasses, breaking her nose and blackening both eyes. Much to my favorite Aunt’s horror, we still jokingly accuse her of knocking Granny down! When I picked her up at the airport, the sight of her was quite shocking to say the least. Before I could say a word she looked at me and said “You should see the other guy”.
    Or the time she wanted to film us kids riding a motorcycle and held the camera backwards resulting in 5 minutes of her eyeball rolling around accompanied by her “wave to grandma” soundtrack! She was always so fun and always willing to laugh at herself and not sweat the small stuff.
    I had the opportunity to care for this lovely lady for 8 years until her death at 98. Undoubtedly the most fulfilling accomplishment of my life! To all who read this, tell the people who have loved you from day 1 how much they mean to you and show your appreciation to them as often as possible! Granny’s are awesome!

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  145. My grandmother was a wonderful lady and I miss her so much. She lived with us growing up and was always there for my brother and me. I pretty much learned evertything I know today about the world from her, and every bit of wisdom and common sense I have is something she taught me. I am humbled to know her. She contracted polio at age 7 before the vaccine and was disabled. After being widowed in the early 50’s, she became very poor and had a very difficult life struggling to raise my mother and support her aging mother on her own. She still managed to be the wonderful, sweet, thoughtful, caring, loving, smart, wise person she was, grateful for what she had. She was an inspriration to me and so many who knew her. She would have given her life for my brother and me. She died at age 82 in 1995 from complications of her polio.

    In tough times in my life, I still always ask her to help me through and guide me to do the right thing. I only wish I gave 1/100th to her what she’s given me. She’s the angel on my shoulder.

    Obama’s grandmother will be the angel on his shoulder now, too. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.

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  146. My Grandmom died in February of this year. I was shocked. She was the funniest person I knew, and I got all my charm and wit from her. She always had candy for me, called me by my middle name, and loved a nice strong high ball. I still can’t believe that she died so quickly…but I agree with your post. We will take it from here, Toot, you’ve done enough.

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  147. I only vaguely remember my grandma as she died when I was not even five years old..what I do remember is her rocking me in an old rocking chair…

    Some nights I still rock myself to sleep..or maybe she does…

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  148. Nana would always make up fun stories to tell my brother and me right before nap time. We were encouraged to add our own plot points to the stories with frogs and princesses, and then we would always pass out. Once I woke up with my grandmother’s hand in my mouth trying to pull a loose tooth out! It always makes me smile just thinking about her.

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  149. My grandmother was the most amazing woman I’ve ever known, hands down. A deaf woman who raised two hearing children and their five hearing grandchildren. She taught me how to make potato salad, how to get Barbie’s hair to not look yellow, and that lipstick generally makes you feel better. Even at the end of her life, when the dementia had taken over and she thought I was her cousin- the one who slapped her every chance she got because she was different- my grandmother loved me with everything she could, because even then, she knew that something bigger was out there.

    She, like Toot, knew there was something better destined for her grandchildren.

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  150. I could write a mini novela about my grandmothers. Both have passed but they left me with an inspiration and knowing that I could be (and want to be) much more than I am today. For them- there was nothing in this world that cant be done, only people who refuse to do it. – the best help we could ever find is at the end of our own arm. -We all have only just enough load to carry, only we have to trust we can carry it.

    Do I miss them? Not really, cause I feel I carry a part of them in me that whispers what they needed me to know. Feeling Blessed for having had them in my life.

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  151. I just discovered you two wonderful ladies today and I’ve already forwarded several of your blogs to friends and family.
    My favorite story about my grandmother happened about 20 years ago-I went to her house for a weekend visit and got there a little early. She had a male “friend” there and they were coming out of the bedroom as I came in the back door. After the gentleman left she looked and me and very sweetly said “my first husband stayed too drunk and my second husband stayed too sick-I deserve some fun”. I couldn’t have agreed with her more-having known both of the husbands. She died last year and I miss her. Our thoughts are definately with our new President(I pray!)

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  152. I just had lunch with my great aunt, my nan’s sister. Nan died many years ago, and after moving to PA recently, I’ve just begun to know her younger sister — who is 95. I have many great memories of my Nan and am glad I’ve gotten to know my great aunt. I love talking to her and hearing stories of her youth. After a lovely long lunch, I took her to vote — she loves that Obama guy and says he gives her a reason to keep on going. She wants to see how he turns the country around!

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  153. I was an only child constantly surrounded by adults. When I was little my Grandma and I would pretend to be sisters. We’d call each other Sis and ride in the backseat together and whisper so that my Mom couldn’t hear us. We were partners in crime…

    After I graduated college I lived with her for 6 weeks before starting my adult life. We played Rummy and had coctails every afternoon fro m3-6 before I’d go to work or meet up with friends; it is still one of my favorite and most cherished times of my life.

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  154. My grandmother was blind and when my grandfather died she moved in with my family. We became very good friends. When I told her I was gay (she was 92, I was in my early 20’s) she asked me if I was happy. I told her yes and she said, “Then honey, don’t worry about what anyone else thinks, you just be happy.” Thanks Grandma.

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  155. My grandmother (Gran) was an elementary school principal in the 1950’s & 60’s. She was so beloved by her students present and past, that whenever we would walk around town, someone ALWAYS came running and embraced her with all the love possible. Even as a young child, my heart would swell at these encounters, because I realized that as well loved as she was, she was MY grandmother.

    I miss you Gran, but you are with me every day.

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  156. Grandma for the fish ad chips in newspaper every friday and the cheese and chive sandwiches and the cucumber sandiwches in the summer.

    Nan for singing when she was doing up my shoes and for buying me crisps and taking me to feed the ducks.

    Miss em both.

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  157. I was born while my parents were still in college in western New York. Grandma was an enormous help to my family being so close. Even my mom (who my Grandma wishes was a mail order bride from Italy for her son) admits that without Grandma Gullo’s help, she might have tossed me out the window. I took my first steps at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm and was going to be named Eddie Jr if I was a boy.

    Grandma laughed at everything I did, loved to watch me perform. I wanted to help her cook, like I helped my mom at home, but that was her domain, and her secrets. Secrets it would take years to unravel. We loved watching the Little Rascals and the Golden Girls together and she was very pleased when I said Sophia reminded me of her.

    She wanted me to be a star. It was always, “You’re so beautiful you should be a model!” And then when I hit puberty, (which incidentally happened at her house too) and started gaining weight she would say, “Your so beautiful! You should be a Large size model!”

    Thanks for always telling me I was beautiful, Grandma Gullo. Mom said you would be around for my wedding. I wish you were.

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  158. My grandmother made the best sticky rolls I’ve ever eaten . I’ve never even attempted to make them as they her took all day to make as she made them with yeast and they had rise. They were covered with carmel and pecans and melted in your mouth.

    My grandmother was the daughter of an Irish immigrant who came over during the pototo famine.

    My grandmother made beer in her basement during prohibition, loved to play pinochle and taught me to knit (badly).

    I loved my Grandmother very, very much.

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  159. My Children are so lucky to still have their Great-Grandma (my Nana). I remember when I was a little girl I would run to Nana’s closet and line up all of her shoes, they were the great shoes of the 40’s style. I would try on every pair and show them all to her, then I would put them back the way I found them. To this day I love my shoes!
    Nana’s are the best and so are her memories!!
    She now has Alzheimers and doesn’t know any of us but we know her. We Love and Miss you Nan 🙂

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  160. My maternal grandmother passed away when i was in the 5th grade…my favorite memories with her are going to my great-grandparents and loading up in their big cadillac…we would drive to the Mr. Burger and get a vanilla cream dr.pepper and then ride around looking at the department store windows…EVERY sunday…it was nice…i miss it

    My paternal grandmother is still living and is almost as funny as you ladies. My favorite memory with her was when i was little and she would come pick me up for church and while she put her make-up on in the car we sang “You are my sunshine” I hope to sing that with my children everyday!

    Thanks for helping me remember the memories!

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  161. When my grandmother was born, women were not allowed to vote. Since women got the vote, we got child labor laws, labor unions, Social Security, Civil Rights laws. They made a mistake in passing Prohibition, and then solved the problem of men drinking their paychecks and leaving their families to starve (which Prohibition was designed to solve) with Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. Since MADD, drunkenness, and especially drunk driving, is no longer tolerated. It is seen as the sickness that it is, and help, instead of excuses, is offered. I think the women’s vote has had a profound effect on our country.

    I remember this when I go to vote. I remember my grandmother marched for women’s votes. I remember the women who died in getting the vote for me. And I thank them.

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  162. My maternal grandmother lived to be 101 years old. She was amazing and truly loved by her large family (11 children and a couple dozen grandchildren). We would fight over which one of us would have her spend a week or two at our house. I lucked out the most, since my mother – the oldest -had died when I was only 18 months old. The thing that I always remember is that she had a special something about each of her children, that she bragged about – and it made all of us feel really loved. I try to do the same thing now for my children, grand children and GREAT grandchildren. A sincere compliment for someone you love stays with them forever. So here’s yours – you have inspired and encouraged thousands of fans and they will never forget you !

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  163. To the one and only Martha Kernodle:

    You were the best grandmother a child could ask for. Your love was unconditional. You made the best biscuits and served them along with love and healthy dose common sense. You and grandad left a legacy of intelligent, strong, proud accomplished women. You are truly missed.

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  164. Greetings Helen, I have enjoyed your posts. Thank you so much for adding to the eCollective. Like you, I think Hasselhof (from the View) is a huge ass, and once this election is over, I hope she is bounced off the airwaves quicker that you can say “That One”. Anyways – as my elder, I honor you and your good friend Margaret. May the Creator continue to keep and bless each of you and yours. Keep blogging, we’ll keep readin’.

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  165. Thanks for this post, Helen!

    Mommom’s been gone 4 years as of 10/30- she’d have like this blog quite a bit.

    Mommom was sharp as a tack- she went to college and then signed on with the Red Cross during WW II and served in the South Pacific- she would trade cigarettes with soldiers for loot from the Japanese- hair pins, tea pots, you name it. When she came back she lived here in DC for awhile- I have her address book from that time and drive past the house often. Incidentally, that address book was also full of soldiers names and addresses- guess that explains why she was engaged four times before my PopPop!

    She was an amazing cook- I would often call her when I was in college to ask questions like “how long does it take to hard boil an egg” or “how do I make fish” Not only would I get an answer to the initial question, but complimenting recipes.

    But more than being fiercely independent and scary smart, she was the one person who never once judged me and could always be counted on for comfort. Mommom knew me maybe better than I knew myself and was somehow able to put into words the feelings that I just couldn’t. For that I will be eternally thankful and look forward to being reconnected with her, my kindred spirit, someday.

    Thank you Helen- for everything.

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  166. Honoring all Nanas. Yes. We. Can.

    Nan (Mabel Abbott)–and her parakeet–Pretty Boy.
    Grandma K.–and her breadsticks
    Grandma H.–and her Thanksgiving dressing (lots of onions ground in the old hand-crank grinder with tears and laughter)
    And Mom–lost too young. Love back to ya.

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  167. I remember most my grandmother’s kitchen table, they had long since moved from the farm house into the city limits and there was this enormous farm table beat all to hell, sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor which completely dwarfed everything around it. It seemed there was always a HUGE wooden bread/biscuit making bowl in the middle of it with flour sprinkled all around. I’d sit there every morning and watch her make these enormous, biscuits patting each out by hand onto a large cookie sheet and wait with baited breath for the first, golden browned to perfection pan to come out of the oven. The oven was one of the old enamel and iron ones she didn’t like those newfangled ones with the ‘eyes’ as she called them.

    There was also the old style washing machine with the wringer rollers on top that you turned by hand (sort of like a pasta maker is set up today), she didn’t like that the newfangled machines spun and shook the way they did. I remember long days on the back porch running the wash through the wringers, walking barefoot through the backyard to hang them on the line. We’d do our morning chores, have lunch only when the local factory buzzer and church bell signaled that it was 12 noon, then she’d make me take an afternoon nap in an old feather bed that when you fell into it, you literally felt like it was swallowing you up. I loved every minute of her house as a child.

    I miss her terribly, she could be severe and stern and the most loving and gentle creature all at the same time. Hers was a hard life, one of abuse at the hands of my grandfather and the wear and tear of farming for your livelihood, but I remember how this didn’t break the woman. She could by reason of what she’d suffered, have been a tyrant or a headcase, but she was a solid example of love and strength.

    I miss you Leonas grandmother mine.

    Thanks for that Helen it’s good therapy and nice to remember these things in these dark days, it warms the heart and puts a smile on your face. We could all use a little of that.

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  168. My favorite grandmother memory is how my dad’s mom, Nanny, always served brown bread from a can with every meal but she always insisted she made it from scratch. I mean, you could see the can marks and everything but we all humored her and went along with it. She also got me hooked on my most horrible childhood sandwich favorite – baloney on white bread with ketchup. She may not have fed me the best foods but she fed them with love.

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  169. My Grandmother passed away in 2001 – 12 weeks before my Grandaddy. He couldn’t live without her.

    Grandmother and Grandaddy, in spite of their generation, were the least judgmental people I knew. They didn’t care about the color of a person’s skin, just as long as they came to visit!

    I miss them very much. Toot will be missed. I’m sure she was so proud of her grandson, and will hopefully be looking down on him tonight as he wins the election!

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  170. Mostly I remember my grandma’s trees. She did not speak english and I did not speak spanish so not much dialogue, but I loved her back yard! She had arpicot, fig, pecan, and persimmon trees and all other sorts of plants. It was so nice to be able to pick fruit right off the tree. I did not realize how good we had it.
    She was able to make anything in that yard edible, including the cactus!

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  171. My grandmoma was not a great cook, but she was a wonderful grandma! I spent every weekend at her house, I couldn’t wait until Friday so I could go stay at Grandmoma’s house all weekend!!! She would tell me stories of how her and my grandfather met, and courted. I still remember them, believe it or not! She would let me play dress up in her satin dresses from Hawaii that she kept in a cedar chest, they were expensive and she never even wore them. Till this day, when I smell a cedar chest, I feel warm and fuzzy and I miss my grandmoma!

    I lost my grandma in 2002, one day before my first child’s birthday. It was horrible, but at least she was able to know one of her great grandchildren! Gosh, I miss her dearly, I am tearing up just thinking of her!!!

    I know you and Moma are up there watching over us!!! I love ya grandmoma!!!

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  172. What a beautiful idea. My heart goes out to Barack and his family. How difficult it must be to deal with that loss amidst all that’s going on.

    My two grandmothers were very different, but beloved for their own unique personalities. My paternal grandmother was a very lonely woman, who’d had much heartache, and suffered from depression. She was well-loved by all of us, though, for her gentleness and dedication to her family. When we visited her in the South, from the North, we were always greeted with a traditional Southern feast, much more than our family could possibly eat. The thing I always remember is that when we arrived at her home, she was always sitting in her aqua colored rocking chair, just waiting. Her quietness and patience set an example for me as I learned to live my own life. She was also a writer of poetry, and left behind many beautiful poems that spoke of family, nature, love, and loss. I love to read her work, as an insight to this beautiful, private woman.

    My maternal grandmother was not introspective or quiet, but she was loved and valued by her family for her own qualities. Always busy – in the kitchen, around the house, in her religious community – she was no-nonsense and fulfilled her responsibilities so thoroughly that I didn’t even realize how hard her life must have been until after she was gone and I was much older. She had six children, and the family was poor, so she worked hard to make sure home was “home.” I remember my grandpa smacking her on the behind, and her inevitable grouchy squeek. But I also remember her teasing him, too. Her laugh was not easy, but even as a child, when it came, I noticed. She was the quiet backbone of the family. Sadly, when she passed away, our family stopped it’s yearly gatherings and drifted apart. Her love and wordless commitment to family was what kept us together, and I will always be grateful for the space she saved for us to learn warmth, safety, and comfort.

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  173. My grandma raised me, she’s a frustrated seamstress. I say that because all those ears that I lived with her, she never found a dress that’s good enough for me or her. She does not make dresses, she buys those ready to wear ones. and the funny thing is, there’s always something wrong with the collar, or the neckline or the pockets, etc. And before any of us gets a chance to wear our dress, it will have to go under her needles first!

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  174. Thank you for giving us a place to share our memories of our grandmothers. Mine was a wonder–strong, sweet, and salty. Actually, when I read your blog, you remind me of her. She was a no-nonsense Texan, through and through.

    Perhaps my favorite memory of my grandmother was how she came to terms with my mother’s second marriage, which happened to be to a black man, back in the 70s. My grandfather refused to speak to to my mother for years, but my grandmother did her very best to overcome the years of unquestioned prejudice. She talked with me about how I saw it (as an 8 year old), thought hard about it, and eventually she let go of the hate and brought my mom back into the fold.

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  175. My father’s mother died before I was born, but I am lucky to have my mother’s mother still around and as feisty as ever! She is certainly the matriarch of the family; although she pretends not to want to be “too pushy,” she always seems to get her way…
    She lives in a very stuffy, ostentatious development in the suburbs, but her house was one of the first to go in. Now it sits at the top of the hill, looking out over all the oversized, towered, turreted monstrosities. Hers is a one-story, two-bedroom, very modest Japanese-styled house that was designed by her brother, an architect in California. It has 87 windows in the living room alone, skylights, a stained-glass window over the dining room table, and sliding paper screens between rooms. She is definitely the odd lady on her block, and she loves it.
    At almost 85, she has a more active social life than I do at 25, and I often don’t get to see her on my visits home because she is booked with trips to the theater, dinners, and parties! She also volunteers at a holistic medicine clinic and her local library. I can’t even keep up with her!
    But when we don’t get to see each other, she sends me e-mails and letters with the most amazing insights and filled with her appreciation for nature and life.
    What a woman!

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  176. Love your blog ladies!

    I called my grandmother last night to see how she was doing after a trip from VA to OR to see my cousins. We got to talking about the election, and she began reminiscing about how she’s voted in every presidential election in the last 60+ years. She distinctly remembers voting for FDR, and she voted for Obama today. Though she’s a young 86 and has many more elections left in her–kayn-ah-hora–there’s an amazing sense of balance in those two votes. She stood in line for an hour in the rain before being told of the over 65 line inside her polling place, and she didn’t complain once. She walked the quarter mile to and from the polling place, and she called me to give me a report. I think she’s caught a bit of my election enthusiasm, not surprising considering she moved from being undecided to being an Obama supporter for me, because of this elections effect on my future. She is the coolest bobbe ever, and I love her to bits.

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  177. I’ll write a tribute to both of my grandmothers.

    Grandmother Victoria used to sit me on her lap facing her and hold onto my legs and allow me to dangle backward and then flip me up into a hug while she sang to me. She was my second mother, made the best peanut butter cookies on the planet, showed me the value of spirituality and was by my side through thick and thin. She died at the age of 87 of alzheimer’s disease and I miss her every day. She sacrificed everything to flee Cuba in 1961 so that my generation could have better opportunities in the United States. I honor her sacrifices.

    My other grandma, Hortensia, was a world-class cook. She made a killer pineapple upside-down cake. She was a professional baker making wedding cakes for a living in her later days. She even ran a cantina night out of her home when she first came to this country as a way of supplementing her income. She was a tough cookie, and not the nicest person on the planet and probably did a lot to mess up that whole side of the family, but she was still my grandma and she had a tough life and I honor her for her sacrifices as well.

    May they both rest in peace. If we stand tall, it is because we stand the shoulders of our ancestors!

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  178. Sorry, Reiner, I loved my grandmother very much and still – 20 years later – have wonderful memories of her. She was an amazing woman who raised 8 kids during the 30s and 40s and through some tough economic times. Her house was always clean, her kids always had clean clothes and there was always a meal on the table. She could stretch a meal to feed not only her own family, but any neighbor who dropped in as well, and still find something to pass on to someone less fortunate. Of a neighbor who’s reputation wasn’t quite quite, Gram once said that woman’s kids had clean clothes and were well fed and well mannered and that she, Gram, didn’t think much else mattered. I remember her teaching me to make vinegar taffy one summer during a terrible storm, and jumping into the creek with the rest of the family another time because she wanted to join in the fun. Second only to my own mother she is the woman I most admire and want to grow up to be.

    I don’t necessarily like or love everyone I’m related to (I’ve got something like 30 cousins) but my grandparents? Without question.

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  179. My grandmother Leni (Leah) died in Auschwitz after she hid her two little girls with a farm family in Nazi occupied Belgium.
    My grandmother Simma died in a slave labor camp that was part of Sobibor death camp. She was shot when she was to ill and too weak to work anymore.
    I have no memories of grandma and I realize what a large loss it is.

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  180. My grandmother, unlike those of so many others, was not a renowned cook. She was often rather absent minded about kitchen work, with some decidedly odd results. According to my mother and her siblings, one time she put a block of frozen chicken parts in the oven to thaw for dinner, then forgot about them. A few hours later, she had a rectangular mass of very dry poultry. She was a wonderful, warm person, but you relly had to give your dinner plate a hairy eyeball, I guess.

    When she passed away, there was talk of collecting some of her more interesting experiences into a faux cook-book and titling it “Square Chicken”. I wish they would have followed through on that. Miss you, grandma.

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  181. My Grandma Gladys was the most amazing woman I have ever known. My sister and I spent a lot of time with her as children. Being a product of the depression, we learned the frugal necessities of gardening, canning and dressing chickens in the summer. In the winter we learned to embroider, bake, and played endless games of chinese checkers and dominos. She insisted we learn to the play the piano, and had little concerts just for her. She was a master at letter writing. Being ever so careful not to waste paper, writing up and down the margins. Every year at holidays, she made jello with fruit in the same dish.

    I inherited that dish, so every holiday, there is still jello with fruit. It’s funny, the rest of the world is in a financial crisis, we are not. We learned and lived what our grandmother taught us. I am a better person because of her. She was truly Grand indeed.

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  182. My Nana from Holland. She left Europe on a ship that set sail from Liverpool harbor. She left all she knew behind. She landed in Boston on April 23, 1914. I dont know if she actually spoke English, but I do know that as an elderly lady she spoke with a very heavy accent. She moved across the country to settle in CA.
    My Nana was a lovely lady. She had the kindest heart ever known. She was special. She saw so much. She did so much. My Nana was an immigrant.
    Now I am the immigrant. I live not to far from where Nana set sail. I know what its like to leave all you know and love behind. I often wonder what she thought when she stood there, looking at Liverpool getting smaller and smaller in the distance. I bet she was excited. I know she was a little sad.

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  183. Thank you for this. My thoughts are with Toot’s family and friends. Godspeed, Toot.

    Both of my grandmas had passed away before I was born, but I did know my great-grandmother and she was one of the most remarkable women ever born. She lived to be 105, God rest her soul, and she taught me so many life lessons at a very tender age.

    When I was about 4, she was sick and confined to bed. My Mama was helping to take care of her. I remember I was playing on the floor of her room as my Mama was putting laundry away and the two women were talking. Nanny (my name for her) had already buried her husband, her siblings and even a child. She said to my Mama, “I don’t know why God has left me here so long.”

    Without missing a beat I climbed onto her bed, took her face in my hands and said, “He left you here for me.” She just smiled and patted my hand.

    My Mama told me years later (when I was grown) that at that moment she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Out of the mouths of babes…”

    I am thankful every day that I had Nanny in my life.

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  184. Reiner – I feel sad that you think of personal relationships this way. Love of family is an imposition? I love my family because of fond memories from childhood to adulthood, because they helped and shaped the adult that I am today. Did we always agree? No But what we have in common is we love each other. And that’s enough for me.

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  185. I have that feeling w/re to some inlaws, Reiner…but I truly feel love for my grandparents that goes beyond ‘good manners’. It may start out as an imposition but in the end, if they loved you and treated you as tho they did its hard not to love them back.

    You don’t have to have something ‘in common’ w/someone necessarily to love them.

    Im sorry you have no happy memories of yours. That is what this is about.

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  186. My Nana passed away 14 years ago, but I still think of her often. My son’s middle name is Ross in honor of her (her name was Rosa). As a child, I always thought that she lived in a big, fancy house. As an adult I realized that it was really quite small, but there was a separate dining room, so that seemed fancy to me. Also, she would give me Pepperidge Farm cookies, which I considered the height of class and sophistication. Often, we would eat them on the ice cream parlor-style table on her patio. She would slip me money, just a dollar or two, whenever she saw me. I remember making her laugh. In fact, that is how I usually picture her – she would put her hands together and lean over them and laugh.

    Today I also remember my mom, who passed away almost 2 years ago. Although she never changed her party affiliation, she never voted Republican and nothing made her angrier than George Bush. I wish she could have lived to see this day. When I push the button on the touch screen later today, I’ll be doing it for her too (although you know she never did get the hang of those computers).

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  187. I had a wonderful grandma and I certainly miss her a lot. She was one of the best cooks in the world & would always sit down and listen to whatever I had to say. She would have done exactly the same thing Barack’s grandma did for him if she had been in the same situation. Let us all remember that if/when we are/become grandmas that we return the favor! Go grandmas!!!!!!!

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  188. My abuelita was smart, accomplished, beautiful and proud. She set the bar high for me. My favorite memory is of spending two summers with her and my grandfather in San Francisco. She took me to the symphony, ballet, assorted dance classes, museums and touristing around the bay area. She custom made my clothes for sixth grade. She and I did yoga together every morning, bellydancing in the afternoon. She taught me to use chopsticks, and helped me with spanish grammar and reading, which was not taught in my schools (english only). It was the summer of love – 1967 and 1968 – and she invited my first “boyfriend” (I was 11) to join us on adventurous outings. This was her artist hippie phase – I seem to recall lots of paisley in my school clothes that year. She was a lovely grandmother.

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  189. I think most of us like our grandparents just because it is good manners. Same as with the rest of the family. The kind of love that rules inside the family seems to be an imposition rather than a conviction or a real feeling.
    I mean why sshluld you love someone just because he/she belongs to the same family? Of course you can love your brothers siters parents and grandparents but you should do so if you really have something in common and not because you are supposed to feel something special.

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  190. oh, and my maternal grandmother always had lemondrops! If I ever see them I always think of her.

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  191. I miss both my grandmothers.

    My maternal grandmother lived on a farm in New Athens, Illinois. She was depressed a lot , I think , looking back but she showed her love for me by sewing me doll clothes for my dolls.

    They lived on a farm and I loved exploring every nook and cranny, helping them feed the cows, helping my grandmother feed the cats in the big chicken house (no longer used for chickens). My grandmother had a big garden and did a lot of canning.

    One funny memory I have of her is seeing her sitting on the toliet eating a cookie. She laughed seeing me spot her and said, “Eating cookies on the toliet.”

    She loved to do crosswords and read me the funnies in the newspaper.

    She and my grandfather, Pop, lived into their 90s , both ending up in nursing homes in the end. My grandmother, I think, was ready to die without my grandfather. It was so sad for her in the end.

    My other grandmother (dad’s mom) was a more adventurous spirit. She loved to quilt (and was not afraid to add a lot of color and diff patterned material pieces , she loved cats and had this black n white cat named Patches (I have a cat named after her cat now), and she loved to go on walks/hikes. She loved the color, orange …loved to add that color to her quilts. One christmas all her grandkids each got a quilt of hers. I used mine a lot so mine is now gone but my sister still has hers. I remember her pushing me and my sister in a wheelbarrow.

    She ended up dying of Alzheimers, a v. cruel illness that slowly but surely ate every bit of a cognizant memory.

    By the time she really did die it was made easier by the fact that a little of her died due to this disease every day.

    I am a grandmother myself now to a 2 yr old boy we call JJ and I hope he regards me as warmly and fondly as I do my grandmothers.

    BTW, Helen and Margaret, I consider you my online friends, and it is touching all the people who care for you as much. I feel a kinship w/all of you in that we all have YOU as a focal point to share our treasured memories.

    Thank you for this wonderful idea to be able to put into words our memories of our beloved grandmothers. Someday maybe we can extend it to our ‘granddads’ too.

    She ended up getting

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  192. My two grandmothers, Isabel and Rose, passed away within a few weeks of each other in 1986 when I was 21 years old. They were on the east coast and we moved to the west coast when I was 11 so I didn’t really see or spend much time with them after the move except during brief summer visits.

    They both lived in a home in their final years. My paternal grandmorhter suffered from Alzheimers and, sadly, became a vegetable in her final years. My maternal grandmother went blind from cataract issues in her final years.

    Sadly, I don’t have many memories left of time spent with my grandmothers beyond my early “tween” years. Since I am 43 now my memories are fading, and have become few and far between. :o(

    I named my daughter Isabel Rose after of them, and she is often told that hers is a beautiful name. They were both beautiful ladies, so in this small way, they can live on in her. Yup, I do remember that both of my grandmothers were smart, funny, classy, feisty ladies, and generally awesome just like you Helen!

    xo
    Martha from No. Cali
    NO on 8!!!!

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  193. My grandma Elaine is still with us. She goes to protests for fun. To say that I am proud of her is an understatement.

    I am thrilled she will witness history being made today.

    I hope I will always make her proud.

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  194. I was blessed w/having got to know both my grandmothers….they are both gone for several yrs now but they (and my grandfathers) stand tall in my memories.

    My maternal grandmother lived on a farm in New Athens, Illinois and looking back I think she at times was v. depressed….but she showed her love for me by making me doll clothes for my dolls. She let me help her feed the cats who stayed in the ‘chicken house ‘ (they didn’t have chickens anymore when I was about 6 yrs old). One particular funny thing I remember is her sitting on the toliet with the door open eating a cookie. She laughed at me and said “Eating cookies on the toliet” and laughed! She loved to do crossword puzzles and read me the funnies in the newspaper. That farm holds many fond memories for me…..and that big red brick house they lived in on the end of a dirt road, that property is my ‘dream home’ always. They had 2 dogs, Tiny and Tippy I remember….and me and my grandfather fishing, he letting me ride his sitting lawn mower for fun, my beautiful lst bicycle on the top of hay lofts. I had a very good life. My grandparents both ended up in nursing homes the end of their lives and lived into their 90s. My grandmother was never the same, I don’t think , after my grandfather died. Alone in the nursing home she withered away. She was ready to die, I think. What kind of life is it when there is nothing to look forward to and everything big and wonderful in your life is behind you?

    My other grandmother (dad’s mom) was more of an adventurous spirit. She loved to quilt and rearrange /decorate her living room. And she loved cats, esp her one beloved cat, Patches (and now I have a cat I named after her cat). When she wasn’t being attentive to her quilts or her cat she loved to go out hiking/walking. She would sometimes push me and my sister in a wheelbarrow. She LOVED the color , orange. She lived in Vermont and her house backed into the woods. They had the lst dog I ever fell in love with named Bruno who loved to shake hands with everyone. I was heartbroken when I found out she had him put to sleep. I was also heartbroken looking back when she ended up being placed in a nursing home , no longer able to be managed at home (she lived w/my mom and dad for a time) …ALZHEIMERS. A very cruel illness.

    I am a grandmother now myself..to a 2 yr old boy we call JJ. I hope he loves/regards me w/the same feelings of fondness and warmth. He better! I have a bank account started for him and I hope he finds success, happiness and financial independance in this struggling world.

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  195. Whenever I smell Ginger Ale I am transported back to my Grandma’s kitchen surrounded by her antiques. We loved to let the bubbles fizz up and break on our faces. I miss her beautiful blue eyes, bright white hair, and constant smile.

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  196. Well, my maternal grandmother and I had a contentious relationship. We are/were both pretty bullheaded and opinionated in our own ways. But one thing I can say is that she instilled a love of classical music to me at an early age. Not that I took to it right away, mind you!! Most holidays were spent at her home and all the family would be wedged into beds, couches, extra space – and always in the morning – she was an early riser – she’d try to rouse us all be playing Mozart or Beethoven or Schubert at a decibal that would have woken the dead. Oooooh we hated that and rebeled by refusing to get up – which only made her play it louder! It wasn’t till my early twenties that I fell in love with the classics but I knew that the love affair had started early thanks to grandma Meola – I just never wanted to admit it. She passed away in ’95 but I often have dreams of her and I debating the latest controversies of the day but always ending with grins of love and respect. Thankyou for your blog.

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  197. To help you to understand more about those “old fashion ways” both my Grandmothers would be well over a hundred now if they were still alive today, so they were quite old when I (now 45) was being “raised in her fashion”

    As a free spirited child of the sixties & seventies they were in their seventies and we all know seventy then ain’t like being seventy now!

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  198. I first traveled, as a young child in Birmingham, Alabama, in the company of my maternal grandmother. She was a frail, stooped, practical, determined woman, who lived on the same street as my parents. Several of her eight children lived close by, and for years we grandchildren were required to take turns staying overnight with her. It was in the late 1940s and early 50s that I traveled in her company during those overnights.

    The best memories are from winter, when we would sit in the dark in front of a coal fire in the grate, the only light coming from the low flames and from the AM radio dial. I lay on my stomach slowly turning the dial, listening to each faraway station in turn, listening through big band music that originated in New York City or on the west coast, to country music from the border blasters just over in Mexico, to symphony orchestra concerts from Chicago and Cleveland and other cities, to anything with enough of a signal to hear its call letters and point of origin. She would just be watching the fire and indulging my ‘channel-surfing’, broken by periods with the nut bowl or with her peeling oranges and back-handing the peels into the fire, or handing me an orange with a peppermint stick straw stuck into a hole in the stem end.

    She gave me life from two generations back, and she gave me the world, wrapped up in love, the faint odor of coal smoke, and the sizzling and snappy odor of orange zest crackling on the fire.

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  199. We call my grandmother Dedo (and her mother was Dedo the Great) and she is the most amazingly crazy women I have ever known. We’ve never lived in the same town but we always manage to spend a few fun days together every few months. When I was a kid (not all that long ago) she taught me how to jitter bug in her kitchen and when I got a trampoline for my 10th birthday she was the first one outside jumping on it with me. When I was 16 she tried to have a “sex talk” with me and was more than a little surprised that I knew everything already and could answer some of the things she didn’t know! I used to dread ending up like my mother, but now that I see that my mom is just like Dedo, I don’t mind so much anymore.

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  200. This is such an incredible idea, thank you Margaret and Helen.

    My grandma lived next door or down the street my whole life. She let us stay all night almost every weekend. I am lucky, because I have so many good memories of her, plus I am now living in the house she lived in most of her adult life.

    It’s hard to pick out a favorite memory, so I’ll just tell you all that my grandma was an awesome cook. She baked the most amazing cookies and at Christmas everyone wanted plates of Grandma’s cookies for their dinner guests.

    Another cooking memory I have of my Grandma is the time she let me help her make noodles from scratch. We hung them over every chair in the house to dry.

    Rest in Peace, Toots. You did an awesome job.

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  201. My grandma, Maud Patmore Stannard, lived a robust 102 years. She was my biggest fan and champion. If I’d been an axe murderer she probably would have told me what a lovely and smart axe murder I was. My favorite memory of Grandma was when I discovered a black widow spider under the piano in my bedroom. Though Grandma was as terrified of spiders as I, she got down on her hands and knees and killed that spider for me. She was 92 years-old and I was 21. I miss you, Grandma.

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  202. My Christian grandma made sure I knew my roots, my ancestors, 3 who came over on the Mayflower. She grounded me. My Jewish grandma loved to prepare traditional meals for us, and play cards with us, and was affectionate and laughed a lot. I miss them.

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  203. Unfortunately I didn’t know either of my grandmothers well because they lived quite far away and my parents were both the youngest by many years so they were quite elderly when I was old enough to remember things. However, both my parents and my in-laws live close to us and my son loves them all and spends lots of time with them. I am so glad he has the chance to be doted on by grandparents and even though I have some issues with my in-laws I get past them every time I see how happy my son is when they visit or we visit them. I hope he will grow up with warm memories of his time with his grandparents on both sides.

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  204. My heritage like Obama’s is a complex one, my father’s mother was white/Indian. I guess because she did not raise my father I never really bonded with her in fact I did not meet her until I was about 10 or so, so I never really bonded with her though she moved in with us at this time because she was blind and it was my responsibility to help care for her physical needs. I was always good to her, but we never quite bonded the way my mother’s mama and I did.

    Now my Black grandmother, my mother’s was strick in raising her children, grands included, but she was so very loving, even when she spanked your behind it was done with such love and compassion. She was such a force in my life. With her in our home and me being left in her daily care she was on a mission to “raise me in the ole fashion way” it was almost like being in boot-camp. I was the baby girl of the family of seven other children so so much of my care was done by EVERYBODY else, I was somewhat a tomboy and carefree, It was her mission to raise me a “lady” of ‘HER DAY’ which meant cleaning, cooking and proper “lady like manners” and such, even offering me her social security checks if I would “just be a lady” well I never got one of those checks, never seemed to care much about her old fashion ways of doing things, until I decided to marry at the age of 20. Now I wish I had paid more attention, I know my husband does as well.

    I heard “just be Lady” so much that I hate the word lady, wherever I am even if I hear the greetings “Ladies and Gentlemen” I clinch feeling like my grand is still chastising me for not crossing my legs or something. Well I never quite learned the manners of “a lady” or should I say they don’t come as natural for me as they do others, I try as long as it does not prevent me from enjoying myself and others.

    Though I flunked boot-camp what I have taken from my Grand is being a good person and a strong woman.

    Lady I may not be, but I’m a damn strong, woman!

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  205. Helen, you should put all of these Grandma stories in book form, and send it to Barack and Michelle Obama in memory of his beloved “Toot”. I believe it would give him great solace and comfort to see these many stories and messages of good will from the people of this country. I know it warms MY heart, for sure.

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  206. Was just thinking about the incredible raspberry jam my grandmother made the other day.

    Grandparents are missed.

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  207. I used to love to go spend the night at my Grandma’s when I was little. We’d watch Lawrence Welk and Wonderful World of Disney and she’d always make me vanilla pudding on the stove. I used to love the skim on the top…I still do to this day! That and stale mini marshmallows.
    I lost her years ago to Alhzeimer’s…then a few years later to Heaven. I owe her a big thanks for her pie-making gene…I’m the only one in the family who got it!
    I want to say a special prayer for Senator Obama’s grandma today. Thank you for giving us this inspirational man who, if given the chance, will pull us out of the dark and into the light. I’m sure you’re beaming with pride and lighting up Heaven.

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  208. My paternal Grandmother was someone that I didn’t get to visit very often, but I always enjoyed it. She was so adorable. I used to like Corn Flakes for breakfast, so she would make sure that she always had a box for me… then she would toast them before she put them in the bowl so that they wouldn’t get soggy too soon. I always thought that was so sweet. That’s one of my favorite memories about Gma H.

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  209. We called my grandmother Mum, and she was a funny and charming English lady. She would visit us in hot Southern California summers and take us for ice cream. She always kept tissues in her sleeve and ate everything with a knife and fork (even hamburgers). What a lovely woman.

    Thanks for helping me remember her today Helen.

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  210. I’m thrilled to find this. My grandma Gladys, would have gotten along with these ladies just swell!

    http://gingereebs.wordpress.com/2008/10/26/things-i-learned-from-my-grandmother/

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  211. My grandmother used to let us eat Fig Newtons on her nice china in the playhouse.

    I didn’t know my other grandmother, but I had a wonderful great aunt who was kind and generous and spoke her mind. Your blog reminds me of her.

    Thanks for posting and making me laugh everyday.

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  212. My dad’s mom was a tall woman and a complete hoot. The rinse she used on her hair left it a subtle shade of pink. She baked biscuits without measuring and never had more or less than she needed to fill her biscuit pan. She once reached for her seat belt in my mom’s car and instead grabbed the seat adjuster. All of a sudden, she was laying in my lap (I was in the back seat behind her). All we could do was laugh.

    My mom’s mom is 85 and is still so young in so many ways — mostly when she’s playing with my boys. She’s always been tough, but she’s always loved me with all of her heart. I hope she’s around for a long time. She’s a great great grandmother, just as she was always a wonderful grandmother.

    I felt so sad for Barack when I heard of his grandmother’s passing. She was so close to seeing (hopefully) him achieve his dream. Thankfully she was able to witness his achievement of his other dreams — marrying a beautiful woman and bringing precious children into this world.

    Thanks Helen. You’ve made me cry, but that’s a good thing.

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  213. My grandmother was born in Berlin, Germany in 1902. She lived through 2 world wars in one of the most bombed cities in Europe. She sent her 4 daughters to Austria and Switzerland to keep them safe, sometimes for months at a time. Later she was a social judge in her district, doling out assistance to those in need. She was intensely intelligent, respected by her peers and community, interested in social justice, inspirational and generous.

    Every week we waited to receive her lovingly tied packages from Berlin. I still marvel at her care. Filled with candy and household items and real rubber, glossy balls that bounced to high heaven. It was pretty well agreed that I was her favorite because she liked my spunk. We shared a determined nature and a strong sense of self.

    My grandmother was a survivor and a woman who engaged in life–even when it included the loss of nearly every male she loved through two wars–she lived with vigor and compassion at the core of her ethic. She didn’t teach me home crafts or how to bake a pie (I kind of miss that now), but she taught me to value independence. She really WAS a maverick, a very liberated woman.

    She died in 1983. I miss her strong German voice and her extraordinary energy, and the way she let me know, in myriad ways, that she thought I was special and expected something big from me.

    My mother says she sees a lot of my grandmother in me … this makes me very proud.

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  214. My Mimi – my grandmother on my father’s side – has always been the one I attributed my happiest childhood memories. She and my grandfather had a few hundred acre farm and lived outside the small town of Vernon, Texas. I stayed with them all summer one year and had the best memories of her house. I laid awake at night in the breezeway listening to the trains go by in the distance (had to go to bed early since farmers get up so early). I would put on one of the bonnets she made and go out to the chicken coop to gather the fresh eggs. Later in the day we would make homemade loaves of bread and I got to make special loaves my size – about 4 inches long – and my grandfather would try to steal my loaves of bread before they cooled completely!
    She was such a fun and fiesty person and I think that is what allowed her to stay so sharp mentally up until she passed away in September 2001 – just 3 months shy of her 96th birthday – Christmas day.
    I can only imagine how the Obama family must be coping with their loss of an equally loved grandmother – with a fiesty name like Toot. My thoughts and prayers are with their family.

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  215. I miss so many things. I miss her humming while crocheting; I miss the $5 birthday checks; I even miss her bad driving. I also miss her sister Betty, my great aunt and her best friend. They both passed away too early but now have each other again.

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  216. Helen,
    Thank you for the posts – they have been my favorite part of the election season.
    I was fortunate to have two of the most wonderful grandparents on the planet! My time with them shaped me personally and professionally in ways they never could have imagined. I now work as a social worker serving and protecting older adults and each day I am fortunate to carry the lessons I learned from my grandparents into the homes and situations of my clients. My grandparents shared with me the gifts of their time, wisdom and interest – precious commodities all to often missing in the lives of children. It’s obvious that Sen. Obama was fortunate to have a similar experience with his gradparents.
    May ‘Toot’ watch this day with her heart full of pride at the amazing man she helped to shape and prepare. Thank you, Toot, for sharing him with the world…we are truly grateful.

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  217. Oh Helen,

    You’ve done it again. What a treasure this is. Your post and these comments could/should be a book. I came back today to read more memories and have been laughing and crying.

    It made me remember that when my GaGa Helen died I could not go to the funeral and so sent something to be read – Stanza 6 of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” it ends with these two lines.

    “All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
    And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.”

    This page certainly proves the first one – we’ll all have to wait and see on the second.

    Thank you Helen – Love Jody

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  218. Ah well my mother’s mother, Grandma Sophie, was a young girl when she married Grandpa Benny whose first wife died in childbirth and left him with 4 children. My mom was the 5th and had no idea her mother was not the mother of her brothers and sisters.. not til my mom was ready to marry did her mother tell her the truth. Apparently back then step mothers were considered evil … MY mom told me about Grandma and my aunts/uncles the night before Grandma’s funeral .. I guess Grandma didnt want my sister and I to think her evil either .. tho how anyone could is beyond me. She raised as her own 4 children into adulthood .. and they mourned her as if she were their birth mother ..

    thanks for letting me share.

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  219. My maternal grandmother, Gram, made amazing apple pies, knitted us mittens and hats (one hat she did three time: first too big, second too small, then just right), and bought us Reader’s Digest books we never read but that made he so happy (she was helping us be educated!) that I asked my mom to never tell her not to get them. When anyone she loved was mad or sad, she’s say “you seem tired dear.” Anger was not a comfy thing for her.

    We never doubted how much she loved us, no matter what.

    My paternal grandmother helped us break all the niggling little rules parents have for kids; as soon as we’d be dropped off at her house, she’d make us popcorn and jaw-achingly-sweet perfect-because-she-made-it peanut butter fudge, turn on the soaps for us to watch, and we’d snuggle up on the sofa.

    I still have that fudge recipe memorized.

    I miss them both.

    Congratulations, Ms. Dunham, on raising such an amazing person.

    Thank you, Helen, for giving us space to remember our own grandmothers.

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  220. I wasn’t fortunate enough to have known either of my grandmothers so when my kids were little I made sure they were close to theirs. And I have been thrilled to have an extra special relationship with my only grandson (who’s voting for the first time today!!! Yippee!) – we are two peas in a pod and each other’s favorite person in the whole world!!

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  221. God, Helen, you make us all feel so good. Thank you for bringing this community together, for keeping us focused on the right things. You really are someone special. You have made an insane period just awesome, so much fun, and so positive!

    A BIG HUG TO HELEN and MARGARET!!!
    XOXOXOXO

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  222. My grandma Mae was a class act. She was definitely of the “old school” school, in the sense that she cooked everyday and baked refrigerator and chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies for us when we would see her. But, she was, in fact, quite the modern woman. She was an expert seamstress and was a designer for Vogue patterns before she married my grandfather. She took French style cooking courses and was a meticulous cook. She married when she was in her thirties, a rarity for her generation.

    But of all of the wonderful things she produced, from the expertly tailored clothing she made for herself and her children, to her yummy desserts and delicious dinners, she took care of herself.

    When my grandfather passed away, Mae decided to kick it into high gear and she woke up each morning and rode her stationary bike. She watched what she ate and kept herself in great shape. She dressed well and was a real head turner. She stayed active in her community with her church. She did not let herself go, she did not slow down, she did not give up on herself or her life. She lived her life well until she fell ill.

    Mae, like Toots, helped to raise one of her grandsons.

    Today, I remember my grandmother and pay tribute to Toots, the woman who helped to shape one of the most inspirational, motivating people in the history of the United States of America, Barack Obama. Thank you for giving us Barack.

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  223. I had two fabulous grandmothers, both very different but still kind, loving and great mentors and cheerleaders. My Puerto Rican grandmother loved to make me chicken noodle soup and ham sandwiches and watch soap operas, Mary Tyler Moore and Bob Newhart with me. My Italian grandmother used to play cards with me, tell me stories about her life, teach me the importance of family and make me laugh. Two different souls who loved me very much and who I miss to this day. My PR grandmother died 23 years ago, my Italian gm died just 2 years ago. You never outgrow your grandmother’s love.

    Thank you Helen and Margaret for letting me share that. Best to you both. You are an inspiration to me.

    BTW, I do believe that Madelyn Dunham will see the outcome of her grandson’s bid for the presidency. Hopefully, she’ll be cheering in heaven tonight!

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  224. RIP Toot

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  225. My grandma died a dozen years ago and I miss her more and more as I get older. Born in 1904, she never finished grade school, leaving to work in a bridal salon as a seamstress. She could sew the finest seam and taught us all to embroider and create with our hands. I think of her with every quilt I make. She wasn’t much of a cook but some of her Bohemian specialities are staples for her family–her Bohemian spaghetti, Bohemian chop suey, hoska, peach dumplings and garlic stuffing for the turkey. Now we are passing them on to younger generations. She later worked in a dress shop for over 50 years so we always had great wardrobes and a lot of coats growing up. Grandma could sell you anything. She worked all her life, retiring at 83 and setting a wonderful strong example for her daughter, granddaughters and great-granddaughters. She always had her own money and was really proud of her ability to buy things for the house or for us. She was never very demonstrative but expressed her love for her family in the many things she did for them, in service and in hard work and in duty. Fulfilling your responsibilities, stepping up, being the bedrock of a family–all things she lived and taught us. Her sense of humor tended to the slapstick. She never saw someone slip on a banana peel that she didn’t laugh. It used to embarass us. As I age, I understand a little better the freedom to react honestly and with gusto to life’s occurrences. There’s another lesson she taught us. She was a great lady.

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  226. A lot of the memories of my grandma (“nihmaw”) center around food. She made the best biscuits and fried apple pies. I have lots of memories of playing Dominoes and Rook. the card game with her. She could never make it through a game without pouting about how “bad” her “hands” were, even though they weren’t that bad. But she was good natured about it. My brothers, cousins and I could poke fun at her. When we were dealt a “bad” hand, we would stomp our feet and whine – I’ve been dealt a”nihmaw” hand. She died the year my oldest son, who is now 11, was born. She passed away when he was 7 months. I have a sweet picture of her bouncing him on her knee, about a month before she died.

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  227. I called my grandma (Maternal side) Lalla. She used to gather all the kids in the family around her and tell us old Moroccan fables. I would always try to be closer to her than the rest of my cousins. She always had sticky candy in her purse and even as I reached 20 years of age, she would still ask me to bring her her purse and give me a candy or piece of chocolate.
    She was a great story teller and I miss her bunches. She passed away on February 14, 2006. I didn’t get to be at her funeral. But I called everyday to share grief and memories with the rest of the family for the 2 weeks that followed. People whom none of the family members knew showed up at her funeral and people, her own children were laughing throughout the ceremony. She left too many good memories in their heart for them to spend the whole time crying. She had been in bed for 8 months before she passed away at 86 due to a stroke, so everyone was pretty much prepared.
    I miss her tremendously and wish I could tell her just how much I love her.

    My other grandma, on my dad’s side is still alive. I love her to death too. She whispers prayers and blessings to her grandchildren whenever she sees us. She’s also 87! A gem!

    I miss both of them!

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  228. And, yes, everyone please vote.

    Yes we can.

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  229. When I was little, my grandma used to make me McDonalds “picnics” where she’d spread out a towel in front of the TV and let me eat my McNuggets there.

    I don’t know that anything before or since makes me so happy 🙂

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  230. My maternal grandmother, the one everyone says I look like and who we called Obaachan (“grandmother” in Japanese), died almost 3 years ago. I didn’t see nearly enough of her, as she lived in Japan and I live in the US. Even though I hadn’t seen her in years, I felt much closer to her than my paternal grandmother. Maybe because everyone says that I resemble her most closely out of anyone else in the family.

    Since most of the time I spent with her was when I was under the age of 10, I have just snippets of memories. We had a bit of a language barrier as she did not know pretty much any English and I have always been too shy to speak Japanese (though I understand it quite well). But I remember she taught me how to fold socks when she came to visit once and we would fold the laundry together. And the one time I went to Japan, we all went to an onsen in Hokkaido and I got very ill, and she stayed with me all day. She was very gentle, quiet, always ready with a hug. I did not like to be touched much when I was a child (still don’t), but my parents said I would always go to her for a cuddle.

    As for my paternal grandmother, who is still alive, while I’m not close to her, I spent a lot of time at her house in the summers. She had a nice little garden that I would help her with and an old orange tree.

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  231. Good morning Margaret~
    First off Go Obama!!!

    second, thank you for reminding us how precious
    our Grandmothers are. My Great-Grandmother
    patiently held my hand as she led me to gather eggs from her chickens. She was a beautiful and proud woman who was kind and patient with all her Great-Grandkids. I wear her promise ring that my Great-Grandfather gave her.

    Both my Grandmas on my mother and my fathers side of the family were passionate woman. They always reminded me that the sky was the limit. Thank you Grandmas!

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  232. My Grandmae, an Irish matriarch who died in 1974, was a true Californian. When evacuated by one of L.A.’s many canyon fires she left the house with a hard-boiled egg and one tea bag. During the years we laughed at that memory and teased her but she always replied that those two things were all you needed to be happy away from home. To this day I always travel with my own tea bags….the eggs are another problem all together 🙂 Happy Election Day and here’s to grandmothers everywhere!!

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  233. My Grandmae, an Irish matriarch who died in 1974, was a true Californian. When evacuated by one of L.A.’s many canyon fires she left the house with a hard-boiled egg and one tea bag. During the years we laughed at that memory and teased her but she always replied that those two things were all you needed to be happy away from home. To this day I always travel with my own tea bags….the eggs are another problem all together 🙂 Happy Election Day and here’s to grandmothers everywhere!!

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  234. My Grandmother used to let me put on her fancy dresses and shoes…she let me parade around her house like a queen. Then, she would bring me butter cookies (Salerno…with the hole in the middle) and I would wear them on my fingers and eat them. She was so sweet and frail…she always smelled like violets.

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  235. My grandmother died when I was very young, so I have few memories of her. I do remember that she potty trained me because I refused to do it for my mother. She also taught me how to tie my shoes. She also made amazing sticky buns and cinnamon rolls and could make a dress without a pattern. I wish she’d stuck around longer so I could have known her better.

    The passing of “Toot” has made me sadder than I could have imagined. I had so hoped that she would live to see her grandson, the man she helped to shape into such a fine person, elected President of the United States.

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  236. Unfortunately I never met either of my grandmothers; my parents married late in life and I was born when my mother was 39 and my father 56. But I was lucky enough to grow up in a great neighborhood in North Jersey, where I was able to “share” other people’s grandmothers.

    Most memorable was Nana, Mrs. Flynn’s mother. Her name was Catherine Doherty and she was the little old Irish immigrant with hundreds of stories to entertain me for hours on end every summer day. I attribute my love of history to her; listening to her stories every day made me wonder what it was like to live in her times, when she was first married in Jersey City.

    We sat beneath the lilac trees in Mr & Mrs Flynn’s yard and I listened to everything she wanted to say on any given day. I was so young, maybe she was slowly going senile, but I didn’t notice or care. Each story was lovely and I’ll never forget her. She died in either 1988 or 1989, but her memory is still alive as if she had been my own mother.

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  237. Her name was Belle.
    She was my Bubbie.
    She was tiny.
    She drove a big white car.
    She liked breadsticks.
    She made the best brisket.
    She had a bowl of coffee nips on the table in her living room.
    She never wore slacks, always dresses.
    She died in 1970 when I was 12.
    I still remember her face.

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  238. My Grandma Johnnye was the perfect grandma! I was one of 9 grandchildren but she always knew the perfect thing to get for me. She is the one who would buy me that favorite outfit, the Mrs. Beasley doll or the white go-go boots back in the 60’s. Maybe it was just because it came from her. We were the best of pals. I would go to work with her at the news stand in a small town in Kentucky. She would send me next door to the Ben Franklin 5&10 to get a bag of real jelly beans for us to share.

    When she died I made one last trip to the Ben Franklin and got a pound of jelly beans to put in her coffin to take with her. At her funeral, her next door neighbor told me I was her favorite – I never knew! That was the kind of grandma she was – the best.

    I still miss her. I felt so bad for Obama yesterday but maybe his grandmother knew it would all work out ok and that she could go on home – I sure hope so.

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  239. My Grandma was the best ever. She always wore a hint of cheek color, lipstick, earrings and beads – even if she was just in her house dress.

    She was strong, smart, opinionated, tough, compassionate and loving, especially towards the grandkids.

    We celebrated her last Christmas for over 20 years, but she managed to out live almost every family member from her generation.

    I remember her laugh, her hugs, and the scent of her perfume.

    I miss her every single day for the past 36 years.

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  240. My memere passed away several years after I moved to Washington, but the summer before I moved, she offer to pay me $100 to help clean out her kitchen cabinets. For a college graduate with no prospects, that is sweet money.

    For a week, I spent every day in her kitchen where I had spent so many years before, except this time the conversation was different. In seven days she told me almost her entire life story. How it was growing up in Lowell, MA where we were from, how she met my grandfather and the sadness she felt when he went off to war, the joy she felt from having her children and still working (imagine that in the 50’s!), and how she felt her life had been forever blessed by her two grandchildren.

    I will never forget those days in her kitchen, and seem to miss her more with each passing day. I am getting ready to walk down the aisle in a few short weeks and hope she can add my wedding to her list of favorite memories, as I know she will be with me on that day.

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  241. My Grandma on my Dad’s side made the best chili I’ve ever had. I used to help her with crossword puzzles and eat caramels when I visited. She would always look for words that she thought I might get and point them out to me, even though she could whip through crosswords like a maniac.

    My Grandma on my Mom’s side lives in a house behind my parents and still walks two miles a day and does sit ups. She and I would spend hours doing puzzles when I would visit, and still do at the holidays.

    Both of my Grandmas were/are strong, smart, opinionated women who passed that trait down to kids and grandkids. I always look forward to conversations at Thanksgiving because of it!

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  242. My Grandma made the best scrambled eggs in the world! She made me scrambled egg sandwiches once a week for almost 15 years, and they were always the same perfect, delicious, scrambled eggs. There was this certain something about them, and try as I might, I can’t reproduce them. Every single time I make them, I tweak my method a little, adding a little more or less salt or butter or milk or pepper…using different heat, different cooking times…trying to make them just like hers. I even use her egg pan to make them, which I hide in a secret spot in the kitchen so no one uses it for anything else.

    She always used to say, “They can’t be that good Mandy! They’re just scrambled eggs!” But they WERE that good. I hope she knew how much I appreciated her. I told her often, but I don’t think she really KNEW.

    A few weeks ago, I had a dream that I was at her house and that she made me scrambled eggs. That night, I made them for dinner, and they were close, but not quite hers. I will never be able to make hers. I would give anything to taste them again.

    lol, and now I’m crying! I was so close with both of my grandparents, and I lived within close walking distance of them my whole life, so I got to spend a lot of time with them. I have SO MANY great memories of them, but I wanted to share this one because it’s similar to your cinnamon roll story.

    By the way, I love your blog! I’ve been reading for a while but have never commented!

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  243. I am home with a horrific virus and so I am reading carefully about everyones’ grandma. So much love. In the Grandma Zone I have gone down to the little fire station in the woods to vote-Obama.All the memories are in my heart and I feel that we are raising good “sparks”.Helen and Margaret you have made this important day even richer. Thanks.

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  244. Regretfully, I never met any of my grandparents. Actually, my father was like a grandparent, in that he was 53 when I was born. I was an only child, and my mother died when I was three and a half.
    Though I did not experience the loss of my grandmother, I did experience the loss of parents.
    My heart goes out to Barack Obama as well as my prayers.

    I have enjoyed your blogs. I hope Senator, and hopefully President Obama had a chance to see them!

    Peace and Love,

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  245. I bought one of your T-Shirts for MY grandmother!!! She’ll love it!!

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  246. My Grandmother knitted and crocheted while activity and conversations took place around her. I noticed my mother often spoke in a rude or dismissive manner as if my grandmother wasn’t even in the room, and even as a small child I recall wondering how she could be so lacking in respect toward my grandmother. My Nanna has been gone for more than 20 years, but she taught me by example that quiet dignity allows one to persevere in the face of those who are mean and nasty in showing their own insecurities. I miss my Nanna, and I am sorry for my mother that she never developed an appreciation for a woman so different from herself.

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  247. I had 2 of the best grandams EVER! One I lost when I was 10 but to this day I still tell stories about her.She left such a big impression on my life The strongest memory is that though she had a hard life I never heard her complain and I never even once heard her say a bad or cross word about anyone. She always found something nice to say. My other grandma took my mom and us 3 kids into her home to live, after my mom & dad split up. We lived with her for 6 years til mom remarried. She was fun, strict, creative, independant, a perfect mix. I only hope that one day when I get to be a grandma I can be half as good at it as they were.God Bless all Grandmas!

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  248. I had the great pleasure of living with my beloved maternal grandma during the last five years of her life. I was 17 when I moved in with her and my declining grandfather. They took me in after my father died. What a wonderful opportunity!

    Grandma taught me how to make pie crust and raspberry jam and how to play a mean game of solitaire. When the local PBS station showed the movie “Birth of a Nation” she told me how she remembered when it was released in the theater.

    When I was a young teenager we would travel by car every summer to visit her (from Florida to Ohio). Gramda would always have homemade donuts ready for breakfast and fresh-baked cookies to snack on. She would dress up in her Sunday best (complete with hat and gloves) to take me downtown for a day of shopping and lunch, girls only. I felt so very special.

    And when I was really little, I would hop up into her lap and sit while she brushed my long hair ever so softly.

    I still miss her.

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  249. I have been very lucky in that I grew up in the same town as both my grandmothers and that I got to know them even better as an adult. My paternal grandmother passed away two years ago at 92 and my maternal grandmother is still alive and kicking at 94.

    They are very different women but both have given me so much over the years. I am very grateful to them both and love them so much. My thoughts are with Barack and his family.

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  250. My Grandma T taught me to crochet at the age of 8. She was not an outwardly warm person, but that applied to her life in general not just her interaction with me. She never said it out loud but a I knew even then that she was pleased that I could pick up this skill that she loved so well. When we would visit her and I would bring my current project, she glowed in her own way.

    Life is funny because the skills that I took from Grandma T I shared with my Grandma K and I taught her to crochet, therefore we bonded even more because of it. God must of tied the three of us all together in one giant yarn bow!

    Grandma T died when I was in high school and Grandpa T 40 days later. I know they are with me.

    Grandma K is very ill in a rehab hospital unable to move with a contagious infection and hooked up to a breathing machine in her throat. I pray every day that she finds peace.

    BTW, your blog has been great and I a so glad that you have shared your thoughts!

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  251. My first comment here, but I had to write. I love all THREE of my grandmas, but the one that stands out when some says Grandmother is my maternal grandmother. My fondest memory from childhood with her is sitting on her lap listening to her tell me a story about a bluebird that comes to visit a little girl. Now every Mothers day I search high and low till I find a card with a bluebird on it. She is nearing her time and presently I can not wrap my head around the possibility. I am thankful that she got to meet my son. Someday I hope to walk the breast cancer 3 day, for her ability to beat it.

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  252. I remember staying with my Mama and she would lay in bed with me and we’d say “Now I lay me down to sleep….” I can still smell her cold cream and hear her voice.

    It’s probably a good thing she’s not around anymore. She would be 108 and a McCain supporter.

    😉

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  253. When we were really little, my grandma use to keep candy in her purse for us…and she made the best Swedish coffee cake and meatballs.

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  254. My first word was Baba (in Polish, Babcia, pronouced Bab-cha, is how we Polaks say grandma).
    My parents never told her that they were pregnant with me, so when she came for a visit from the Motherland, she was presented with a “doll” – me! All swaddled up. Apparently she didnt realize I was her next grandson until I yawned and she also dropped me screaming to my parents “YOU HAD ANOTHER ONE AND DIDNT EVEN TELL ME YOU WERE PREGNANT!” as the laughed themselves silly that Christmas.

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  255. My Grandma past last year in October. She was the glue that held the family together and my cornerstone. She was the only one in the family other than me who liked to reading. I miss talking books with her.

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  256. It’s so sad that Barack’s Grandmother isn’t here to see him win. I’m glad he got to see her one last time, while she was still mentally there.

    My Grandmother Lil was wonderful woman. I always loved being around her. I loved talking with my Grandma, and I miss her deeply even now, some 18 years since she’s passed (at 90!). There are still things I want to ask her, stories I want to hear from her and things I want to share with her. I’m amazed at the things she saw change in every day life, and the things she adapted to. She saw women get the vote, communication go from simple phones & radios to cell phones, television and computers! She loved the TV’s remote controll and even used ATMs! My Grandma Lil was an amazing woman.

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  257. My grandma, more than anyone else in my life, taught me not to give a damn what anyone else thought of her. She was an independant woman who pretty much single handedly raised her 3 girls (she was widowed FOUR TIMES, then then kicked the last bum out at the good old age of 68). She had an old ouija board that she used as a tray to pay her bills and eat her meals in front of the TV. She taught me to crochet, and 30 years later I consider my love of knitting a tribute to her.

    She was the one I called when my mom was being mean and unfair. She was the one who let me stay up late to watch innapropriate tv. She was the one who took me to get my ears pierced when my mom said no. I just realized it, but my mom has now taken up her torch, encouraging my daughters to embrace their spirit and go against my wishes. What a great gift!

    And I hate to disagree, but SHE made the best cinnamon rolls. My parents have been divorced for 18 years and do not speak, but my mom still makes my dad a batch every Christmas, then sneaks them into my bag to give to my dad when his wife isn’t looking.

    Thank you for this reminder to remember her. Edith Boston would be very, very, very excited to see this day.

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  258. Memories flooding back,

    Grandma Agnes is remembered for her horrible cooking! LOL We were always amazed by her 1 inch tall cakes and hamburger patties the size of silver dollars.

    She was frugal to the bone and lived a very hard life until her later years. As I look back now I have such respect and admiration for her.

    We used to laugh and have fun with her xmas presents. When you were single the girls got knee high stockings and the boys got sox. When you got married you received a horrible box of chocolates. It was tradition.

    She died sometime ago but I have to say I really miss getting that horrible box of chocolates.

    My Grandmother Mildred raised 15 children! I know scary and amazing to think about that. She was formidable and you did not want to get on her bad side.

    I watched as she out lived over half of her children. She was incredibly strong and just lived her life by what was handed to her.

    I miss them both and really wish they were still around to garner some of the widom I know they both had.

    Thank for the trip down memory lane.

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  259. My grandma made the best fried chicken. She had a stove that was propane gas on one side and a wood stove on the other. She always cooked the chicken on the wood burning side.

    I learned a lot about the right way to live from her. She only got $140 a month in Social Security but she managed. Obviously, she knew how to stretch her moneyand she talked about making wise choices when you spend. When she passed away her kids were surprised to find that she had a savings account. Each month she found a way to put a few dollars into that account.

    I thought of her when I voted this morning. She didn’t get the right to vote until she was in her late 20’s. She had no tolerance for any of her granddaughters saying they weren’t going to vote.

    I miss you grandma.

    Thanks for your great posts!

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  260. I love the smell of my nana’s home. And she made the best fudge in the world. I have never found anything that comes close to hers. I miss my nana!!

    Obama ’08

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  261. My mother’s mother died when my mother was 13. My father’s mother died when I was 13. Both were taken much too soon.

    The grandmother I had the privilege to know was wonderful. She adored us and was never critical. And she was always fun and funny.

    She would do anything to make us laugh. Like the Thanksgiving she declared that turkey was her all-time favorite food. We challenged her to eat some a la mode. And she did!! A slice of white meat with a scoop of vanilla. And we just laughed and laughed.

    I still miss you, Nanny!!

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  262. My mom was young and struggling when I was born so I went to live with my grandmother went I was 6 months old until I turned five years old. My grandmother lived an a differnt island from my mom. Every hoilday summer or winter after age five was spent at my granny’s house.

    She welcomed all her grandkids in the summertime, but I always slept in the same bed with her. She was a midwife and gues what so am I.

    She was the best cook and would bake bread twice a week. I still think freshbaked bread and butter should be a meal.

    She was a pillar in her community and always saw the best in everyone. I came to america to college but I made it my business to go home every year to see and spend time with her.

    I rememeber when she started “going down” my dad would call me to say how she was doing and when she started asking for me I left my jod and when home to see about her. I am glad I was able to say good bye.

    I am so Glad Barack got to do the same because while it hurts to lose one of your pillars you are able to rejoice in time well spent and the knowlege that she went in peace and be satisfied with that.

    I’m sorry this was so long…

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  263. My Grandma died this year, in May. My husband was home on leave from Iraq and we were in the mountains vacationing when I got the call from my mom. I wasn’t surprised, though. When I saw her before we left to see my husband, I just knew I wouldn’t be seeing her again. She hadn’t been herself for a long time. Used to be, she would be grouchy and surly with all us adults but when ever she saw my baby boy, she would light up with smiles. That last time, she didn’t even seem to recognize him. 😦 I left her with a little laminated picture of him to keep with her. She held on to it until the very end.

    Grandma always made the best food, but the one thing we can’t seem to replicate is her fried chicken. Colonel Sanders has nothin’ on Grandma. I wish I had asked her what her secret recipe was before she died. She also made awesome snickerdoodle and gumdrop cookies, the flakiest crust pies, and homemade mashed potatoes that you just couldn’t stop eating.

    She had the same hairdo for as long as I can remember. Sort of a mini-fro. A little white & grey poof of permed hair. When we were little, we used to pat her on the head and call it her birdie’s nest.

    I miss my Grandma. But I’m happy to imagine her somewhere beautiful, holding hands with Grandpa and getting after him for watching too much fake wrestling on t.v.

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  264. My grandmother passed away while I was overseas and it’s still hard for me because I didn’t get to say goodbye. I’m so glad that Obama was able to see Toot before she passed. She sounded like an amazing woman and my thoughts are with the Obama family.

    Speaking of amazing women– Helen, God love you! And I do too! You are absolutely and simply wonderful!

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  265. I once caught my grandmother picking perfectly ripe figs off of the tree at her Mother-in-Law’s house in Baytown, Texas and joyously shoveling them into her mouth one after another. She looked like a kid in a candy store. I felt like a spy catching a glimpse of unbridled passion. I’d never seen such an expression of joy on her face. She didn’t (often enough, anyway) give in to such simple pleasures. My grandmother (Eva) is still around for me to talk to, and I hold close and treasure this memory even now, before she is gone.

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  266. My grandma has advanced Alzheimer’s now at 91 years old. It’s hard to see her not remember me and my family, but more recently it was difficult thinking about her and this election.

    In the 1930’s, she was independent young woman who volunteered for the Democratic party at her University in Iowa. Afterwards, she joined the Waves and served in the war. She didn’t marry until she was 32, which was an old maid in those days. But she was gorgeous, smart, and loved to travel. She’s often bragged about modeling in NYC and swimming across the Mississippi. Twice. As she used to tell me, she was just in no hurry to be tied down.

    My grandma has long been a proud liberal democrat and if she knew what was going on now, and how our country is on the eve of real change, she’d be so excited. I miss talking to her about politics and men. Maybe that’s why I am obsessed with your blogs! You remind me a lot of how she was just a few years ago. I really miss her ranting about GW Bush. She could always cheer me up.

    I voted for Barack Obama for my grandma. She’s been fighting and longing for these changes for a long time.

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  267. Grandma Nat– from pennsylvania dutch country. No special stories, just wonderful memories of feeling good when i am with her. She has always just loved us so much.

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  268. My father’s mother died before I was born, and my mother’s mother turned out to be pretty bitter before she packed it in. But my great-grandmother – she’s the one who taught me to ‘hate the sin and love the sinner’ among many other lessons. Not only can’t I imagine my life without her, I can’t imagine the world existing without her. She’s not been in the world since 1972, but she permanently improved it while she was here.

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  269. I did not get to spend much time with my grandmothers, to my great regret. My father’s mother lived a long drive away from us in a rural area and suffered from Alzheimer’s for far too long before she died. But I remember her sweet smile, the birthday cards from her with the five dollar bills, her yummy meatloaf.

    My mother’s mother died long before my parents even met–she had been in her 40s when she gave birth to my mother. My mother to this day mourns her deeply and seldom wanted to speak of her during my childhood. One day when I was in my early 20s, my best friend and I were going through some boxes of photos belonging to my mother when I came across a photo of my grandmother when she was exactly my age. I was stunned to see that I was a complete physical duplicate of her (except for my nose). My mother revealed to me for the first time that my posture, my smile, my voice, my habits of folding my arms when in thought and balling my hands when excited, my innate musical abilities–all identical to those of my grandmother. I suddenly felt her presence in my life. I owe her so much.

    My prayers go out to the Obama family. I am teary at the thought that his “Toot” did not see him elected President.

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  270. My grandmother on my mother’s side was a saint. My grandmother on my father’s side could open a beer bottle with her teeth and crack six pecans in one hand. Awesome.

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  271. My Grandmother on my mother’s side didn’t have any real discernable lips, so any time I see a famous person (like, say, Don Henley) who has that same thin-lipped look I am reminded of her. She lived across the street when I was growing up, and she was a wonderful cook. I still make the chicken stew with dumplings just like she did. I would play cards with her all the time. We would spend all of the holidays there and she was always the person that the whole family would come together around. The last few years Alzheimers stole her memory and eroded her body and her sanity, but I still remember her as she was when she was alive and on the ball, and she was a wonderful grandmother. I miss her greatly. While I’m at it, I also miss my great aunt, her sister-in-law, who was the most truly good person I ever knew. She was like a grandmother to us as well, and was truly generous, selfless and unique. She never married, never had children and so never got to be a grandmother, but she more than proved to us that she would have been excellent at it and I wish she was still with us.

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  272. My gran helped make me who I am. She was very artistic & creative. She loved to draw, sew, bake, and read, and so do I. She died 1 month before my 2nd daughter (who loves to draw & make jewelry) was born, and while my mom, aunts & uncle were squabbling over their inheritance, I was mourning the fact that she would never hold her 2nd great-grandchild. But her last gift to me was a hand-crocheted blanket for the new baby. It meant more to me than anything else I could have gotten from her estate.

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  273. My grandmother used to let me lick the Kaopectate residue from her bottle tops. 🙂

    *m

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  274. My grandmother was an immigrant from the Netherlands, one of seventeen children, and grew up to marry a Dutch Reformed minister. My favorite memory of her is her playing the great Protestant hymns on the piano and teaching me to sing them and love them. Beautiful, gorgeous hymns like “This is my Father’s World” and “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” Thanks for asking.

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  275. My grandmother is also a cinnamon roll maker-extraordinaire, and although she once pronounced that she thought I’d inherited the gift as well, somehow they are never quite the same.

    My favorite memories of my grandmoter are her stories. She worked on an army base during the Second World War, and later was an office worker at a Catholic school (a great favorite with all the nuns for her quick, dry wit), and can sit for hours telling stories. As a lover of stories, that will always be one of the things I treasure most about her, because it lets me see her not just as the older woman she was, but also the little girl, young woman, wife, mother, co-worker, and friend – it makes her more than just a part of my genealogical history.

    And I know she would get a kick out of you and Margaret; she has a computer and has worked at figuring out e-mail to stay in touch with the far-flung friends who can no longer travel as well. All of you ladies prove to me everyday why those are the “golden years.” Thanks for sharing your time with all of us – we mean it. Really.

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  276. […] November 2008 by Charles Merrell I could read these all day. Families are so important to society. They are the truest educators, financiers, […]

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  277. Don Smith – thanks for sharing your story. It’s taken me a while but I’ve almost gotten through all of them. Don’t feel like no one will read your words! I have a feeling that even if there are 1000 answers to their question, Margaret and Helen will read every single one.

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  278. […] November 2008 by Charles Merrell I could read these all day. Good stuff. Family is so important to society. It is the ultimate safety net, the lender […]

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  279. At 59, I am very different from either of my grandmothers. I can’t imagine either of them voting at all, much less voting for a black man in a predominantly black precinct, like I just did, joyously. They were both hard-working but poorly educated women who were married to weak but domineering men. I am a feminist with no children, a retired teacher and school counselor who anticipates a brave and new and better world after today’s election.
    I am writing this because I have been reading your blog for the last few months (my first read was the Sarah Palin Is A Bitch one). I just wanted you to know that I feel tremendous affection for you and wish we could be friends. I live in Alabama, one of the few states where McCain is likely to win, but would already have moved to a blue state were it not for my 82-year-old mother, who lives in another town nearby.
    She, too, is voting for Obama today. I am proud of her.
    Please don’t stop writing after the election is over.

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  280. Where to start!?!

    I’m fortunate to have known both grandmothers and my maternal great grandmother. They were all very, very different from each other – G’grandma was as practical as they come. Paternal grandma as frugal as they come. Maternal grandma as flighty and comically vain as they come.

    My paternal grandma is still alive and not really enjoying being 93. I visited recently and when she knew who I was I told her all about the legacies she was passing along. The one she enjoyed the most was her great grandchildrens’ uninhibited enjoyment of her beef vegetable soup recipe.

    All of my siblings make it. The wonder of it is that there isn’t an actual recipe. We never got a lesson – just a list of ingredients and we’ve all put our own spin to it as well. It takes hours and hours to make and, while once a cheap way to feed a hungry family, costs quite a bit to put together.

    Rutabega. Turnips. Parsnips. Kholrabi. I get a kick from checking out at the grocery store and having the checkout person ask me what everything is!

    Anyway, we all make it and our children LOVE it. It’s a special meal and something about walking through the door and smelling the vegetables simmering away just makes you relax and smile.

    She loves that story. I’ll be happy to tell it and retell it at every visit. And I’ll think of her every single time I make her special soup.

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  281. Hey Helen & Margaret ~ I love your blog, and I’m really looking forward to reading your daily jazz after this madness is over.

    My grandmother passed away when I was relatively young, and having lived far away from her, my memories consist primarily of the short bursts of love you find in those seemingly innocuous visits. We took the time we had for granted, as though death wouldn’t find any of us, but in that regard we were always down-to-earth. She was a woman with an eighth grade education, a widow who raised five children and had eleven grandchildren. The grandchildren now include a doctor and attorney, an air force captain, a banker, a chiropractor, a mother of three, two students seeking their masters degrees, and several who are in or getting ready to go to college. She was a success in life by every measure, but easily most so by the unqualified and unequivocal love she showed for her children and grandchildren.

    My favorite memory of her was how she always had food ready for us. Even as we rolled in to her small town at 1:00 in the morning after a long, long ride through the sightless plains of middle America, she would welcome us as though we arrived just in time for a grand dinner. Candy, turkey, pie, chicken. She always had the works.

    She wasn’t rich in money, but like I said, she was rich in love. I’ll never forget the $5 dairy queen gift certificates she gave my sisters and me for Christmas, or her flying for the first time to visit us in Kentucky, and loving the experience! My dad would try to sass her by voicing mild criticisms of her children, and no matter how obvious it was that he was trying to get under her skin, she would loudly protest in their defense.

    I miss her terribly, even if my recollections are drawn from bitterly short periods of time. In truth, I suppose, what I know most about her I know from my mother. And not her stories or memories, though those are there. My mother is every bit the gentle, warm, sedulous guardian that her mother was.

    And that’s the best gift for me. Thanks again ladies for giving us all this opportunity to reminisce and ponder. I’ll see you around.

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  282. My grandma is my best friend. She’s in her mid-80s, and we have such a good time together! I’m getting married next spring, and she is almost more excited than I am (just almost). She lives in AZ and I live in MA, so we spend most of our “visiting” time on the phone. I feel so lucky to have Grandma Orbit’s special brand of humor and delight in my life. (Orbit Drive’s the street she and my grandpa lived on until I was 17 — I was the first grandkid and so gave her the name). Helen, I think you and my grandma would really hit it off! She won’t take anyone’s b.s. either 😉

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  283. This morning, I stood in line at 5:00 a.m., waiting to cast my vote and take my place in history. Tears welled up in my eyes.

    My grandmother Alvin Beauty Blassingame (yes, her real name, lol) was always very involved in the political process. She volunteered at the polls every election season, knocked on doors and made phone calls. She didn’t have money to donate, but she had time and found the energy to make her presence and support known.

    She, of course, could remember a time when the right to vote was denied to her.

    She used to say, “Child….you better make your voice heard while they’re listening!”

    On 9/11/01, she was volunteering at the polls when the news came from the radio that two planes had crashed in the WTC.

    At the time, I was working on the 40th FL of 2 WTC (South Tower). She later told me that she stopped what she doing, and asked everyone to pray for me and the other thousands of people in danger at that moment. By the grace of God, I and many others escaped with our lives.

    “BigMa” passed away in October 2004. I miss her every single day, but especially today. She would have been so proud and amazed and happy and scared and some more proud, to see a young Black man get this close to fulfilling Dr. King’s dream when, once upon a time, few people would have even imagined it could happen.

    I know she’s looking down and smiling. I learned the importance of my voice from her and I will teach my children the importance of making themselves heard while the world is listening.

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  284. I remember bragging to one of my friends that I was in my early 30’s and still had both of my grandmothers. Within a years time, I lost them both. My paternal grandma died while I was in labor for my son. What a bittersweet day. To our suprise, he was born with a head of true red hair. (Neither myself or my husband have red hair) When my Dad showed at the hospital to see his new grandson, he told me that grandma had hair like that in her younger years. We like to think that she “passed the torch” or her way out and his way in. He also had a card for me that she had gotten ready in anticipation of her new great grandson. I have it framed and it is my most cherished item.
    My maternal grandmother (Granny) was someone very special to me. She raised 9 boys and 1 girl with her husband mostly absent (he was in the service and then a long haul trucker). She was a take-no-BS, straight talker who was as curious as a child. There was no question she wouldn’t ask, no buffer on her opinions of something. Granny was the most out spoken person I have ever met and the way you speak reminds me of her so much.
    Thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk about 2 such special ladies. As Granny used to say,”Treasure the ones you do have and remember the ones you don’t.”

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  285. I just voted for Toot’s grandson, and came back to read all the grandma-driven comments on this militantly gentle site. What a lovely gift the collection of these memories would be for the Obama family.

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  286. I only knew one of my grandmothers – my father’s mother. She always made me feel like I was the greatest person on the planet. She would hang up my kindergarten school drawings and I was so proud – I can STILL feel that sense of joy and pride. A few years ago, I wondered to myself why I could never pass up ordering pink lemonade if I saw it on a menu and then it dawned on me. One of my fondest memories of my grandma was that she always had homemade pink lemonade ready for me when I came to her house. It was so good. Grandmas have a truly lasting effect on us and their love is so special.

    I am a new grandma – my granddaughter is only 2 years old. She is the delight of my life and I have so much hope for her and her future. She, like Obama, has a black father and a white mother. I am very proud of her heritage and feel, like Obama, she will have love for all races. She and other children, both mixed and not, are the future of this great country we live in. Their unity will make this great country soar even higher than it has in the past.

    God Bless America and God Bless Helen and Margaret. I mean it. Really.

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  287. My grandmothers were Vernie and Helen. Vernie made fried apricot pies, biscuits from scratch, and fried ochra. Helen made play dough with flour, water, salt, and food coloring. Vernie told stories of Billy Goat Gruff and the Coat of Many Colors. Helen climbed the cedar tree with us, helped us pick out just the right grape vine to smoke, and swam with us in the Big Gully. They offered the best of what life has to offer.

    I’m so sorry Senator Obama. I hope that Vernie, Helen, Toot, and all these other fine women described here are having a grand party.

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  288. Both of my grandmothers were dead before I was born, so I don’t know what it’s like to HAVE a grandmother, but I do what it’s like to BE a grandmother. I love it. I love ALL my grandchildren and I cherish every moment I spend with them. I got more than one tear in my eye when I saw and heard Barack Obama trying to speak through his broken heart over his grandmother’s death! Grandmothers ROCK!!!!

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  289. My Grandma only saw the best in everyone. One day I told her that she would find something good to say about anyone, even Al Capone. Her response, “He was good to his mother.”

    My Grandma taught me how to crochet. She bought me 24 skeins of yarn to make an afghan and started it for me almost 20 years ago. One day I’ll add the 6 skeins to it that I found after I had “finished” it one New Year’s Eve.

    My Grandma also taught me my multipication tables. Hours upon hours of crying and claiming “I can’t do it” with her adamant “Yes you can” led to the time when I went through the entire stack of flash cards at school and got to wear a big blue ribbon all day. I don’t know who was prouder – her or me.

    My Grandma bought her house in the 1940’s for $2000. She chose it because it was the only one in the neighborhood with an indoor bathroom. She had it paid off in 2 years.

    My Grandma was widowed when my mom & uncle were in their early teens. Years later you could see the twinkle in her eye when she spoke of the grandfather I never met. I loved her stories about how they met, eloped, ran back to their respective homes to tell their parents, and had to keep their marriage a secret for a year before they could have a church wedding.

    My Great-Grandma snuck out in the middle of the night and brought her 5 children (4 boys and 1 girl – my Grandma) from St. Louis to Chicago in 1932 so that her boys wouldn’t have to grow up to be coal miners. She left a note for her husband saying that he’s welcome to join them – he eventually did. I love my Grandma for telling me this story of such a wonderful, brave, and strong woman.

    I miss my Grandma terribly. This December it will be 13 years since she passed away. However, I know she’s in a much better place, dancing with her true love, playing pinochle with anyone that will sit at the table, and stuffing bread rolls into her purse.

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  290. I didn’t live in the same state as my grandparents, so I didn’t get to see them very often. My maternal grandmother was ill and bedridden, but I remember standing by her bed, my small hand in hers. The fragileness of her skin, the fine silver hair on the pillow. I remember feeling enormous good will and love coming from her. That’s all I have of her, but it is a sweet memory. I thought she was an angel.

    As for my paternal grandmother, I might need to go to Dr. Laura’s website and write about her. 😉 She was tough, but I also have some good memories of her fixing a bath for me. No indoor bathroom back then in Oklahoma, so bath time meant water being heated on the stove and then poured into a big wash tub in the middle of the kitchen. I remember her picking wild berries with me. She was a woman of her times. Unsentimental and tough, but fair.

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  291. When I heard Toot died, I dropped tears as if my own grandmother had just died.

    My grandmother lived 300 miles away, but every trip to see her was special. She called everyone “sugar” and when I was learning to talk I started calling her that. She was our Sugar. Her candy dishes were always filled with Circus Peanut candy and her fridge always had the only sodas we were allowed to drink as children. And, every hug was filled with extreme grandmother love.

    She was a member of every ancestral historical group imaginable – DAR, DRT, UDC, Colonial Dames, Magna Carta Dames. When one of my sisters once remarked she didn’t know Texas had been a republic, Sugar picked up her purse, grabbed that child and drove her to Washington on the Brazos so she could see the birthplace of the Republic of Texas. She taught us that our family fought so we would have the right and freedom to vote and speak our minds so we vote in honor of their memory.

    Although her father fought hard against the KKK in Texas, his oldest daughter still carried racist attitudes, much like Barack Obama’s “Toot.” Sugar died in 1995, just one week short of her 89th birthday. I don’t know how she would have voted today, but she was a Yellow Dog Democrat and I’ll leave my speculation at that.

    Rest in Peace – both Sugar and Toot.

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  292. I didn’t know my grandmothers so when I married my husband’s paternal grandmother was my first taste. She was a strong German and we became ‘fighting’ friends. She taught me that what appears to be bigotry may be just how one was raised and that a simple pointing out of the optional view may lead to, “Oh, of course, you’re right”! And this at 89. She showed me courage when her husband and her only child died within 3 months of each other. She began to teach me how to be compassionate as she moved from her home of 60+ to an apartment near us and felt, upon occasion, overwhelmed. She taught me love when the nursing home called me when she went into the hospital and I was the person the hospital called when she needed somebody by her side. And she taught me grace when I arrived from work on the evening she died and the nurse said, “She’s been waiting for you” and I was able to hold her hand and tell her how much she was loved as she, in the next 15 minutes, slipped away. I knew her only 10 years — from 85 to 95 — and I felt frustrated and uncertain and sometimes a bit angry at her needs, but always I felt love and now I feel very, very blessed.

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  293. My Nana used to get up really early on Saturday mornings to drink her coffee and watch the Little Rascals. We kids would get up with her, and she would feed us hot chocolate and matzas with peanut butter and jelly.

    Nana would also give us the most amazing hot baths. STEAMING hot water, lights turned off, candles lit all around the tub. Then she would take us out, pound us with powder (she was not exactly a delicate woman!), put us into PJ’s, put us in front of the fire place and feed us ice cream with m&m’s in it.

    I miss my Nana – she could make you feel like the most important person in the world.

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  294. Early on, my grandmother encourgaed me (and my siblings) to think. At Sunday dinner, we were supposed to have opinions on what the adults were discussing and to express them.

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  295. My grandmother raised me – its one of the reasons I first liked Obama. Anyone who was raised by their grandmother will understand. My grandmother made me believe that I was capable of anything good – when I doubted myself, she reassured me. She was completely selfless in her mothering of me. She made two loaves of bread every week because she was hypoglycemic and she couldn’t eat store bought bread. Her bread was the BEST bread in the world. I, like you Helen, cannot for the life of me make that bread the way she made it. I have her own handwritten recipe, but it always is missing something…I guess she had some magic that she put in it, that I can’t duplicate. I cried just a little for Obama yesterday, because I know what it means to lose the grandmother that mothered you.

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  296. My grandma used to lay me on the counter and wash my hair in the sink when I was a little girl. There is no other feeling like this. It was just pure love; I adored her and miss her to this day, 20yrs after she died.

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  297. When I would stay at my grandparents for a few nights, my grandmother would drive just us two down the road to the Dairy Dip. We’d get soft serve ice cream cones. As we were eating them she’d always tell me the same story. Never eat the end of the cone, there could be a fly in the bottom.

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  298. My grandma was a godsend for me growing up, as was my grandfather. They often took the place of my real parents. I miss them both terribly. One of the reasons I enjoy this site so much is that both of you remind me of them. Keep posting. I love you for it.

    If you want a look at what my life was like growing up, take a peek at the link below. Even though my grandparents aren’t mentioned in the story, without them, I don’t think I would have survived my childhood. It’s a true story, by the way.

    Duke
    http://thedailyduke.com/the-catholics-the-chickens-and-me/

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  299. My grandma (Abuelita) Delfina left me way too early. I was only 9 and thinking of that day still brings tears to my eyes. But my favorite memory of this loving lady happened before I was even born. See my grandma lived in Ecuador and days before I was born, she was in the hospital. Well being the strong willed woman she always was – she checked herself out against doctors’ orders & forbade the family to tell my mom (who lives in NYC) that she was ill. She got on the plane & made the 6 hour flight to be there for my mom, dad, sister & me. When my mom finally heard what happened, she asked her why would she do that. All she’d say is that there was no way she was going to miss seeing her little one when she was born. My granny stayed with us until I was 3 & we spent summers in Ecuador until she passed away. Whenever I think of her I just feel a sense of being so loved. I still miss you Abuelita 22 years later.

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  300. I’m named after my grandmother because none of my four sisters were. As kids, Grams would play Monopoly with us. She always insisted on being the Banker, and she always cheated! We all knew, and it was part of the game. At family picnics, she was always “permanent pitcher” for our softball games. And no family gathering was complete until she belly danced. The last day of her life she went to Atlantic City and spent the day gambling. She came home and heart attack. That’s how I want to go, spending the last day doing something and love, and then going quickly and relatively pain free.

    Thanks for the blog Helen, and for remembering Toot today. I’m sure she’ll be watching proudly.

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  301. My Nana was the sweetest sassiest lady ever. My favorite memories of her always involved visiting for holidays or family meals which always ended with everyone sitting down for tea and cake at night telling hysterical stories of my dad and his siblings growing up. She would call everyone close to her “Lovey” and you knew that she meant it.

    My mother’s mom was much more strict and rarely expressed love or other emotions, though I know she loves all her grandkids. I do think she resented that Nana was always a favorite with us kids. Even my mother was vocal about how she wanted to be a grandmother like her mother-in-law. I’ve lost both my Nana and my wonderful mom to cancer but I have them in my heart as loving, intelligent and strong women who will serve as inspiration for me when I become a mother and grandmother. I miss them so much and my heart breaks for Sen. Obama losing Toot at such a pivotal moment in his life. I feel like all these awesome women are all looking down from heaven at us now.

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  302. Granny helped raise me along with my single mom. She was starting to get a little confused (full dementia the last couple years) when I had my son 14 years ago. My younger brother brought her to the hospital when I was in labor. I was still walking around, in the hospital gown, breathing through the contractions. For some reason, I thought natural childbirth was the way to go. My son took his time, and I had been in labor for 12 hours at that point. I saw Mom and Granny in the waiting room when I was just walking. Granny didn’t say a word to me, but she looked at Mom and said, “Jackie, give her some lipstick. She looks sick!” I gave Mom a dirty look, and she took Granny down to the cafeteria for a bite to eat. Granny always wanted to make sure that people looked their best!

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  303. I’ll never forget my grandparents. I was very fortunate as they helped and guided me. Thelma, Helen, Walter and George still rock my world. I miss them tremendously and look forward to seeing them and thanking them.

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  304. My Grandma (age 87) is my hero and a lady who speaks her very well-informed mind! This was her response when I sent her a link to your blog: “Kate my girl, Those are a couple of wild old broads. But they have it right, she [Palin] is a bitch and McCain is senile!”

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  305. Every time I spoke to my Grandma she ALWAYS said ” I love you and I think about you all the time” She always made me feel special. She died three years ago.

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  306. My grandmother died in 2001. It broke my heart. She and my grandfather were the best thing I remember about my childhood. She was the most patient woman with my brother, sister and me. We could do no wrong as far as she could see. We used to play “pretend driving” in her baby blue VW Bug while it sat in the garage. One of her favorite stories was my brother walking in and handing her the blinker handle from the car and saying “it bwoke grandmommy”. She drove that car for years after that with a broken of blinker switch and was never angry for a second. I loved to help her cook and she was careful to always leave extra dough in the bowl for me to lick. Everything was about us, the grandkids, when we were with her. I remember up until she broke her hip a few years before her death that she would dance around the living room like a teenager. She would tell me “as long as I don’t look in the mirror, I think I am 20.” A few days before she died, grandmoma had a stroke and could not speak. We do not know if she could understand us but my sister and I stood over her hospital bed and told stories of our childhhood and sang songs that she had taught us. She was truly the most special lady I ever knew. I miss her to this day. I love you grandmoma!

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  307. If you click the link, you’ll see my whole blog about my late grandmothers.

    I may have to adopt y’all as my Internet Grannies.

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  308. My grandmother was one tough Irish redhead with a firey temper to match. She was a single parent as my grandfather left soon after my mom was born. My mom was a single parent as well, so my grandmother helped raise me and my sister. Se was a progresssive during a time this country was in chaos. She worked at the Oakland Naval Shipyard during WWII, one of very few white women. Her best friend was a black woman during a time of civil unrest in this country. My grandmother would NEVER take no for an answer, and don’t ever let her see anyone messing with her grandkids or there would be hell to pay. She died about 20 years ago and the age of 89. I believe she was the inspiration for me to always go against the status quo, speak my mind, and always do the right thing. RIP NANA.

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  309. My grandmother was my emotional pillar growing up, my parents died when I was very young, and she took over with an enduring and nurturing spirit. When I voted by mail, here in Oregon several weeks ago, for Obama. I could feel her spirit, shout with joy.

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  310. Like Barack, I was raised by my grandparents. They were the foundation in my life (and still are to this day, though they are no longer with me). Grandpa taugh me strong work ethics and to find humor in everything I do. Grandma taugh me how to cook and clean and take care of your family. Both taugh me love and respect and the importance of God in my life.

    Tomorrow is my 35th birthday and the only thing that I want is for Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States of America!

    May God bless you even more, Helen! I have enjoyed getting to know you!

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  311. Like

  312. I only knew one of my grandmother’s really well- my Mammaw. She lived with us from the time I was 5 until I was 9. I can remember sneaking into her room at 6AM, before my mom and dad were up, because I knew she’d be awake. Sure enough, there she sat in her chair, remote control in hand, waiting on me to watch morning cartoons with her. I’d curl up in her lap, my head on her shoulder and she’d endure hours of silly cartoons with me every morning. A few mornings we’d venture downstairs for breakfast before everyone got up. My family still laughs about how I fed her cold pizza and potato chips (with milk- that’s how she liked her chips. It was all I could reach in the fridge and she was so frail, she couldn’t get up into the cabinets to get the cereal) for breakfast and she never once complained.

    My grandma’s spirit lives on through my daughter. I see all her fiesty, loving, empathy passed through to her, and I can only begin to imagine what an amazing woman she’s going to turn out to be one day. I most definitely believe my grandma, who would have been 94 this year had she not have passed away when I was 10, would have voted today for Obama. She always understood the importance of everything Mr. Obama stands for, and she helped to shape and encourge me into who I am today.

    So my vote today was as much for you, Mammaw as it was for your great grand daughter- who would love loved you SO much if she could know you today. Your love lives on through us.

    I love you and miss you terribly Mammaw. Rest well.

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  313. Margaret – Thank you for being a voice of reason in what has shown itself to be a crazy world! I really thought we would all be mostly over the race thing. I am in an interracial marriage and still do not understand how people don’t just see others as people!

    I am 8 months pregnant and got up promptly at 5:45 this morning to be at my polls when they opened this morning. My vote for Barack Obama was cast before 7 a.m. today, and I feel so good about it. It will be a long day of waiting to see if this country FINALLY got one right!

    I want to be proud of my president again. I want to feel inspired by my leader. I am only 31 years old, but I still feel like I have been waiting forever.

    I was so sad that Toot did not manage to live long enough to see her grandson become president. Maybe there was more that she could do in heaven today than on earth to see that this happens. I surely hope so.

    I have a 2-year-old daughter and another on the way. I loved my grandma dearly, but I write more about the grandma that my little girls have. My mom is an amazing woman and will be driving 5 hours to spend a long weekend with us in a few days. Watching the love she showers on my daughter fills me up with a kind of joy that I cannot describe. I did not understand the kind of love that a mother has for a child until I became a mother. Understanding that love and seeing my mom with my daughter makes it even better.

    God bless moms and grandmoms, etc.

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  314. I lost one grandmother back in, oh, 1991? It was just after I got out of college.

    Ruth was a fun lady… she would watch me after school when I was just a little kid. There was a swing attached to the laundry lines in the back of the house and my grandfather had a strawberry patch on one side of the house.

    I also have a dim memory of her sitting in my kiddie pool in the summer. Swimsuit on. Sunhat on and – on occasion – a beer (Schlitz, I think) in her hand.

    My other grandmother is still around and just turned 88. She is the proverbial “piece of work” in a lot of ways, but I am a lot like her. More than I probably care to admit. What makes me sad is her memory is starting to fail, and fail fairly significantly… so that makes the memories even more important.

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  315. My Dad’s Mother had 27 grandchildren and my Mom’s Mother had 17 grandchildren. You could ask any one of those now adults , who was the favorite grandchild and they would all say “Me”. They had an unique ability to make each of us feel special.

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  316. Wow! Can’t stop reading these memories! Excellent post/question that prompted the best in all of us to reach out and connect with others on a very historic day!

    My grandma talked with her eyes closed whenever she was on the phone.
    My grandma knitted soft slippers and called them “sluffies”. I still call my pair of slippers the same thing.
    My grandma fried bacon in a pan that looked as big as the top of the stove.
    My grandma told me that the only card game I could play was “Old Maid”–any other card game was of the devil.
    My grandma had a bread box that held so many pastries and goodies.
    My grandma used her back staircase leading from the kitchen to the upstairs as a storage place. It was so packed you couldn’t even use the stairs!
    My grandma brought back a giant box of grapefruit for each of her three daughter’s families every spring. My grandparents weathered out the Iowa winters by moving to Texas from January to April
    My grandma meticulously hand-wrote a 5 dollar check for each grandchild at Christmas.
    My grandma picked raspberries in the patch behind her house and served them over ice cream.
    My grandma voted for Jimmy Carter because he “was a praying man” not like “that other one who’s an actor”.
    My grandma always said, “Smakke Lekker?” (Dutch spelling attempted) and this always meant “does it taste good?” and “want some more?”
    My grandma never had a driver’s license and never drove anything.
    My grandma’s name was Agnes.
    I loved my grandma.

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  317. I had, unfortunately the past tense, two very different grandmothers.
    One Nanna, was Australian, hard working, discreet, the practical, “get on with it” kind. Her love was expressed in scones, coconut and jam tarts and short hand written letters found in sock drawers when back from school. “Help your mother, put these socks away. All the best in school”. She treated all of my 5 brothers and sisters and endless cousins with the same regard.

    The other was English to the bone and proud of it, glamorous and choose cordon bleu over cookie baking. At 70 she had 50 year olds running after her. She had her favourites amongst her grand children and but also her moods. Her messsage to me was always to have confidence, always.

    Miss them both. Believe however their values, dreams and ambitions are incarnate and they are stil here, somewhere.
    GO Obama!

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  318. My grandma was very special to me. My mom and I lived with my grandparents for many years. She was born in Italy and moved to the US in 1917. She was a flapper before she married and I carry one of those pictures all of the time. If I could live in another time it would be in the twenties as a flapper. She was so small though she really did not drink and they called her “One Shot Tessie.” She was a catholic but did a lot of ritual that we might consider passed down from the Ancient Ones. I was the only person in the family she taught “The Eyes” to. A ritual remedy to getting rid of the Evil Eye when someone has given it to you. As I have grown and explored my own paganism I have come to realize she was a Green Witch. I am not even sure that she knew that but she definitely was and I wish I could learn more from her now.

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  319. I was lucky enough to have two incredible grandmothers. My tiny little grandmother had a closet full of incredible shoes. When I was a little girl she let me play with her shoes. I loved trying them on and lining them up in the closet. My other beautiful grandmother was quiet and gentle. I remember as a young woman, seeing Oil of Olay in her bathroom and wondering why? You see I thought she was beautiful the way she was, she must have been in her late 60’s at the time. So I salute all grandmothers and thanks so much for your post.

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  320. Every time I smell peppers and onions I am brought back to my Memere’s kitchen ~ she was an amazing cook. She used to make a 6 layer orange cream cake and core out the middle just for me. She would sit me on her lap in her rocker ( which I now have ) and tell me ghost stories. She was a short and spunky French-Canadian woman the oldest of 11 children, who stretched money through the depression and kept slogging on while Grandfather was in Europe during WW2. When I become a Memere, I want to be just like her.

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  321. What a wonderful post/Question. Grandmothers have a special kind of love that I am now rediscovering with my own children and the transformation of their grandmothers.

    I have a great relationship with my grandmother. Grandma Dee is 79 (80 In August) fiesty, sweet, waits on my Grandpa hand and foot, and is voting for Obama today!

    Grandmas Rock, you too Helen!

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  322. My Grandma taught me to play jacks and sat with me on the stair landing every single day and played them with me, she died when I was 17 and was the biggest influence and the most adored love of my life. She was simply the best person in my life.

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  323. I remember my Grandma Boderman’s homemade bread, she could get 10 loafs out of one package of yeast. I have trouble getting one!
    My sister is a lot like my Grandma Block, opinionated and knows EVERYONE, but very lovable.
    Man, they have been gone since the 80’s but I sure do think of them and miss them still.
    I’m so glad my daughter has Grandmothers still around to make memories with.

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  324. I was really very sad when I saw that Barrack’s granny had died. I loved my grannys, but I was really devoted to my grandad who died when I was away working one summer during university. I used to write to him and they read the letters to him cos he didnt have any energy left and he would call me a tube which is a northern irish word for being a wally. I was devastated when he died. I was working ina hotel in Switzerland and I just wept into everyones soup. I remember a Portuguese waitress Telling me courage. I never got over not seeing him before he died and I am crying a little now too as I remember him. My condolences to Barrack and his family . And to you Helen you are a legend xxx

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  325. My grammy passed when I was 9, but she had raised us while my single mom worked. What I remember most is how she taught us to be ladies, with hankys in our purses, and sitting with our legs together. She was born in 1890, so she was a Victorian lady, and saw to it that her grandaughters were as well. It has served me well these past 56 years. She took great delight in someone commenting on our lovely manners, and I have found that I am also delighted when someone has mentioned my kids or grandkids deportment. RIP Grammy.

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  326. My grandmother was born at the turn of the last century. She used to tell us the most wonderful, interesting stories about her life as a young girl. It is amazing how the world has changed, but we could see through her stories what life was like before airplanes, when horses were the most common mode of transportation and even before a lot of foods were canned, much less available fresh year round at the local store. She had a hilarious story about taking a risk of canning corn her family had grown.

    She’s been gone now for quite a long time, but I still miss her. One of the many reasons I like reading your blog is that your way with words reminds me of her.

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  327. When I was a kid our whole family lived in a small town in Idaho. We converged on my grandma and grandpa’s house for every holiday and feasted on everything from leg of lamb to homemade chili and Indian frybread. (Grandma was one-quarter Cherokee, so she came by it honest enough.)

    Grandma was boisterous but sensitive, generous but shrewd, bawdy but deeply religious. Her body was only just big enough to contain her personality. As a kid, her sense of humor often threw me off center :”Grandma – I just got my first bra!” “Really! So… whatcha got in there?”, but I always knew this outrageous person was loving and protecting me.

    If nothing else rubbed off, at least I have her love of cooking and I value her example of helping to nourish others.

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  328. I lost my Grannie a few months before I got married in July 2006. I remember feeling the awful loss, that she would never see her the wedding of the first of her grandchildren to get married, that I would never get to share the best day of my life with her. But I was lucky to have had nearly 26 years with her. Some people don’t get that long with their grandparents.

    Grannie had what we called the Mayhew Look. A cold, hard stare that she, her sister, my mum and my aunt (and hopefully me) had perfected to make any man wither on the spot. I inherited her recipes for sponge cake, raspberry fool and green tomato chutney. Try as I might, I have never managed to fry sausages that taste as good as the ones she fried for our breakfasts each morning when we stayed with her.

    She religiously cut out newspaper articles about dinosaurs and mammoths and anything else prehistoric to send me, to fuel my passion for the subject. She entertained me with stories of her childhood as a tomboy who watched Crystal Palace play football every weekend, who taught her father’s pet parrot to scream, and who ate icicles straight off the trees. As a young nurse she drove Matron insane by skipping down the ward singing “We Are The Ovalteenies”, from the populr wartime advert.

    Sometimes, when I put on a smart pair of trousers, a stripey shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a longline waistcoat, I look in the mirror and see my grandmother as a young woman looking back at me. Which I suppose is the sort of legacy worth leaving behind.

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  329. My grandmother is one of the worst cooks I know, but everytime we come over, she has a meal ready or something she wants us to eat. And we eat it. She’s incredibly thoughtful and knows the dates of every birthday and anniversary of her five siblings and spouses, five children and spouses, 11 grandkids, 7 great-grandkids, and cousins and such. She still goes out dancing although she’s 83 and her goal is to live to 100. And she still has this great girlish giggle. My condolences to Barack and his family. There’s nothing like a grandma.

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  330. My paternal grandmother passed away when I was about six months old and I was the last grandchild she saw. Her goal was to see me before she died.

    My maternal grandma has been the one I have the most memories of. When I was about 4 1/2, I started preschool. On the days that my mom was working, I would go to my grandma’s house and she and I would walk together, often looking at the wildflowers and playing me and my shadow. Often I would go through the songbooks that they had on a bookshelf and I would pretend that I was in a choir. She also told the most amazing stories. When I was sick and my mom had to go to work, I would often spend the day on the couch in the family room. I consider myself very fortunate to have spent such a good amount of time with her and I still enjoy visiting with her.

    Grandmas are probably the most important females in our lives; shaping and molding us into the adults we become and more often than not they speak the truth about things and for some reason it isn’t offensive. I guess they have the gift of tact after raising their own children.

    On this note, I would like to express my condolences to Sen. Obama and his family at this time.

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  331. I’m one of those rare souls who never knew any of my grandparents well. My father’s father died before he married, and I don’t have fond memories of his mother. My mother’s parents died when I was nine.

    My maternal grandmother had Parkinson’s disease for many years. My grandpa took care of her for most of that time, feeding her, bathing her, helping her to the bathroom. He was absolutely devoted to her. He passed away suddenly one day. He had never been sick before. And yet, after over fifty years of marriage, he was the first to go.

    My mother attended the funeral. I wasn’t allowed due to school (the funeral was out of state.) But a story my mother told of what happened at the funeral has stuck with me…

    Due to her advanced illness, Grandma didn’t recognize many people, and one of the few she recognized was my mother. During the actual burial at the cemetery, Grandma kept asking my mother, “Where’s Leo? Where’s Leo?” Finally, as she watched the coffin being lowered into the ground, Grandma’s face fell. She understood, then, that her soul mate was gone.

    She died less than two weeks later.

    I recently married my soul mate. And I hope to be as devoted to him as my grandparents were to each other.

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  332. My grandmother was magical with babies. She could calm a crying baby just by holding them. Whenever my children were sick, I called her and she knew exactly what to do. Thank you so much for asking me to remember her.

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  333. I don’t really have a story, she’s just all-around great. She kept special cups just for us kids to use. She is always so happy to see us or hear from us, and so proud of us. She’s just wonderful. That’s all.

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  334. I don’t really remember my Nan. She passed away when I was about 6 or 7, but I do remember how sweet, gentle, and kind she was. I remember how giving her a hug felt. I remember how quiet she was.

    I wish she and my Grandfather were here today to see my son…

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  335. Wow you girls just blow me away, all you do is type: “Write something about your grandmother” and then the replies just come flowing in. 208 and I find myself on the bottom rung of the latter.

    That is incredible.

    Well, here is mine, a day late and a dollar short, bottom of the list, no one will ever see it, but as with the others, I cannot refuse your request.

    My grandmother taught me how to tie my own shoes, sitting on the back porch of her house in a small Oklahoma town. She is the one who taught me that it really wasn’t all that big of a deal if the dog licked you in the face, and reassured me that I was not going to die.

    She taught me how to do fractions, something my own dad was at a loss to do. She made me peanut butter sandwiches and taught me how to catch a frog. My grandmother cooked me Angel Food Cakes, that were so light, fluffy, incredibly sweet they had to have been made by an angel.

    She would come into my room during an intense thunderstorm, with the lightning and thunder crashing at four am in the morning and softly inquire, “Are you scared Donnie?” and I would say “No grandma, I am okay” and then she would say, “Okay. I will see you later.”

    And I would reach out for her hand and plea fully ask, “Want to stay for just a little while, please?”

    She was a retail clerk for the J.C. Penny Company and worked there all her life until retiring. It also meant at Christmas time I got the undershirts and the jockey shorts and not the toys, but looking back on that, it was the right and sensible thing for her to do.

    She shared her history with me, born in the turn of the century, and married in the depression days. She often shared with me how it was not easy raising five kids during hard times in America. She came from good stock as they say in the country, and her metal was tested at an early age.

    I miss her and her softly singing in the kitchen doing the dishes by hand in a sink full of luke warm water, her insight into daily happenings, her love, kindness and most of all her smile. I would give ten grand in hard money just to have one more lunch with her, but we all know that isn’t going to happen.

    So instead, I will cherish her memory and remember all the wonderful good things she did for me, simply because she loved me.

    Her name was Esther Smith, but her friends called her Peggy.

    Don Smith

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  336. I miss my Granny. She didn’t like my mom (her daughter) but she loved me unconditionally. Which worked out great because I don’t like my mom either! LOL! My Granny didn’t care that I’m gay. My Granny sent me a birthday card with a dollar in it every birthday for 38 years. Her eyes would light up everytime she saw me. I could hear smile when she answered the phone for our Sunday afternoon chats. Now 14 years after she died, sometimes on Sundays, I find myself reaching for the phone to call her. She was not good mother to my mom and I think she saw me as a second chance to do better. I’m glad she did. I have no Granny now but thanks to you Helen and you Margaret, I have two Grannies. I mean it, really!

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  337. My grandmother passed away when I was 7 years old. I don’t remember much about her. She had a severe condition of rheumatoid arthritis, along with several other ailments, and was bed-ridden for many of her last years. One thing I do remember about her, is she was so sweet and loving and giving. She always made sure that my mom bought us Christmas and birthday gifts with the meagar amount of money she got from the government. And she always snuck us candy and gum… my mom said it would rot our teeth, so she never let us have any sweets. And I remember at her funeral, I laid a carnation (I believe it was yellow) on her coffin, and I cried as hard as a 7-year old could cry. I wish I had know her better.

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  338. Perhaps not my favorite memories but my most recent. I called my 92 yr old grandma in IL yesterday and we chatted about a lot of things. She remarried about 6 years ago and is enjoying the heck out of it. She occasionally overshares about the joys of viagra which drives my teetotaling mom to drunk dial me. But yesterday she said she was relieved to have retired as an electoral judge 2 years ago because this tuesday promises to be a long, long day and she’d rather spend it with her man and we’ll survive another election. She is also retiring after driving for Meals on Wheels for 50 years. I hope I love my life at that age as much as she does.

    My other grandma is in assisted living. She’s still alert and coherent but can’t handle more than one or two topics at a time which makes phone calls hard. I’ve started sending cards and letters so she knows I’m thinking about her. I found out recently that the reason my dad’s family moved when he was younger was because she finished her master’s degree after having 3 kids and they wanted to teach at a school that would hire both of them. I didn’t know my grandpa well, and I thought this spoke well of him too. That, and their first date was on a Friday the 13th. 🙂

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  339. Tears are streaming down my face as I read these comments. I don’t see my grandmothers anywhere near often enough. My maternal grandmother lives in another country and though we always visited in the holidays, there was never an ‘everyday’ relationship. I remember the way she laughs, and how she always seemed to be in the garden, and the time she taught me to make shortbread. She lives in a residential care home now and has dementia. I miss my grandparents’ house – and my grandpa, who was also a wonderful person – and I miss my granny too, because I can’t really communicate with her.
    My paternal grandmother is the strongest person I know. She has been a widow for over nine years and takes care of a big house and garden by herself. Although she still misses my grandfather, she has made the best of being alone and has taken up travelling and all kinds of hobbies. I moved far away from home and don’t see her often – although I love it when I do. I feel guilty because we don’t talk much. I’m not comfortable with telephones. I am very proud of having her as a grandmother.
    They both mean the world to me but I realize I haven’t told them this enough.

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  340. My Mother died when I was five. My Father went
    to her(my grandmother) and asked her which of the kids she wanted(there were three of us).
    She told him that she would take all of us.
    Times were tough in WV in1958 and my
    grandparents lived on a farm.
    Thanks to my maternal grandparents, if the world
    should go to h&*l in a handbasket, I could and
    would make it. GOD took her home in 1993 and I
    miss her terribly. Yes they are grand…….

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  341. Helen, you know those silly internet questionnaires that ask a ton of questions like, “What’s your favourite scent?” and “What dead person would you like to talk to, just once more?”

    My answer for that last one is always “My gran”. She looked after me when my mom had to go back to work, she was my ‘daycare’ from when I was an infant up to when I started nursery school.

    As long as I live I will always miss her and her very pragmatic but proper ways.

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  342. We called my mom’s mom OtherMummy (because my mother taught us that she was our “other mummy”). She was my Catholic gran and she passed away when I was 5 so I never really knew her, except that I always thought she was very pretty and gracious.

    My dad’s mom (Granny) passed away when I was in my 20s and I didn’t know her well either. She was my Muslim gran and she had an old creaky house that she shared with four of her siblings. I sometimes visited her when I was a child.

    I remember warm summer days in her big cool kitchen. She’d be cooking and she’d let me “help” her. Afterwards she’d “pay” me from the little glass saucer of change she kept in the kitchen. She always kept animals – turkeys, geese, chickens and later on cats and dogs too. I think I inherited my love of animals from her.

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  343. Both of my grandmothers were amazing women. One was a dead-ringer for Queen Elizabeth, so even though I lost her in 1987 (at age 95) I’ve been able to recollect her as Queen E. ages! She was every inch a lady — always wore necklaces and earrings, sometimes a brooch, gloves, and a hat when she went out in town. She was active in political causes and women’s clubs and once attended a tea in the White House hosted by Mamie Eisenhower. Made wonderful chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy for Sunday dinner (after church, of course).

    The other grandma was much more casual, loved camping, hunting and fishing, fell out of a deer-blind and broke her elbow on the first day of hunging season when she was 72 years old! So between these two women I had a real education in all the possibilities and potentials of womanhood back when their lives were much more circumscribed than ours are now.

    I remember my “Queen E” grandma teaching me to bake a home-made angel food cake from scratch (“carefully fold in the flour – don’t crush the air out of the egg whites”). And when my grandfather, her husband of over 50 years, died suddenly and I asked her how she could remain so calm (although she staggered and nearly collapsed beside his coffin), she said to me “I have learned to rise above my troubles.” I have heard her telling me that many times in the years since I reached adulthood, when troubles have hit me, and I like to think I’ve risen above them thanks to her coiunsel.

    Thanks, Helen and Margaret, for a wonderful evening of memories. Rest in Peace, Toot. You did a fine job on Barack and tomorrow he’s going to make history, but it started with you!

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  344. There are so many wonderful memories I have of both of my Grandmothers but in this election season I have found myself thinking of my Grandma Christensen a lot. She was an avid follower of politics and she took her right to vote very seriously. She volunteered with the League of Women Voters for years helping others get out and vote smart. I just can’t help but be sad not having her here for this election. She would be so excited to have followed Hillary Clinton’s rise and fight for the nomination and she would have loved Obama. It would have been such a joy to “talk” politics with her. Reading this blog gives me a little feeling of connection to that. Thank you Helen, which was ironically my Grandma’s name too! 🙂

    So for all those feisty, smart Grandmas out there here’s to Obama! 🙂

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  345. It’s my grandmother, Mio’s, 92nd birthday today. By the time I called her she was already in bed (7:30 Pacific time) and my aunt said it was because of all the calls she’d been taking over the course of the day. She has trouble talking now, after a few strokes, but still gets up every morning, drinks a cup of black coffee and eats a bowl of raisin bran with half and half. She’s an incredible woman whose greatest gift to me was her constant demonstration of strength through adversity. She also taught us all how to play Scrabble, which helped me do well in school. I love her dearly, don’t see her enough, and hope to live even half as incredible a life as she has.

    She also made excellent cinnamon rolls and bread. She did it from memory, without measurement or recipe, and when I was 10, I followed her around taking notes on her process. I still have those notes, and I make her bread occasionally. It’s something I think I’ll teach my grandkids.

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  346. I think Cindi and I are related…

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  347. my grandmama had the biggest house with this musty old attic and tons of books and i would go up there and just read and read for the longest time. she was a 3rd grade teacher for many years and it was reading nancy drew, charlotte’s web, etc that caused me to become a children’s author today. she also had a laundrey chute and my brother and cousin would get in at the top floor and slide all the way down to the basement – i was chicken and wouldn’t do it but i remember how much fun they had. i had to bury my mother a few months ago and she was a huge fan of obama – i wish she were here to enjoy this amazing voting experience.

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  348. My grandmother was from an Irish immigrant family of 12 siblings. So many kids, it was hard to tell them a part. They all became successful. Many served in WWII, one became a judge and another became a nun. My grandmother until the day she died loved to dance at family events. One family event, she was in her seventies dancing the jig, holding a whiskey tumbler in her hand, a cigarette dangling from her lip… a distance relative from out of town said to my grandmother.. are you the one that’s a nun? Yes, my grandmother said, and it’s my day off!

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  349. Thank you for the forum to talk about our grandmothers, Helen! My Nannie was definitely grand in my eyes. She died years ago from colon cancer in TN. While growing up in Michigan, my older sister & I would always look forward to coming with our mom to spend part of the summers with Nannie. Her smiles (with one gold tooth) were the most beautiful to us. Her cakes and pies were the best, and the little “stickies” cinnamon rolls were so good, we begged for them each Christmas until she was too old and sick to stand and make them. No one has ever been quite able to make ’em like she did, so I certainly understood your sentiment, Helen. Her homemade whole cranberry sauce was soooo good! And she had the most kind heart, and loved getting her yearly birthday cards and Mother’s Day cards from all her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She saved them all! She was a tough lady who suffered thru the long-ago indignity of having to live a separate life (as my mom and her brothers & sisters did too) “in public” should she ever happen to “cross paths” with her husband (our grandad was one of the many African-American people who because of our ethnic mixture including Irish and Native American – looked like a white Irishman and in order to have & keep a job as one of the barbers on Main Street, he had to “pass” for white at his job & during the day in public so he could provide for his family), she would have to pretend she didn’t know him! How sad for her to have to live that way because of the racial injustices of the day. My older sister & I look like we’re Native American or Asian, but we’ve suffered some indignities in our lifetime, too. Never as much as our beautiful Nannie did, raising 9 children on her own after our grandad died. I still miss her and her slender long fingers and unlined sweet face. Our dad’s mother, Granny, God bless her, suffered her share of indignities too, even though she looked Native American with her long silver hair braided & wrapped around her head, and Papa (our dad’s father) looked white. Granny was so disheartened, she held on to that bitterness all her life. I hope she found peace when she passed years ago. Both grandmothers would’ve, perhaps, had happier lives here on this earth had they not had to live almost every day without the specter of racism hanging over their heads. Today is better, but we’ve still got a long way to go. God bless Toot for helping Barack Obama become the decent man I believe he is. I hope she is at peace, too.

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  350. My gramie kicked butt! At some point, she realized that her husband was not going to support the family in the style which she would like to live, so she opened her own business, a dress shop (Janie’s in Morgan Hill, CA) and made a very nice dollar by providing great customer service and cute clothes. She was also wise enough to get out just at the right time, when a big mall was built and made it impossible for her to compete. She was a great bass fisherwoman and funny as hell. If I can be said to have any backbone at all, I inherited it from her.

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  351. I miss my grandmothers…very much! One of them might have agreed with you. The other couldn’t give a lambs tail…but did you want to eat something? She could have a table full of food out in seconds.

    Both made awesome chicken and dressing. I can’t wait for Thanksgiving to have/make some and remember them with it. I am carrying on the tradition…my daughter loves it!

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  352. At the end of my Grandmother’s life, she was in a care facility. Her name was Hazel. She was 90 when she died. The last Halloween of her life she dressed up as a witch. The local pastor came through and asked her about her costume. She told him she was “Witch Hazel.”

    Thank you, Toot, for raising such a fine man and teaching him about service and hard work. We appreciate it. Really.

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  353. My dad’s mother is an amazing repository of family knowledge. She can sit down with a photo album and tell stories about every person in every photo.
    She kept all of the best toys and books from her children and would bring them all out whenever we would visit.

    My mom’s mother died more than 10 years ago and I am so sad I never had a chance to know her as an adult. My nana was a classic Italian grandmother and food plays a role in many of my memories of her. I can still perfectly picture the view of her standing at the stove from my seat at the kitchen table. One time early in puberty (I must have been 10 or 11 years old) she hand drew me a set of paper dolls with realistic, awkward, pubescent bodies. In talking with me about them she was able to strike a perfect balance between the child I still was and the teenage body I was developing all too quickly.
    She loved to gamble and enjoyed occasional trips to Vegas. It thrilled her to walk up to a table full of younger men and play up the sweet old lady act as much as she could “Do you young lads mind if I join this table. What game are you playing here again?” and then she would beat the pants off of them.

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  354. My Memeire made the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever, and I’ve never been able to duplicate it. She was the best, and I miss her a lot.

    (Oh, and I don’t think you should stop your blog after the election, either. I just found you, and think your blog is fabulous!)

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  355. Dear Helen, You are the best! Thank you for your blog and for helping us through these difficult final days of this campaign. Your sense of humor have made the days more bearable and the laughing has certainly loosened the knot in my stomach as we near the end.
    Thanks especially for helping us remember our grandmothers as Barack remembers his grandmother and all she has meant to him throughout his life. As I remember my grandmother and pray for her I will include prayers for Barack’s Toot who raised a fine young man. I thank you for saying that we will take it from here, for with God’s grace, we will hold him in our prayers as he leads our country to a new time of peace and prosperity.
    My grandmother brought so much joy and love into my life that I cannot speak or think of her without being overcome with emotion. Each of us should be so blessed to be loved by someone so unconditionally. She baked the best cinnamon rolls too and let us eat the dough when we couldn’t wait for the rolls to bake. She grew a beautiful flower garden too and if anyone came to visit she always packed cookies and flowers for the visitor to take home to remember the visit.
    Thank you for letting each of us remember our grandmothers tonight.
    Please don’t stop your blog after the election! We love you Helen and Margaret!

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  356. I was very young when both of my Grandmas died. The one thing I remember about the Grandma I had the longest was her rose garden. I remember walking through this rose garden with all the wonderful smells and all the rose bushes being way over my head and thinking that this was the best thing in the whole wide world. So, when I smell a beautiful smelling rose, I think of her.

    My mom says that she also had a lot of antique furniture and that is the way I furnish my house. Apparently my house interior looks a lot like her house. Kind of funny. But, I don’t remember much else as I was only 7 when she passed.

    Helen, thanks for bringing back wonderful memories for all of us and our Grandmas!!!

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  357. My granmother had magnificent gardens, a green house, an apple orchard and a creek in front of her home filled with small fish and tadpoles. Oh, how I loved it there! I would dangle my feet over the edge of the bridge in their front yard and dream, I would dream of how good it felt right there in the now. My grandfather built a tree swing over the creek and each day he would swing me high into the branches, so strong that it would sometimes scare me but I never wanted him to stop. Each morning I would wake up and the three of us would watch a white squirrel (the first I had ever seen!) eat from the feeder, then my grandma would proceed to make pancakes, using a turkey baster to make the shapes I specified. Afternoons I would climb trees and eat crab apples until I felt sick. During the day I would pick corn-on-the-cob and tomatoes which we would eat with lunch or dinner. At night, I would sit on my grandfather’s lap as they both watched the news and I would drift off to sleep, only to be carried up to bed by my big strapping grandpa. It was always the same and I never got tired of it. It was the only time in my childhood in which I was truly happy and felt really loved. I looked at them and wanted to be them as I grew older. They were active and loved life. My grandma caught a Blue Marlin off the coast of Mexico and toured Africa when she was well into her 70’s and 80’s. Even at ten-years old, I thought they were cool, and looking back, I guess that says a lot.

    My grandfather died of cancer when I was in junior high. I was devastated, yet envied how my grandma continued on. She wasn’t defined by a man even though she was raised in a era in which you were nothing without a man by your side. She was the strongest person I knew.

    I got married on their property, in front of the bridge in which I spent so many hours dreaming.

    And I was filled with so many dreams at that time.

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  358. Here’s my politically incorrect response:

    After her stroke, my grandmother couldn’t speak and could barely walk (which went against every grain in her – she was always an active lady).
    At the time she was living with my mother and was well into her 80’s. I smoked at this time in my life and before the stroke my grandmother was an occasional smoker (like once a month).
    Every now and then I would be visiting “Oma” when no one else was in the house. On those occasions she would imitate smoking a cigarette and drinking a glass of wine.
    I would walk her out back to sit in the yard and we would hold hands as I smoked a cigarette and drank a glass of wine. She would live vicariously through my smoking and sip from my glass of wine, hoping it didn’t dribble on her shirt (a sure sign we’d get caught and get yelled at by other family members).
    We’d watch the dogs run and chase the ball and by the end of about 20 minutes she’d just want to go inside and rest in her comfort zone.
    But these small moments were an adventure for her and the half twisted smile on her face made it worthwhile.
    This was a person who escaped Europe during WWI, was a divorced single mom abandoned by her husband in the 1930’s; she worked hard and saved like a good german woman to escape poverty in NYC at a time when women had few choices.
    She loved to go out dancing, was as mean as spit if she didn’t like you and was emphatically prejudiced well into her 70’s – where she abrubtly did a turn around. And she loved me deeply.
    She deserved her smoke and a drink – no matter how she got it.
    I write this cause no one else ever knew of these moments till now. It was something we shared in private; it was our secret – and she loved being a little devious.

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  359. My 82-year old Chicagoan grandmother passed away only last summer. For the 5 years prior to her death, she lived across the street in her own apartment – on the same block as her only child, my mother, and BOTH her grandchildren (my brother and me). And nearly 2 years before her death, she was able to greet her only great-grandchildren, my twin sons. We were blessed to have those wonderful 5 years.

    But back in September 2001, my mother and I were visiting my grandmother, who, at the time, had been living in South Texas for 17 years. Being with her on 9/11- and subsequently becoming “stranded” in Texas during the days following the tragedy – felt as if it was fate. At a time when families desperately tried to gather their loved ones, I was already WITH my most-treasured family member, who lived 1,500 miles away.

    I have countless cherished memories and obviously many happier ones, but of all the time that I spent with her, I am most grateful that I was able to be with her then.

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  360. I can hardly wait to read all these comments on Grandmothers.

    I remember my two grandmother’s well, along with my adopted grandmere’ who had waist-length silver hair my adopted grandpa would brush every day for her. It was so beautiful. She passed away first, then he followed a month to the day later. Couldn’t go on without her.

    My maternal grandmother had Type 2 diabetes, which wasn’t so common back then. We’d make homemade ice cream every summer, and she’d wrestle my Dad (in a friendly fashion) for the paddle. My Mom would try to caution her due to her condition, not to eat so much of the ice cream. She’d say, “I may die, but I’ll die happily full of ice cream!”

    My paternal grandmother and I became especially close when I had my first child, her first great-grandchild. I lived three blocks from her, so every day I would put the baby in the stroller, and walk up to Grandma’s for lunch. We’d visit afterward while she’d play with the baby. I absolutely cherish those times. She died in 1985 while in heart surgery. I miss my grandparents. They were special, loving people.

    Senator Obama has my most deepest sympathy for his great loss today. May he win tomorrow, and may we, his fellow Americans, lift him up, lift his spirits, and help him to lead with dignity and greatness. Get out there and vote, everyone. Let’s give this great man our support!

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  361. I didn’t get to know one grandmother, who died when I was very small. The other lived 500 miles away, and we only saw her sporadically. My fondest memory of her involves a doll she bought me for Christmas–pre-Barbie. She was a superb seamstress, and she outfitted this doll with 1950s high fashion, including a velvet suit, a wool coat with matching hat, and a number of other outfits, all tucked into a little suitcase. The thought and work that went into that gift still astonishes me. She could build a house, catch a fish, paint an original landscape in oil or water color, write a radio script, and drink most men under the table. Rest in peace, Grammy, and rest in peace, Toot. You did good work.

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  362. My grandma died two years ago this month. She was one of my biggest cheerleaders and even though I am adopted, we had so much in common. I got my love for cooking, entertaining and reading from her. I miss her all the time and I know that it seems kind of sentimental, but that’s the impact a grandma can have.
    It is sad that on what will be the biggest night in Barack Obama’s life–no make that our political history–his grandma will not be here to see him, but I know she’ll be there in spirit.
    Condolences to the Obama family on their loss.

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  363. my grandmothers were home to me in more ways than any four walls have ever been. and now that they are both gone, i struggle to find them in the little things, little joys. simple gifts of a song that triggers a memory, a food that triggers a thought, a smell that triggers a touch. and for that brief encounter where our souls cross in the hall, i am home.

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  364. My Grandmothers both passed away before I was old enough to appreciate them — one while I was a child and one when I was still an obnoxious teenager. The latter one tried to engage me in conversation, but I was always too busy.

    With a little age and maturity, I realized what I denied my grandmother, and also what I missed out on. So I started “adopting” some of the grandmothers who show up in my adult life. I can’t make up for the lost years, but I can try to add some joy to lives of a few lovely ladies.

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  365. My grandma lived in the Lower East Side of Manhattan from the time she emigrated from Poland in the 20s to the day she died in June 2006. I lived in California since I was 8 (I’m 32 now). And, sadly, since I didn’t get to see her often once my family moved to the west coast, my last memory, strangely, was the time i went to see her in 2002. She had been suffering from a progressive dementia and my dad told me to bring my aunt with me to visit her and that she wouldn’t have much to say. I walked in the door of her tiny apartment, my aunt behind me, and she looked up from the TV seemingly happy to see me (it had been 8 years).
    “Lola?!”
    “No, Grandma, it’s me, April… Joey’s daughter.”
    “Who’s Joey?”
    Joey is my dad, her son, the one that called her every Sunday. Not me, I relied on him to talk to her.

    Please call your grandma, wherever she is, no matter how if you have nothing to talk about and how painful that might be.

    And thanks, Helen.

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  366. .. my sister and I* got into an argument

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  367. My grandmother makes excellent Mac N Cheese that my siblings and I have been trying to replicate for over ten years but still haven’t succeeded. My best memory about that is probably just staying the night at her house all the time when I was younger and watching a Disney movie before going to bed then waking up and having breakfast with her. No one moment comes to mind with her.. ALTHOUGH just last week I was walking her to her car after my little brother’s varsity soccer game while Dad waited for him and when we got to the car she told me it was the first time anyone had ever walked her to her car. I was stunned, and still am pretty shocked, and don’t know how to tell Dad about it since she’s his mom..
    My other grandma is one of those who swears a lot, wants a hummer, and she smokes a pack a day. She adopted a half black/mexican baby when I was two or three years old and around the time I was ten or maybe a little younger my sister got into an argument with her over whether he was brown/chocolate or black. We of course thought he was brown because, well.. He was.
    My fondest memory of my great grandmother (who’s still around) is when I was about five years old and we were at a cemetery (I don’t remember why) and we found a box turtle! I have always LOVE animals so I was very excited about finding the turtle, and she told me, “He needs to go potty!” and picked him up with his bottom facing down and sure enough, he peed all over the place! I always wondered how she knew the turtle had to pee until a few years ago when I realized it was a defense mechanism.

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  368. when i came out as bisexual, my birth family decided i was less-than and stopped talking to me…

    GmaT was the only one who stated that i was still her granddaughter, no matter what…

    she was the first one who asked for the names and birthdates of my partners children, calling them her grandchildren…

    she rocks…and she knows it

    peace…

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  369. My Grandma on my mother’s side lived to be 98. She was a loving and caring person. She never said a bad word about anyone. She was also a wonderful cook. Whenever my family went to visit her, she would bake my husband his favorite gooseberry pie. She was also religious, but never pushed her religion on us. She was proud of the fact that she attended all 12 years of school and never missed a day…quite an accomplishment! Grandma loved to play cards with her family and friends. (I still have her card table for sentimental reasons.) My grandma passed away ten years ago and I believe she is my Guardian Angel. Whenever I am behind schedule or forced to wait in traffic, I tell myself that Grandma is keeping me out of harm’s way. I miss my grandma and think about her everyday. My daughter named her daughter after my grandmother. She was truly the “matriarch” of our family.

    I know the loss the Obama family must be feeling right now. “Toot” did a fine job raising such a remarkable person as Barack. I send my condolences to the Obama family.

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  370. my grandmothers have both now passed. Both I remember so dearly. My maternal grandmother was strong, to-the-point, never minced words. She worked into her early eighties and was fiercely independent. She was progressive in her views. I remember the way her home smelled, so delicious with whatever was cooking on the stove. I remember the way she wore her hair, her walk, her stance. I liked to make her laugh and I loved when she came to visit.

    My dad’s mom was to this day one of the kindest most gentle souls i have known. I loved to make her laugh too. She wore dresses every day, walked every day, worked hard every day volunteering for those with less than she. She died when i was a senior in college and though I was not there in that moment I did get to say my own goodbye to her. She rides with me I know. Though she did not get to meet my husband and sweet little one, she and my grandfather, my Papa are around our home. Art she had in her home is in ours and in my girls room. The other night my little one asked where did I get this painting, and I told her, my grandma. My little one replied, “she must have really loved me” and I said, oh yes she definitely does. I see her in my dreams every now and then dancing and so happy now reunited with my Papa. She was more reserved in her words at points but never with the love she shined on us.

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  371. Grandmothers ARE grand! I’m sure Toot is as proud of her grandson as he is of her. Look at the way he has pulled millions out of their living rooms to speak up and have a voice. Go Obama!

    My Grandma was the best. She made cinnamon rolls to die for, the world’s best cherry pie, and always had time for her children & grandchildren. 8 children, 33 grandchildren and 70+ great grandchilren. She died nearly 4 years ago and I still miss her laughter and would give anything for one more conversation, one more hug. I named my only child, a daughter, after her and I swear some of her spirit is alive and well in my ornery girl!

    She was born enroute to the US from Italy, given up for adoption in NYC by parents who couldn’t afford to feed her, and eventually rode an Orphan Train to Ohio, where she was adopted by a German Catholic farmer. She worked hard her whole life and never judged another soul and always had time to lend an ear or a hand.

    Love you, Grandma Josephine!

    Thanks for sharing your blog, Margaret and Helen! Can’t wait to read more after the election!

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  372. My Nana was all of about 4 foot 8 and ruled the roost. Even at her funeral the pastor referred to her as “The Little General”. Most people saw her as just an old lady, but to me she was one cool dude. My husband and I were living with her after he came home from Vietnam in 1969. No one thought it would work, but we had a ball. When he and I split up and he moved out, it was just Hazel and me. She seemed to relish the fact that I was dating and never raised questions no matter how late I came in.I remember the bell bottom pants we wore in the early 70’s. I would buy a new pair to wear on a hot date, and she and I would sit across the kitchen table each shortening one leg. We had some great talks. Two women, one born in 1908 the other in 1949, who would think we could have had so much in common. For sure, she was a cool old broad and I loved her.

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  373. She knew when to go pick dandelion greens so that they were good for eating, and she made the best pickles ever. They tasted exactly like those pickle spears served with your sandwich in a restaurant.

    Four generations after her, her sense of fun and silliness lives on in my granddaugter and her generation. A grandmother who plays hide-and-seek with your mother is not the norm. One really starts to worry when one gets home from school to learn that one’s mother spent an hour and a half in the closet before she figured Gramma was no longer looking for her.

    While I was in my teens, she spent six weeks with us, then she went back home to Cincinnati, had a heart attack and died. There’s still a hole in my heart from her leaving, 46 years after the fact.

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  374. I just love this site. I have sat here for the last 2 hours reading all the wonderful stories of grammas, nanas, etc. Some have put tears in my eyes. It just strikes me that it seems all of us have a common thread, being the past and family. This seems to be a pro-democratic site (I am definately an Obama fan). That being said, republicans will have the same stories with the same emotions and love and memories. I just can’t imagine a John McCain leaning site that could stir up the emotion that this site does. It feels like Christmas Eve and we are all sharing our stories. The prospect of HOPE seems to bring that out. I don’t know if I will be able to sleep tonight. Thank you to everyone who has posted on this topic tonight.

    Thank you Helen

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  375. I remember long, green shag rugs, dateloaf, kugel, and this really cool game my grandma had with balls that you threw, idk what it was called but it was the best game ever, and she played it with me whenever I visited her. Unfortunately, she died a year ago in October at the age of 93, though until she got sick she didn’t look a day over 80. I only wish I could look as beautiful as she did when I’m 93.

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  376. Re: iowasbestkeptsecret at 11:19 pm…”My grandmother gave me my first cigarette and glass of whiskey when I was 13, and taught me to eat things that looked scary like caviar and escargot…”

    🙂

    Oh goodness! Your grandma and my Gram would have hit it off great!
    My Gram never gave me a cigarette (though she smokes plenty of Kools, herself!), but being French, she poured me black coffee when I was 5 (and added lots of sugar when I made a face!), wine at Christmas when I was 10, and apricot brandy and warm milk when I was 12 and she wanted me to stay up late and talk with her in the kitchen before bed!

    And though we could never afford caviar, when she made escargot for parties at her employer’s house (the old rich has-been movie stars that lived in the hills behind Santa Barbara), she would almost always make extra to keep at home for us!

    She always had my back and even made my step-dad cry (I was hiding around the corner from the kitchen and saw it all!) when she thought he was being a mean unreasonable a**hole to us kids. I’ll say it again…don’t mess with an angry French woman!

    I do miss mon Gran’mere!

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  377. My grandmother died at the ripe old age of 96. I adored her, she was so much fun and full of energy. She traveled all over the world after my grandfather died. I even have a picture of her sitting on a camel in front of the pyramids! She passed on her wanderlust to my mother, who passed it on to me, and I to my daughter. She was interested in everything and everybody, I think that’s why she lived so long.
    Love you Grandma Fiedler!

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  378. My mother’s mother was one of the most important people in my life. She understood me better than my mother ever did. We connected on so many levels.

    I was fortunate to have her till I was almost 33. She got to see both of my children (her first great-grandchildren) and my daughter still remembers her even though she was only 3 at the time we went to visit Great Gran.

    I know Gran would be all for Obama and she’d be tickled to know that her side of the family and Obama’s mother’s family are distantly related (Obama’s mom is my 10th cousin).

    Gran died 25 years ago and there isn’t a day I don’t miss her.

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  379. My Grandma Helen loved to discuss politics. She was the person I would call if I had any questions about any person or platform. She was a registered Democrat, but didn’t always vote with her party. I remember her watching the Watergate trials every night and trying to explain what was happening to us. She passed away in 2006 and I am so sad she is not here to see Barack Obama using some of her kitchen table ideas.

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  380. My grandmother makes the best of the best of the best chinese dishes. She knows I’ve chosen to be vegetarian, so she began making incredible veggie dishes. I cannot even steam vegetables the way she does. She is on vacation in China right now, so she’s not at home with us. And I miss her dearly.
    I am so glad I stumbled on this website today. It’s going in my favorites, thankyou 🙂

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  381. Thanks Helen and Margaret, this blog has helped me get through this election stress.

    My grandmother on my mom’s side died when I was five, I don’t remember her.
    I never knew my father or his parents, but my brother’s father’s parents always treated me like their grandchild. I guess they’d be step-grandparents. They had 13 children themselves and we had lots of cousins, way too many to count.
    My memories of Nana Shadeck include my mom pin curling her hair, there always being kids around to play with, we played in the backyard where she had a huge willow tree and a shed that we used as a playhouse. As I got older, and Nana was a widow, she was always quite tarty…she loved her bleach blonde hair and makeup and shopping. The last memories of nana was at my cousins wedding reception, she looked lovely and was having the time of her life, dancing and being with family. That is where she died. So many people were upset about that. As if there hadn’t been a wedding she wouldn’t have died. But I always thought that it was a wonderful way to die, having a great time, surrounded by family. (aside from going in your sleep). I love seeing outspoken crazy old ladies, cause they remind me of how fun Nana was, and how thankful I am that they treated me just like one of their real grandchildren.

    Thanks for your blog, you’re an inspiration.

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  382. I just have to tell you one her little stories she would tell. it is not too dirty. I think if this lady could tell this story at 100 plus years, we all can take it. The story starts out,

    There was this laidy who was sick and they had to call for a doctor. Back in those days, the doctors would come to your house. THe doctor went into the bedroom and took a look at the laidy. The laidy told the doctor that she was sick again. The doctor asked her how may times she was bed ridden and the laidy said lots and lots of times and once or twice in the buggy. thats all!

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  383. “Ma” Conner of Boston, MA was mother and grandmother to a lot more than her 9 children and 20-some grandchildren. She may have been little in size, but the reach of her arms was huge. I got it that she really loved having a big dinner with all the family and anyone else who wanted to come.

    Less than a month before her death, she rolled out her last pie crust. At her funeral (after 96 years), a priest said he never knew her name was Mary, because everyone called her Ma.

    I pray that Barak and Michelle Obama enjoy many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

    John Sullivan, Oakland, CA

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  384. After my mother died when I was 7 and my father fell apart, we all retreated to live with my Nana. Nana and PapPap made my childhood a joyous experience in which I learned to pleasure that can be had from helping another without being asked first, of working hard, and of holding onto family traditions. Nana had emphysema and became weaker and more feeble during the years that I lived with her, but she was always there for me. Twice a week, I scrubbed the kitchen and bathroom floors and porcelain, because I wanted to make her life easier. I made her breakfasts of scrambled eggs and toast, and I took a child’s delight in asking, “Nana, may I have a banana?”

    My half-brother took his first steps from me to Nana. She died when I was 16, and I miss her every day. My favorite photograph of her was shot in 1929 when she was 16. She was dressed in her father’s clothes, had a pipe in her mouth, her hair slicked back, and her best girl friend sitting on her lap.

    Thanks Margaret and Helen for providing a place to register these memories.

    Peace to you, Toot, and to you, Nana!

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  385. I love both of my grandmothers dearly and I wouldn’t change either of them for the world. I have learned so much from them and they have helped to shape the person I am today.
    My paternal grandmother has been the greatest influence of the two and is the woman I would love to become in time. She is the strongest woman I know. Not just because she is a cancer survivor who has lost three sisters already to different variations of the same disease. I remember when my grandfather died it was one of the hardest days of my life (my grandfather was my hero for too many reasons to count and he was the one who held the family together). My grandma was the stongest person at the funeral, only shedding a few tears while I and many of the rest of us cried for hours. My grandma, with the help of my uncle her oldest son, stepped up to the plate to bring the family back together. Three years after my grandpa died my uncle died from heart complications. Despite the fact that my grandma blamed herself that her son died, because she wasn’t there with him, she still managed to pull herself together and continue to hold the family together this time on her own. Without my grandma’s strength I know everyone will go their separate ways and the family as we know it will cease to exist.
    I only hope that my grandma will be around for many more years to come and continue to be the guiding light in all our lives.
    Thankyou Helen for giving me the chance to share my grandma with you.

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  386. My dad’s mother, Ollie Mossie Kivette McHenry of East Tennessee, was well into her 30’s when women got to vote the first time. Dressed in her finest, she was proudly pinning on her hat when Grandpa decided he should tell her how to vote.

    “Nothing doing!” she told my grandfather, according to my Dad, who was then about ten. “I’ve waited too long for this to let some man tell me what to do with my vote!” She then marched out the door without waiting for Grandpa to catch up with her.

    In honor of Grandmother McHenry (who I only knew through my father’s stories because she died when I was a baby), I will proudly dress up to vote tomorrow for Barak Obama. In honor of the support and encouragement Grandmother McHenry gave my dad to work his way out of Appalachian poverty all the way through graduate school, and in honor of Senator Obama’s wonderful grandmother, I’m delighted to make a donation in their memories to help someone else move ahead.

    One of the most exciting things I have ever seen in my life was Obama’s grin after his national TV appearance last week and during the Jon Stewart show. Thank you, “Toot,” not only for helping your grandson to spread joy, but also to live it.

    Oakland, CA

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  387. My grandma always supported me, no matter what. She set an amazing example of perseverance, strength, grace, and love. I loved her so much and her death (also from cancer) several years ago was so hard. It still feels so close. Now that I think of it, it was more than 6 years ago, but it still feels fresh.

    She was so wonderful and I miss her so much. I don’t have children yet, but I wish she could be around in a physical state for them to know. I know she will be with us in spirit forever. I love you, Grandma 🙂

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  388. My Grandmother, wow what an insperaton she was to me. One of the things that really sticks in my mind is when I went to visit her, we would always sit in the front room and visit for a couple of hours and she would tell me about her past. She was born in 1898. She had some of the best stories to tell. ONe of my cousins put all the stories together and put it in a book. The book is now in the universtity of Wisconsin Library. The real part of my story is how that this woman was 102 years old and always insisted that she make her and myself something to eat before i went home. At 102 she set out a meal for a king and we always had to have one of her sugar cookies that she made her self and a bowl of ice cream. And when I left her place, she lived in an upper apartment, she was alway standing at the window that faced the street and waving goodby to me untill I could not see her any more. She died at 104 and was the light that shined in my liffe. I do so miss her.

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  389. My maternal grandmother became a doctor back in the day when women were expected to attend college to receive their M-R-S.

    When I was born, she had retired. However, she still practiced medicine at a local health clinic in the town she lived. The clinic was a recipient of the “1000 Points of Light” in the early 90’s. She also volunteered her medical services at a reservation in North Dakota over the holiday seasons.

    Her efforts didn’t just stop with medicine. She volunteered at the town library sorting out books for the annual book sale. She also fixed up old and new dolls and sewed clothes for them for Toys for Tots. It was her belief that every girl deserved a doll. She was also well-known at the local animal shelter, where she made sure that every cat received attention.

    Not to mention, she took my mom and I into her home when my mom returned to college. I went along due in an effort to receive a better education.

    My grandmother, knowing my love for acting, signed me up at the local theater for a couple weeks to participate with other children in acting. Being that I did not know how to swim, my grandmother made sure that I learn. First, she tried to teach me. Although not visual, I will forever have the image of my grandmother, in her 70’s at the time, in a swimsuit that dated back to the 1950’s.. or 60’s. My grandmother also purchased a bike, knowing how much I loved to ride around. I absolutely hated that rusted out bike. She insisted that I always keep it locked on the bike rack when out in public. I never could understand who would want to steal it. However, in the end, I have a soft spot for that bike.

    My mom, who was working on her Master’s Degree at the time, was away quite a bit. So, my grandmother would come after me if I didn’t practice my violin. She taught me how to sew, and she was one of a very few to witness me in a very hot and hooky snowman costume, singing as well as a pig.

    On occasion, she and I would walk to the local Dairy Queen, where she would treat me to a dilly bar or a blizzard. My grandmother taught me that Angela Lansbury was not just a witch from “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”. Nope. She solved crimes in Maine playing the roll of Jessica in “Murder She Wrote.”

    My grandmother also made sure that I knew the wonders of “Miracle Grow” on Tomatoes.

    When my hamster died, she came up with the idea of putting Teddy (that was the hamster’s name) in the freezer to wait until my mom came home so that we could all bury Teddy together.

    My grandmother did quite a bit for my mom and I. What was sad is that I didn’t see it until it was too late. The thing is, my grandmother didn’t have the best delivery. She used zingers quite a bit with family and those zingers clouded all of the wonderful things that she did.

    I never did thank her for having such a strong impact on my life. Then again, I was only starting to realize it around the time she died, about four years ago.

    It’s so easy to find the negative, which she did… and boy did she verbalize it!!! However, even in the darkest of times, there is a bit of light. One just has to seek it. Those zingers that my grandma threw out there were easy to spot. However, by peeling those away, it as amazing to see how many amazing things she did for those around her, and for even those she did not know.

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  390. I want to buy one of your T-Shirts for my grandmother….do they come in 3X?

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  391. My grandmother on my father’s side died the only a few months before I was born. I always have imagined what my life would have been like if she could have been around to tell my dad off like mothers always do.
    My grandmother on my mother’s side is a blessing. When my mother’s fiance passed away she drove across three states within forty-eight hours to be with us. I will never forget how strong we all felt when she showed up on our doorstep. She was like the glue we all needed to keep it together in the following weeks.

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  392. My grandma was my sanity during a very abusive childhood. She was elegant, kind and thoughtful and whatever goodness I can do in this world, I owe to her. I miss her terribly and feel very much an orphan now, and tho jealous of Obama for getting to live with his grandma, I am grateful always that mine was a part of my life.

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  393. Helen, can you add Obama’s Grandmother’s Guest Book to your blog post. I am sure many would want to post their condolences.

    http://www.legacy.com/ChicagoTribune/GB/GuestbookView.aspx?PersonId=119723905

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  394. I stand by the fact that my grandmother is the best person in the entire world. Whenever we go out to eat, there’s always some shenanigan.
    My best related story with her though, was at a simple restaurant. I’m quite the connoisseur of hot sauce, so as I tried the “Burn the face off of your future generations of kids” hot sauce they had, I simply had to have it.
    “I wonder if they sell it at the counter..” I whined. And here, was my dear old grandmother, leaning across the table. She whispers to me, “Put it in your purse.”
    Of course, my grandmother is god. I stole that hot sauce, and I’m damn proud of it.
    My grandmother assists me in the theft of not only hot sauce, but tea and candies too.
    And she likes the purple suckers best.

    🙂

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  395. She wasn’t my grandmother, but she was. We lived overseas, too far for those holiday jaunts to grandma’s house, but Grandma Pete lived just down the mountain from us. She was a teacher, just like my own “real” grandmas, and she was a strong woman who was feisty, loving, and prodded you to do the best you could. She survived the Japanese prison camps in the Philippines, and then returned to the Philippines to continue the mission work the war interrupted. She was Grandma to the mission kids and her purse always held extra packs of Dentyne for “her grandkids”. It wasn’t until I was 10 that I realized I wasn’t really related to Grandma Pete, but my heart always knew she was “my” grandma and I was her grandkid. I miss her everyday – and every time I see Dentyne, I smile.

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  396. My grandmother was the best. I didn’t know my grandfather because when he decided one day that he would hit my grandmother she beat the shit out of him and ran him out of town. She taught me to be strong. When she died she weighed 400 pounds. Nobody messed with my “Granada”!

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  397. My grandmother ALWAYS called me Francis. Francis do this, Francis do that. Which was strange because my name is Susan.

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  398. My grandmother gave me my first cigarette and glass of whiskey when I was 13, and taught me to eat things that looked scary like caviar and escargot. She was feminine and strong and not a little crazy, mostly in a good way. She decided what she wanted, and went after it. She didn’t let rules – or people – tell her what was proper. She did lots of things that were shocking or not ladylike or whatever other adjective her peers chose to use… and she also made and lost millions by being the rebel. Mostly she was happy, I think. Sadly she suffered a stroke, probably the most painful thing that can befall a brilliant mind, and was trapped in a silent hell for 5 years before she found peace. Someday I may find the balls to live up to my grandmother’s vision of me. I’d be happy to have even half of her guts. I know I had all of her love.

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  399. My grandma is 89 and still maintains her own home. She watches the Cleveland Indians and the Cleveland Browns whenever she can, but I don’t think she likes basketball much. I talk to her every week, and every week we solve the problems of the world. She wishes we (all her grandkids) lived closer, but, she also understands that people have to move on, have to live their lives. She’d still be online if it wasn’t for macular degeneration. She used to sew and to knit, but stopped that a long time ago, when the arthritis made it too painful. I still have the towels she gave me as a “going to college” present. They’re just regular bath towels, but they have my last name stitched into the hem. So they wouldn’t get “misplaced” in the dorm.
    Olga, we all love you!

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  400. My grandmothers died when I was a young person, and my memories of them are of aloof women. Both of them had given birth to their first child well before they could vote.
    That said, I cried when I heard that Barack Obama’s grandmother died today. I have prayed for the last two weeks that his grandmother would live to see her grandson elected president. I do not have warm, fuzzy memories of my grandmothers, but my mother and mother-in-law taught me what grandparents could be.
    Grandparents totally believe in the child. They see the future in their grandchild. My grandson cannot say anything that resembles “Grandma” but he does say, “Bama.” I am so proud.
    VOTE!

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  401. My grandmother’s maiden name was Stumpy…and she went thru her entire married life by the nick-name “Stump”. Can you even imaginge that?? I miss Stump. She was da bomb.

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  402. I’m still laughing about the Grandma and the errant shotgun! My grandmother was a teacher, married to a teacher. They had 5 kids, and all 5 of them became teachers. It was genes, I guess, that made my brother and I become teachers, as well as two of my nieces plus a nephew. I think it was Nanna’s example that started it. Nanna, you would be so proud of the world you left us, with all its turmoil, but all its hope and promise.

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  403. My grandmother bit me once. Still have the scar to prove it.

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  404. When my Grandmother was 83 she started walking five miles a day! She’s 84 now and we don’t know where the hell she is…

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  405. My grandmother just sat in the corner like a door stop. The whole family could be over and there she would be sitting in the corner like a door knob But if you sat close enough to her, she would tell the filthiest jokes you’d ever wanna here. Miss her lots….

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  406. RIP Madelyn Dunham. So sad she missed seeing her wonderful grandson becoming the President.

    My Nana was born in the Scottish highlands and was a marvellous story teller. On her visits to Montreal (from England) I remember being entranced by her recollections of growing up in a small, very Presbyterian town where her father was the local banker. She and her brother Willie were always up to no good and getting away with it. Just what a child wants to hear!

    Just after WW11 when I was a one year old, my grandparents came over and brought my Jumbo, which Nana had made for me. Jumbo was a white cotton elephant with blue accents and red button eyes. He actually looked a bit like a rag doll with an elephant’s head. Jumbo was my security blanket and my mother actually had to recover him at one point (very traumatic I can tell you). 62 years later, I still have Jumbo, although he lives in the closet, and it is a reminder of Nana who is long gone.

    Because my grandparents lived so far away, it was always a very special treat when they came to visit. In those days it was an ocean crossing and my grandmother was not a good sailor.

    Unfortunately I never met my paternal grandmother as she died before my parents were married, but I understand she was a lovely person.

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  407. I’m pretty sure I’ll always remember two specific memories of my grandmother Mary, though there’s a flood of them crowding for attention at the moment. One was when I turned 16 – she took me to NYC for my birthday, just the two of us, and we went to see Victor/Victoria with Julie Andrews. We were running a bit late for the show, and Mary was trying to flag a cab and having no luck. So my 78 year old grandmother struck out going north on 6th Avenue, and we walked the 2 miles in December to get to the show on time. It was one of the first times I broke out of my childhood selfishness to really see her as the determined and take charge woman that she was, and it impressed the hell out of me.

    The other memory is one of talking with her on the phone, when a series of questions led to my coming out as queer. She was a little flustered, but said ‘well that’s good, that’s nice’ and was supportive from that moment on. That memory still brings tears to my eyes, more than 10 years later, and I wish it were a memory more grandchildren shared, since it’s just incomparable for me.

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  408. My Gram was very brave. She worked for years in a factory. This was long before there were Unions. I’ll never forget the day my Dad took me to visit Gram at the Factory. We walked into the loud, cold and filthy room and there was Gram, standing on a table holding up a hand made sign that read “Union”…no, wait…that was a movie.

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  409. I lucked out bigtime when it comes to grandmas. They were very different people, but both very loving, smart, interesting people. I’ve lost them both and I don’t think I’ll ever really get over it.

    The first memory that comes to mind about my maternal grandma (Marilyn Kelly) is how she would bring me breakfast in bed on Saturday mornings so that I could watch cartoons. Lucky Charms and peanut butter toast cut into triangles. She spoiled me rotten, but at the same time did not let me get away with anything, either.

    My paternal grandma, Helen Doherty, was a devout Catholic in the best sense of the faith – kind, loving and nonjudgmental. I remember her making me bunny-shaped pancakes, praying the Rosary with her and the classic children’s stories she would tell before bedtime.

    I have a few of my grandmothers’ belongings and I treasure them beyond the telling of it. There’s absolutely nothing in the world better than a good grandma who loves you unconditionally. I miss them so much.

    Thank you for the opportunity to share.

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  410. My Grandmother was my aunt.

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  411. Grandma Lou was great. She used to make me pancakes right after she finished shaving in the morning.

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  412. Every summer I spent a week with my Grandma Anderson and one summer when I was about 12 she taught me how to sew. I still sew to this day (that 45 years later) and I am the one in my family to hem the prom dresses and fix the rips & tears. I continued the tradition and arranged for my kids to spend a week with each of their grandmothers each summer, and now I try to have each of my grandchildren spend a week with me each year. Those were special times for me and I hope they will be special memories for my grandkids when they are adults.

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  413. My grandmother raised me from the time I was 8 until I was 12, when she becamse too sick to care for me. She died when I was 14 and she was just 53. My fondest memories of her are of watching TV with her and my grandpa, curled up in between them on their big bed with a bunch of pillows, watching Maude. I am sure I watched other shows with them but episodes of Maude stick in my head more than any other.

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  414. My grandma helped raise me. She could cook, sew, make furniture, wallpaper, garden and then can the produce……you name it, she did it. I could not choose just one favorite memory, but she’s been gone almost 23 years and I miss her every day still. Rest in peace, Toot. You did a fine job and you have a grandson to be proud of.

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  415. My great-grandma died the day after Christmas, 2004. I was in my late twenties. I consider myself incredibly lucky.

    She liked to do crafts; she didn’t like to spend money. She crocheted herself a hat using plastic grocery bags. She made “turquoise” jewelry using dyed dried potatoes.

    My favorite memory is from a car ride. She & I were in the back seat; my grandmother (her daughter) was in the front seat, with her feet up on the dashboard. Great-grandma leans over to me and conspiratorially whispers, “What do you think would happen if that airbag went off with her feet up there?” I respond with something like, “That wouldn’t be good…”

    Great-grandma starts _cackling_. Grandma asks, “What are you laughing about back there?” Great-grandma tells her. And _Grandma_ starts cackling. “Well, I guess I’d have a busted leg!”

    My grandmas are hilarious. I’m so glad my grandma is still around.

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  416. I never met my maternal grandmother, and my paternal grandmother lived in another state until I was a teenager, but I remember getting excited when grandma came to visit during the Christmas holidays. I’d sit on her lap and drink her in.

    We were pen pals for a brief while, too. Now, she lives two houses down and I don’t visit her nearly as much as I should. 😦

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  417. I had two wonderful grandmothers. My mother’s mother died when I was 14, after taking care of an invalid husband for almost 20 years. He outlived her by about a year. “Grimma” was a wonderful cook, and my mother still makes her wonderful English muffins. One of my uncles died in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge, and my grandmother never spoke of him again. She had also lost another son to illness before my mother was born. Her strength of spirit has been an example for me to follow in the losses I have experienced in my adult life.

    My earliest memory is of my father’s mother. I called her “Dingmana” because I couldn’t say Grandmother. I was 19 months old, and it was Christmas Eve. I must have been restless in church (my grandfather was the minister), and Dingmana too me down a dark hallway leading from the sanctuary, and we were in a room with wonderful white furniture just my size(the nursery department, but what did I know). I sat at a table and she put a white square in front of me (paper), and gave me these wonderful sticks that made marks on the white square. I never look at fat kindergarten crayons without thinking of Dingmana!

    Dingmana was German, born in this country, but her parents were German. She was a wonderful cook, and made about 10 different kinds of special cookies at Christmas. She was unfailingly kind, and loved all of her grandchildren without reservation. She died when I was 22, the only one of my grandparents I was able to relate to as an adult. Both of my grandmothers were strong women of great faith, and I am honored to have known both of them.

    My heart goes out to the Obama family. They have lost a wonderful treasure. She will live on in the hearts of those who knew her. I know she is so proud of her grandson.

    Helen and Margaret, thank you so much for this blog. I have so enjoyed reading the refreshing comments you have written.
    Thanks for writing–really!–I mean it!

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  418. My grandmother and my grandfather celebrated 70 years of marriage just before he died, and she had two “single” years, she would say with a smile over her sadness. She was strong, opinionated in close company and was a no-nonsense woman.

    She was born at the end of the 19th century; lived to be 92. She taught us how to play Crazy Eights, played “Old Maid” with us, gave me the sweetest arm rubs to help me nap when I was a little girl, made the best German potato salad.

    She was a wife and a mother her whole life. But, the thing that still amazes me about her was her incredible gift as a photographer. She was given a camera at the age of 12; she even developed tintypes (of which I am lucky to have a few, in addition to a great pic of her and my great aunt Carlene sitting on the running board of their dad’s Model-T when it broke down on a Sunday drive). She could have rivaled Ansel Adams. But, she chose marriage, loyalty to the family business (Stroot hardware), and the challenges of raising four children.

    She survived a painful 2 year separation from my Grandfather during a time in our history where it was unheard of that a Catholic couple would separate. He had a drinking problem and she used to say she just got fed up trying to raise her kids AND her husband. This was in the earlier years of their marriage, and yet, they remained married for over 70 years!

    Edith Stroot-Kohl was her name. She lived in the same small Illlinois town most of her life. I can still she her piercing blue eyes, smell the M&M cookies she baked and hear the funny cackle of her laugh (we call it the Kohl-girl cackle, since a lot of her granddaughters have it, me included). She taught me how to fake not having the Old Maid, but she also taught me that love, and loyalty, and family are more priceless than anything in our lives.

    My heart is breaking for Senator Obama and his whole family. Maybe she went on to be sure that all his angels are lined up on his side tomorrow. God bless you, Toot. I hope your country will make you proud tomorrow and elect your grandson to light our way back to the path we seemed to have lost.

    Thanks for writing, Margaret and Helen. It makes the world seem more kind, more real and more hopeful that we all want to believe in something greater than ourselves.

    Hugs,
    Jess

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  419. My grandma died in 1981 and I remember when my mom would travel alot, my grandmama used to always buy me and my brother hamburgers. It’s a small thing but it was always a happy memory. She also taught me how to play solitaire. She was a great lady! Her nickname from my grandpa was also Toot. It’s a sad bittersweet victory for Obama to not share tomorrow with his beloved grandmother. Rest in peace dear lady, you did well…

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  420. Other than the time she chased me around the house with a knife, she was great. She made the best pound cake and in high school when I was a bit lacking in the trunk department, she taught me a little secret about fake junk. I loved that woman. She drove a VW beatle. It caught fire one day so then she got a green Volvo. Somebody hit that in a mall parkng lot. Just crushed the shit out of it. Then she got a caddie and that’s all she wrote!!!!

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  421. My wife and I have been enjoying your comments over these nail-biting days.

    My Grandma came to this country in 1904 in steerage class from Norway. She had her 14 year old brother with her (she was 18) and had to find a place to stay in New York while he was in quarantine at Ellis Island. She had no English at the time, and I marvel at how she survived. When her brother emerged, she took him on the train to Chicago where she had work as a house maid waiting. She was large, tough, and formidable.
    My fondest memory of her was when my Dad had what they used to call a nervous breakdown. He and my Mom left me in the care of Ma and Pa, as they were called. I was about 10. I remember her warmth and strength and terrible worried look when I came in with a large gash in my forehead from some stupid game. Her cooking was unforgettable and completely unmeasured (and therefore unrepeatable).

    She’s been gone for over thirty years, but she’s still here somehow.

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  422. My grandmother ran with wolves before it was fashionable to do so.

    She hung out with artists and writers and kept a sleeping bag in the back of her car for spontaneous trips to Baja.

    In her younger years, she picked fruit (between Texas and California) staked gold claims in the mountains; and in her later years was an avid rock hound and gathered gems in the desert and made jewelry.

    She may not have been “traditional” but she was the coolest grandma ever!

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  423. My grandmother was a quiet woman. I really didn’t spend time getting to know her with words. But, she would play the piano for me and I was enthralled. She whistled a whispery whistle when she did housework and, she always made your favorite dish when you came. We never stopped to think how much extra cooking she must have done to do that. My funniest memory was walking in the door one time and hearing grandma kind of yell out, “Get Him!” Gorgeous George was wrestling on her little black and white tv and my quiet grandma was cheering him on.

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  424. My grandmother was young because my mom was a teenager when I came along. When I was 8 my grandmother taught me how to knock on people front doors and then run like hell before the answered. Then we’d split a beer and have a good laugh!

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  425. Both my grandmothers were teachers who retired, came back to teach the next generation, retired again, came back to teach another generation. They were strong willed, trail-blazers who cared for their families through the Great Depression, held to hope during WWII, and gave their love to their grandchildren who fought in Vietnam and who protested that war. They believed in family, in God, and in country. They believed in giving back to community, to the world. And oh they believed in that unfathomable human spirit to strive, to achieve, to give. They were two women who taught their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to reach for the stars – and to light the pathway for others. They knew we could not all be trailblazers – but we could all hold up the light.

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  426. My grandmom is going downhill fast these days and it’s awful to watch. I’ve been thinking a lot about her influence recently and two things will always stick out to me as the fun, carefree grandmom she is — she taught me how to play poker at 8 and we had an ongoing deal for as long as I could remember – if I got her a bottle of beer, I got the first sip. I’m raising a Yuengling to you tonight, Grandmom.

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  427. I loved my grandmother dearly. She dyed her hair blond, drank her coffee black, smoked cigarettes and loved an off-color joke.

    I inherited my love of animals from her. She fed the alley cats as well as her own–one lived to be 21! She always had nasty little french poodles named FiFi that she spoiled rotten. She had big dogs, too, with names like Duke and Duchess. There were generations of squirrels in her yard that she had trained to take unshelled peanuts out of her teeth! It was magic to a little kid. Oh, and the parakeets–they all said “Pretty bird, pretty bird.”

    When I had to put my first cat to sleep I told him all about her. After the vet left our house I sat on the living room floor and cried. Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw her walk across the room with him–she had a big smile on her face and he was prancing like a kitten. It was such a comfort and very, very real.

    She was Swiss and made the most amazing gingerbread houses every Christmas with icicles hanging off the roofs and little metal ice skaters on a mirrored pond. She taught me how to decorate cakes and guess what–I became a baker.

    But what I loved the most is that she is the only person in my entire life (I’m 57) who believed I was perfect just the way I was and that I could be anything I wanted to be. She had 16 grandchildren and was able to make us all believe we were her favorite.

    But I know that I really was.

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  428. My Mom’s Mom was an immigrant from Slovenia, came over before the first World War. She was a great cook–made her own noodles, which I remember hanging on clotheslines strung every which-way across her kitchen.
    She made Poteca, a wonderful nut bread made by rolling out the yeast dough paper thin over the whole kitchen table, then spread with ground nuts and spices and rolled up & baked as loaves.
    I could go on about the food, but suffice it to say our visit once a year for a few weeks must have had an effect: I became a professional cook, and years later when I worked in a retirement home, I made her recipies. One day one of the old women came up to me and asked ‘where did you learn to make Poteca?’ and it turned out she’d had a Slovenian neighbor growing up.
    So I made a connection from on grandmother to another. Would that we all could be so connected.

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  429. That was really lovely, Helen. I mean it.

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  430. My grandma’s homemade tortillas.

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  431. I’ve had my grandmothers on my mind this week. In fact, I wrote to the one who’s still living just this morning. She’s 91, and in a nursing home in Tennessee. And for Halloween, I posted on my blog a true ghost story about my grandmother who died in 2001. Here’s a link to the story:

    http://beachhouseintheburbs.blogspot.com/2008/10/grandmas-ghosts.html

    It makes me sad to think that here Barack Obama is on the verge of making history and he’s grieving at the very same time.

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  432. I have done more writing about my grandmothers than about anything else in my life. One was the greatest person I ever knew; one, sadly, was lost when I was too young to know; and one (a step-grandmother) could use a good dose of people skills.

    I wrote and delivered the eulogy for my grandmother who was the greatest. It was the most difficult and most rewarding thing I have ever done. I hope she would have appreciated it.

    I wish I could make some of my writing about Granny public, but it is, as they say, not quite ready for prime time. There are still a bit too many harsh words about my mother for publication. I’m working on it.

    Wizzybus
    wizzybus.wordpress.com

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  433. Nana Alice: Every summer I would go camping with her on the White River in Bethel, VT. We would fish, and hike. We’d go wading in the river, and sometimes take an innertube ride down it. In my mind’s eye she is walking down a dirt road, wearing bellbottom jeans and a bandana in her hair. She is laughing. She was always laughing.

    Nana Marie always had some crafts for us to do. We’d make construction paper books for my mom – gluing pictures cut out from magazines or old greeting cards with flour-and-water paste. And noone has yet been able to make peanut butter cookies quite as well as she did. Yum! I can almost smell them just thinking about her

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  434. My grandmother was a deaf mute. She used to act out bedtime stories for us. They lasted like 3 hours long but we loved them. We never got enough sleep on nights when she put us to bed.

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  435. My Granny use to tie small bits of meat to my toys so that the family dog would follow me around. I never quite understood that…

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  436. My grandmother helped raise my brother, sister and I while my mom worked full time as a single mother. I will be forever grateful to her for being there so we didn’t have to go into day care or be watched by strangers. She gave me a love for family and heritage. I used to love and sit with her looking at all the old family photographs and I never ever got tired of the stories she’d tell me about the good old days, even when I’d heard them all a million times. When she passed a few years ago the only thing I wanted was her old love letters form my grandpa when he was in the army during WWII (she made me wait til she had passed to read them because they were newlyweds and the letters were a little spicy!) and the beautiful black and white wedding pictures that she had of herself and all her brothers and sisters. I cherish them and have them displayed proudly on my wall. I miss her more than I can say and I thank you for reminding me what a gift I had.

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  437. I never knew any of my grandparents, but I came across an old-time picture of one of my grandmothers. She was sitting in a group of people, all dressed very properly… each one was contemplating a piece of fruit.

    Hers was the banana!

    Wish we’d met. I named by blog handle after her: Lulu Maude.

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  438. I remember the food all my grandmothers used to make. My paternal grandmother made a lamb each Easter that used to make the whole house smell wonderful, and my maternal grandmother made an artery-clogging plum pudding and hard sauce that was impossible to resist. My stepgrandmother used to make a chocolate cake with mint frosting that we called “toothpaste” cake. I miss them all. 😦

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  439. I don’t even let my children be alone with their Grandma Margaret. She might put a cigarett out on them… but they love her so what can I do. She says innapropriate things at times and doesn’t speak to one of the grandkids on account of who she married. She makes great pie. Everyone laughs when she says Want some pie? Is that a good memory? I don’t know. She thinks I wear too much make-up.

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  440. We called my Grandmother Creepy Grandma because she kind of was. She had one good eye and just an empty socket for the other. She would sneak into our rooms on nights when she was the sitter and just scare the crap out of us. I miss her. Good times.

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  441. My Grandma always covered her mouth when she laughed (so her dentures wouldn’t fall out). She was a great cook and sent care packages of homemade chocolates every christmas. She had a terrior dog that she would sing a “Hullie Hoop” song and have the dog jump through the hoop. She cheated at 31 (she pretended to put her money in when she lost) and rubbernecked at all card games (therefore her card hand was always pressed tight against her bosom). She also tried to secretly point to colors around her when playing Uno if her teammate had a wild to play. She is now in a nursing home with dementia. She mumbles most of the time, but occasionally yodles at the top of her voice and begs people that walk by her room to COME HERE, she is now the psuedo scary lady at the home. I Love her and get to see her this week.

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  442. Fortunately my grandmother is alive and well at almost 88. Lately, little expressions that she used that I don’t hear anymore have been popping up in my head. I love these expressions and wonder (secretly hope?) that, like so many of the names of her era, they may work their way back into fashion, before they are completely forgotten:
    “For crying in a milk pail!”
    “Oh, Daddy!”
    “Mercy!” or “Mercy me!”
    and my favorite………
    “Son of a peanut!”

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  443. My grandmother grew up during the mining union wars in West Virginia. She was at the train station when Mother Jones and John L. Lewis arrived to help the coal miners form a union. I recall her telling me that when she saw Mother Jones she was disappointed. Instead of the golden haired angel sent to deliver them from the poor working conditions, company store and poverty, she saw a dumpy middle aged women in a dark wool coat and hat. She always laughed when she told that story.

    Despite being dirt poor, she managed to achieve a teaching degree and taught art for many years.
    She dreamed of going to Paris, and seeing the Renoir’s in person.

    When I was 5 or so she took me to Washington DC on a train. We spent Christmas there and stayed to see John F Kennedy’s inauguration speech.

    She taught me many things. Tolerance, diversity and the love of art.

    I have been to France twice, I have even visited Limoges, the home of her beloved Renoir.

    I love her and I think of her every day.
    She was one in a million and I am a better person for having her in my life.

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  444. My grandmother, “B”, was (and still is) the only person in my life who has ever loved me just for being me…she never once asked me to be anything other than who I am. She accepted me just as I was and told me every day that she loved me because I was the very best person she knew. She’s been gone for almost 30 years, but there still isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her wisdom, kindness, compassion, empathy and love. What an enormous gift she gave me! And when things have gotten tough during the years, I just reach out for her hand and somehow she finds a way to reach me and say…”I love you, Carolann, just the way you are!” How many times she has brought me through the both the good & bad…just by giving me the memory of her perfect love…thank you for letting me share her with you, Helen & Margaret. She taught me how to be the best Nana ever to my own grandchildren. Isn’t it amazing how love just keeps on keeping?

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  445. I love my grandmothers, but I only have good memories with one grandmother since I lived far away from the other, so I hardly saw her.

    But, I think my favorite memories with my Grammy were when I spent the night at her house. We used to have tea parties, and she would always ask me if I wanted “tea with my sugar”

    Also, she made the best deviled eggs ever.

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  446. My grandma was quite simply the most important person in my life for many reasons that are too complicated to put in a blog. So I relate to Barack Obama and feel his pain today.

    However, my grandma is not gone. She is with me in spirit every day. And now I believe Toot has joined her on the other side.

    I hope Barack can feel as close to his grandma as I do to mine even though she’s on the other side.

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  447. My grandmothers were very different from each other. Nana (Mom’s mother) grew up privileged with a strict D.A.R., oh-so-proper, background. Grandma Stella was born to Sicilian immigrants and, as a teen, cared for her siblings while her parents worked in the local factory. From Grandma, I learned how to make Italian fig cookies and tomato sauce, how to play Pinochle, and how to say the rosary. Nana, who was widowed before I was born, was probably the first truly independent woman I knew. Speaking her mind, handing her personal business, debating politics. She also tutored me in Geometry so that I raised my lowly D to an A.

    Remarkable women, each in her own special way.

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  448. I am fortunate enough to have both of my grandmothers alive today. We are not sure how much longer they will be here, but they are here now and I love them very much.

    I remember the food and the love in that food my Memere made. She is French Canadian and spent many hours every Sunday making a family meal for all of us to sit down and eat together. There was always a sense of community and love in that food. It was so much more than sustenance.

    My mom’s mom or Gram as we call her was much different. But the love she provides is so much the same. She is the most accepting and lovely woman I’ve ever known. She never has anything rude or mean to say about anyone and has accepted all of her children/grandchildren’s paths with amazing grace. I remember the buckwheat pancakes she made for us when we visited on weekends and the box of Honey Nut Cheerios she kept for us which were a big treat back in the 70’s and 80’s.

    Both of my grandmothers have taught me the meaning of unconditional love. They are the centers at both sides of my family. I love them both deeply. They are the magnets that keeps us all on our axis and I simply cannot imagine a world without them. I know someday I will have to, and that knowledge gives me sympathy and empathy for Senator Obama today. God bless you and your family.

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  449. Dear Helen,

    Because of the time difference, I am usually running a day behind on your posts.

    Yours was a beautiful tribute to grandmothers in general and Obama’s in particular. She did herself proud and the evidence is in her grandson.
    She knew, so she didn’t have to wait around any longer. He will carry on her legacy of love.

    I never knew either of my grandmothers so I missed out on cinnamon rolls and other goodies. But I happily adopted one whenever I could. That was never a problem because with grandmas, there is always room for one more – or two – or – three – or – – – – – –

    Grandmas are a special breed because of their years, accummulated wisdom and unconditional love. I am a lucky grandma now and tickled pink to be one!

    Aloha!

    Jean

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  450. I had two fabulous grandmas — and I’ve got special recipes from each of them. Just this weekend we had baked apples – bless grandma for NOT including that “healthy” oatmeal in the sugar/butter/cinnamon topping.

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  451. I had two fabulous grandmas — and I’ve got special recipes from each of them. Just this weekend we had baked apples – bless grandma for NOT including that “healthy” oatmeal in the sugar/butter/cinnamon topping.

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  452. My grandmother used to always say to me, “You vant a chicken sandvich?” And she would make it on challah with mayo and a little skin. And she made doughnuts too, which astonished me. She had about a million plants in her living room in the Grand Concourse in the Bronx and she loved to tell us their progress. She also used mayo on the plants to make their leaves shine. She was a “fancy” lady as my mother used to say. My mom was from Brooklyn and anyone from the Bronx was too fancy for her. But I loved my Grandmother and the “hassenblossom” she made every Thanksgiving. I think it was some kind of fried dough, that was flaky and covered in powdered sugar. She met my daughter when she was born and her mind wasn’t very sharp then. She kept saying “He’s such a doll.” Grandma Lillian. I miss her. I can do a mean imitation of her though.

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  453. I had the joy and wonder of walking down the street where my grandmother grew up, here in Washington State. It’s an old town, so I saw things she saw, walked where she walked.

    She and my mother and my cousin Suzie were the guardians of my life when I was young, and anything I know of love and family is due to them, and it all stems from Gram.

    I miss her very much, as I do my mother. I hope Mr. Obama is given a chance to grieve, but I know that the best tribute to him is to elect him, as his grandmother would want.

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  454. My Grandmother now suffers from advanced Alzheimers. But when I was small, she was my only safe place. I was so different from what she expected, not girly at all. She let me keep lizards in her pristine house that would shame Martha Stewart. I feel bad that I live too far away to return the favor.

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  455. My grandma married her college sweetheart and happily grew into the roll of a professors wife and a college president’s wife. She had a son in 1906, and for a long time was sent away to a sanitarium to recover from her post partum blues.

    By the time I remember visiting her, grampa had died and she was living on eighty dollars a month….all she had left. She would fix a beautiful lunch on pretty lunch plates, and we would eat after a marvelous morning at the zoo, or riding the trolley, or playing with modeling clay. Sometimes she would draw while I modeled. She sold portraits to stretch her income out a little further. Often we would just walk to the neighborhood park and she would tell stories or play games.

    Only when I grew up did I understand how small her income. Only then did I understand that all their money had gone to pay medical bills. Only then did I understand that the dresses her friends gave her and she remade were all she had.

    Today I am very grateful that I was so lucky to have her in my life.

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  456. My nana was the greatest. Never really spoke much English – only Italian. She would save her small change from her food money, and would sneak a quarter each to me and my sister. That was a fortune. In those days, that bought 6 candy bars.

    And, for hours on end, I would hold a skein of yarn, and she would roll it into a ball for her crocheting.

    Never much talk; but, somehow, we communicated.

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  457. I never knew any of my grandmothers. Both died before I was born. However, my mother spoke so much about her mother that I always felt I knew her. My mother spoke to me about how her mom would lovingly remove calcium from her teeth in those days when there were no dentists around, in their little corner of earth. Every time she spoke about my grandmother, my mother had tears in her eyes. My grandmother died of a stroke in her early fifties, but knowing about how she died now helps me to try to avoid the same faith as I now religiously take my high blood pressure medication. May God Bless them both in Heaven!

    I believe there is a reason why Toot left today. May Heaven rejoice! A good soul has made an entrance!

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  458. My grandmother Brunette was the best grandmother anyone could ask for. She died of a sudden heart attack. I would spend the night by her house and we would listen to music, dance, and have a good time. We would go to church on Sunday and sit in the back of the church and had a good ol’ time (yes, this was in church). I never got to tell her that she was my role model. She only finished 8th grade because she had to take care of her sick grandmother, however she never allowed her education status to determine what she did in life. She was a caregiver for the elderly and a hell of a grandmother to me, my brother and my cousins. We would go in the garden on days I pretended like I was sick so I could stay home from school. She also said what was on her mind wether anyone liked it or not.

    I truely miss her, everyday I wish I had the chance to tell her goodbye one last time, but I find strength knowing that she is watching over me.

    I am glad Obama had the chance to tell her bye one last time may she rest in piece and be his guardian angel and protect him at all times.

    That you Toot for raising Obama to be the man/leader he is today!

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  459. My heart breaks for Sen. Obama and family. How I would have loved for his Grandmother, who taught him such strong values, see her grandson become President of the US!

    My paternal grandmother was a short, tough little Irish woman with a fiery personality. When she would babysit me, she would wear track shoes. She walked miles every day until she finally broke a hip after 90. In her 70s, she was mugged and chased the robbers down and, after grabbing them by their ears, dragged them to their parents’s houses and demanded payment for what she lost. Tough bird, she was. I can remember her reaching up to my 6’3″ dad and grabbing his ear, dragging him down to her level, and making him mind. What a hoot. We should all be so lucky to have such an awesome grammie!

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  460. Nanny, my dad’s mum, made the best noodles. Mix them with chicken gravy and mashed potatoes…Mmmm. My dad got her noodle pot when she passed away. She made each of her grandchildren a quilt for their high school graduations. I’ve used mine so much it’s falling apart.

    Grandma, my mum’s mum, is where I get my love of color. We both love loud colors. Each room in her house is painted a different color–just what I’d do if I had a house I could paint.

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  461. My grandma and grandpa loved to sit in their easy chairs and look out their big picture window at the Iowa cornfields they farmed. I often went to grandma’s closet and took out all her shoes and played shoe saleman for my grandma. I helped her put her feet into the various pairs of shoes and asked her what she thought. She always said, “How about that pair?” Now, I know she liked the caressing of her feet and how my tiny hands helped to make her feet feel good after a long day.
    She showed her love in so many ways. Putting a large cushioned chair in front of the couch when I stayed overnight so that I wouldn’t roll off of the couch……giving me one penny for every dozen flies I could swat–inside or outside………and always asking me what the last word was when my grandpa finished reading the Bible after meals.
    Oh, I miss them after 21 years. They both passed away during my first year of teaching.
    Thank you, Helen and Margaret, for opportunity to bring these memories back to the surface of our busy lives.
    Go Barack!

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  462. My paternal grandmother came to live with my family when my granfather died in 1977. For the next 30 years, until she passed adfter a four year bout with brain cancer, she was the biggest champion for my deams, my biggest critic when I needed it, and the one person I knew would never disappoint me in terms of helping me get where I needed to go.

    She encouraged me to get into music, which now spans those same three decades, which included participation in two Rose Parades, a New Year’s Day Bowl game, and an almost 20-year association with the UCLA Alumni Band.

    She also was there to point out the times I screwed up monumentally, like when I blew a spelling bee in Junior High because I wanted to watch TV instad of study the night before the contest. Or the time in high school where she made my borther and I walk the rest of the way home from school because we wouldn’t stop arguing. She never did anything with vindictiveness or malice, but her lessons resonated with us for a lifetime.

    Especially the ones in terms of politics. She showed me the importance of voting, and taught me the value of sticking with principles. My vote for Obama is an example of her lessons in political integrity. I knwo if she was still with us, she would be working at the polls tomorrow, one of her favorite thigns every election season.

    Ironically, it was her death in 1997 that opened the door to mend the strained relationship I ahd with my maternal grandmother, whom I lost eight years later, but before she left us,. we finally came to an understanding with each other.

    For this, I am forever grateful to them both. I know that they both were waiting for Toot when she arrived at the pearly gates. After all, she deserves a heroine’s welcome into heaven.

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  463. My paternal grandmother always took such pride in her heritage, and instilled that upon me at every chance she got. She had Alzheimer’s, so it was important that she told me everything before she forgot… the one thing she didn’t tell me was the recipe to her amazing cinnamon cake, but I can’t really complain.

    My other grandmother was a character. She would send my sister and I gifts and cash every week. I would joke throughout high school that I was being bank-rolled by an 80 year-old. She was by all means my sugar daddy. I do regret though that I didn’t come to learn about who she was as a person, and a mother until years after her passing. She did teach me some choice words in Yiddish though, most of which were her scolding me…

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  464. The smell of stew every Sunday, a smile and always feeling welcome. If I needed to be straightend out, she quietly but firmly put me in my place. She taught me how to live, love, respect and enjoy.

    Grandmas and Moms are great!

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  465. My Grandmother had a huge impact on my life and helped shape the woman I am today. Her only child, my Mother died when I was 26. She took over as substitute Mother in many aspects and in her later years I cared for her.

    My memories as a little girl, she taught me how to bake snickerdoodles as we would spend hours in her kitchen.

    She taught me to live within your means and always put money aside, a lesson that has served me well in life. She and my Grandfather enjoyed their retirement in travel and a winter home in FL.

    She taught through example that marriage is hard work and always treat your spouse with respect. When you’re mad walk away before uttering words you will regret. I haven’t quite mastered that lesson.

    And in her last years when I was POA, quit my job as a nurse and cared for her, she showed me what it was like to die with dignity. She died days before her 90th birthday. At age 44 I had lost not only my Mother but my Grandmother who I had had much longer in my life. 10 years later I still miss her.

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  466. Granna would stand in her kitchen, in her storybook house in the woods that Grandad built himself, and make delicious pies while my brother and sister and I swiveled on bar stools and snatched up the scraps of pie dough she would cut off as she shaped it perfectly around a baking dish. She’d make us Pepsi floats and fried chicken (fried in lard – my sis and I are both now vegetarian) and the cutest iced Easter cookies in the world. As an adult, I once puzzled over why her daughter, my mom, could be such a staunch Republican when she and Grandad were lifelong Democrats. With a twinkle in her eye she said, “well, she always did like to play follow the leader.” We lost Grandad a few years ago, but Granna is hanging on in a nursing home, Mom tirelessly advocating for her.

    Grandma B. always had butterscotch candies in a dish for her grandkids, and sometimes Dum-Dum pops. She had a bathroom next to her kitchen that was floor to ceiling pink. Even the toilet paper and soap. She would have Christmas trees with all pink ornaments (I have one survivor that I hang with reverance every year.) She used to throw fabulous parties and lay out on her coffee table in a special container the favorite brands of cigarettes of every one of her guests. Long after she passed away, we discovered a picture of her when she was young: with movie star beauty, flapper hair and a long slinky glittery dress. She was breathtaking.

    I have been blessed with two wonderful grandmothers and I truly feel for Barack today. From what I have read in his books, Toot was a strong, amazing woman. I hope she will somehow know when he wins tomorrow!

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  467. My grandmother Maggie is a hoot. She’s 86 and recently loss the sight in one eye after a cornea transplant. But she still bartends once a week at an old dive near her apartment. She’s the life of the party. I’ll never forget a miserable trip the extended family took for her 80th birthday. We went on a cruise that wasn’t always pleasant. At the end of it, she said, “that was nice, but I would have rather have gone to Vegas.” When she turned 85 that’s exactly what we did. And she stayed out every night later than I did!

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  468. My grandmothers taught me to bake and cook.

    My maternal grandmother taught me the basics, letting me sit with her and measure and add, which is so cool when you are 4-5 years old. Baking together, happy memories. She is still alive, but lives in a nursing home with several health problems and dementia.

    My paternal grandmother is this amazing cook, and she is happy to give you tips and show you how to make things tasty. She bakes these wonderful gingerbread cookies for Christmas every year, and she has handed me the recipe. Now I bake these same cookies for my family every year too.

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  469. I left a little story about my GaGa Helen on Matthew’s “Why Blog?” too.

    Here’s my favorite memory. Sitting in her kitchen, it’s warm and the smell of chicken broth cooking wafts over us. I sit at the table and watch amazed as she puts eggs, flour and milk into the big bowl, stirs and then kneeds and this wonderful mass of white comes, thump, out onto the table to be rolled to just the right thickness and then cut into the most delicious noodles you could ever imagine (“You can’t eat too much raw dough – you don’t want your insides to stick together.”) GaGa’s chicken noodle soup was so good it was a meal and I can remember the smell of that kitchen and the magic of noodles to this day.

    I hope our soon to be President (VOTE!) Obama has as wonderful a memory of his Grandma. I’m sure your grandkids do.

    Thank you Helen I think you’re beyond wonderful a true gift from a positive universe. Margaret too!

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  470. Helen, Tutu Dunham is watching from another dimension.
    Thank you, Helen, for reminding us to honor our grandmothers. My father’s mother, not known to be affectionate, sent me apples from her favorite tree when I hated every moment of being stuck at summer camp. As close to saying ‘I love you’ as she could get. I knew that even as a seven-year old.
    My mother’s mother turned into an uncomfortably religious person. What I remember most about her is that she read to me and let me thread her sewing needles with the golden ear.
    May all grandparents be remembered with as much love as is expressed in your blog.

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  471. My grandma W was awesome when I was young. Baked all the time, made us amazing milkshakes (she was a soda jerk when she was a teenager), & generally spoiled us. But what really got me when I got older is how vibrant she is NOW. She could probably kick my butt; she walks 5 miles a day in the Ozarks in her tiny Arkansas town, up and down hills that would destroy me. She is a bit of a foodie & a health nut. I only found out in the last several years that she was Thoroughly Modern in her day, moving away from home & getting a job & living as a single woman in an apartment & going on co-ed, non-chaperoned trips to Florida & wearing bikinis when it was still scandalous to do all that in the Bible belt. She inspires me to do things that are considered scandalous in the Bible belt, where I still live. God bless her. ^_^

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  472. My Granny passed away six months before I got married. She tried to stick it out, but she couldn’t. She was the best person I’ve ever known in my life. She came to this country from Sweden when she was 17, through Ellis Island, and stuck on a train for 18 hours to Chicago to meet up with her aunt and uncle. She didn’t speak any English. She made mean meatballs and fabulous coffee cake. I think about her every day.

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  473. My grandmother was the most gracious woman I knew, and whenever I question how I should behave in a situation, thinking “How would Gramma Gert handle this?” generally puts me in the right direction. Another reason the Senator from Illinois is getting my vote.

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  474. Gramma Lillie Mae held my first daughter, Juice*, when she was a baby, held her close, and then held her at arms’ length until Juice cried. “If you don’t let ’em cry some,” she said, “they’ll stutter when they start talkin.” Then she hugged Juice close again.

    She was warm, generous and funny. We loved her.

    *Nickname, not Christian name.

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  475. My grandmother raised 12 kids on a dirt poor farm in Iowa. She was beautiful and smart. She loved her children not necessarily equally; but in they way they needed to be loved. She died when I was only 5, but I have extremely vivid memories of her.

    I named my daughter after her.

    She loved me.

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  476. My Grandmother made me pancakes for dinner… what’s better than that?

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  477. I only had one grandparent. My mom’s mom. And my mom didn’t speak to her for most of my childhood, but we lived in the same town and I would sneak over to her house every chance that I got. That was back in the day when your child could be gone from the house all day and you wouldn’t worry. My grandmother taught me how to sew clothes for my dolls and how to crochet. Easy Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and watching I Love Lucy with her felt like Heaven. Every Friday she would take to the Five and Dime and buy me some little trinket, which to me was like the worlds finest treasure. I still have some of the things that she bought me … and she’s been gone since 1974. I never came to understand why she and my mom didn’t get along … but I have a feeling that my mom was to blame. I don’t get along with my mom but have always maintained a relationship with her, out of respect and in hopes that my children might have a relationship with her like I had with my Nanny. Sadly, that didn’t happen.

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  478. I lost my grandmother this August. She was a wonderful, funny, smart, classy woman, and I miss her every day.

    My favorite memory of her is from the time where we were gardening by her pool one summer when I was 8 or so. I happened to look over and see her arm flab jiggling away as she dug in the dirt. I giggled, and she looked to see what I was laughing at.

    She looked at her arm, shrugged, and said “Must be jelly ’cause jam don’t shake like that!”

    I miss and love you every day Grandma Dot…and I wish much strength to Obama during this time.

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  479. Dear Helen,

    I have been impressed with not only your intelligent and informative pieces but also those of many of your readers. I would like to respond to “healingmagichands” in yesterday’s post. This is of course, your blog but anyone is welcome to read any and all comments.

    Healingmagichands, I read your thoughtful comment with interest. I too had ancestors who came over on the Mayflower, but it was on the fourth voyage. Two of them were married aboard the ship by Miles Standish. Over time, they meandered down to South Carolina and ultimately to Louisiana. Another ancestor, Arthur Middleton was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

    As a result, I am eligible for membership in both the DAR, Daughters of the Revolution, and the Daughters of the Confederacy. I never applied for membership to either, mostly because that’s not my style. Those of us of an age may remember when the world-acclaimed American opera singer Marian Anderson was barred by the DAR from singing in Constitution Hall in Washington because she was black. She went on to give a concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, a fitting venue. What would they have said about my paternal great-grandmother, a full-blood Sioux Indian?

    My mother married a ‘damnyankee’. (My dad was a nice man!) It was the ‘damnyankee’ part that alienated some of her family. Although she stayed close to brothers and sisters, my mother never saw her own mother again. Now that’s slicing your prejudices pretty thin!

    Mother was raised Southern Baptist; my dad, Presbyterian. I married a man raised Catholic. When I was taking instructions in Catholicism and told the priest that I had been raised Presbyterian, he said, “Then you believe in predestination.” I said, “Huh? Never heard the word.” And I had been sent to Sunday school and church religiously.

    We have traveled around the world a number of times and have picked up talismans from all over. At this point and at our age, we are “Equal Opportunity Supplicants!” Believe it or not, we have always been consider honorable, law abiding folks.

    There is a wise phrase in Latin that is as old as time immemorial: “Cujus region ejus religio.” “ The religion of the region must be that of the ruler.” George Bush ushered into the White House the age of the ‘born again’ religion in this country that was already in full swing. Unfortunately, he incorporated it into his political philosophy. To the detriment of the country, many, many other people do too.

    Every Sunday my husband and I go to ‘church’. We drive about five minutes from our home to a lovely beach with blue sky, a few white fluffy clouds, a gentle trade wind breeze and waves lapping against the shore. We take our beach chairs and sit in the shade under some big old ironwood trees. It is far more beautiful and peaceful than any man-made cathedral, mosque or temple we have ever visited. And the sermon is very short!

    Isn’t all this racial and religious stuff pretty silly?

    Aloha!

    Jean

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  480. Grandma lost Grandpa when she was in her late eighties. I called her from across the country to offer condolences. She said, “Yes, after you live with someone for so long they become an integral part of your life and it is hard to adjust to them not being there.”

    She paused for only a beat before adding, “Not that YOU’LL ever know!”

    “Hey, I’m dating someone now, give me a chance!”

    I’ve been married sixteen years since and we have a wonderful son. Grandma turned 107 this year, not as strong or as clear headed as she’s always been, but my Grandma all the same.

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  481. I used to walk home from work by Grannie’s house. She was usually sitting in the rocker on her front porch, and I always stopped by to chat. She always asked if I was hungry, and if I was, she could whip up a great meal in about 10 minutes. She probably put stuff back just in case I stopped by, but to me it always seemed spontaneous and unplanned. I miss her and would do just about anything for another jar of her green tomato catsup.

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  482. Oh, thank you for letting me tell you about my grandmothers. I can’t choose just one. Grandma Belle was the role model for my entire life. If ever I could emulate the beauty, grace and courage of that woman who was widowed in her 40’s and went on to own her own business until an injury in her 70’s retired her, well I would feel I had done well with my life. And as for Grandma G,, the very typical grandmother who always thought you MUST be hungry and at whose house food always tasted better than anywhere else. Both grandmas influenced me greatly. And though both are long gone, it brings tears to my eyes yet when I think of them.

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  483. how did i ever miss this? must’ve been the day i was in houston with my mom – 85 by the way – and taking her for an outpatient procedure at st. luke’s.

    i never knew my maternal grandmother although i was named for her. i’ve had to get to know her as best i could from stories from my mom and some from my dad.

    my paternal grandmother was a card. she and my grandfather were both in their 90s when they died. my grandfather said the secret to long life was 1) paying cash for everything 2) not to play the stock market unless the money was something you could throw in the trash and not miss it 3) to walk on the beach every day (easy for him as they retired to florida) and 4) have a glass of scotch every evening. he later clarified #4 to ensure we all knew that meant one glass of scotch, not one bottle or one tumbler or one running bar tab of scotch. he was a few years younger than my grandmother and he died a few months after she did.
    my grandmother was raised on a farm in georgia. her father was a doctor. she was born in the 1890s and she could even remember having families on her family’s farm who had been slaves and refused to leave the family homestead. that was unthinkable to me when i first learned it around the age of 10.
    grandmother had to have everything perfect. she was very proper. she and my grandfather eventually ended up in NYC and, apparently, things had to be even more perfect then.
    i say all of this but what i know now is that in her heart she was a very good and funny woman. sometimes we don’t know these things until it’s almost too late. for those of us who are fortunate, the operative is ‘almost.’
    grandmother’s secret to a long life was 1) a clove of garlic everyday, 2) playing golf every day and 3) a glass of scotch every evening. i don’t know if they necessarily had to be in that order but either the scotch killed the garlic or that secret to long life also was the secret reason they had separate bedrooms.
    my grandmother was a great believer in letters. if we hadn’t cremated her, she’d probably be coming back to haunt us every time we sent an email. she swore she’d never root for the dodgers again if they didn’t move back to brooklyn. we went to spend almost every summer with her when we were younger. we would drive there – a 2 or 3 day trip – from texas to south florida. the difference in # of days depended on who was driving – mom, dad, or both – and how many times my brother got car sick or how often we fought.
    in grandmother’s perfect house she had a white silk couch with green embroidery. she had white carpeting. she had white towels, pink and green god-awful tile that she loved and a white bath mat.
    the beaches in florida have tar in the seaweed. there is no way a child between the age of 5 and 10 can walk on the beach without getting tar on their feet. the first time i remember our going to her house in florida we had been at the beach. when we got to her house i ran in because i had to empty my bladder. my mom had convinced me that if i peed in the ocean, i would be responsible for the end of the world. she wouldn’t let us use a public restroom, however, so by the time we got to my grandparents i was dying. and around 6, i think. as i was leaving the bathroom i noticed something black on the white bath mat. i knew damn well it couldn’t have been there when i walked in. there wasn’t even dirt on the duster. i tried flipping the bath mat over. that worked for about 10 minutes because, to keep her house perfect, she had to go inspect anything and everything and every space anyone touched in her perfect world. that’s how she kept it perfect.
    it was the first time i remember someone using all 3 of my names. i’m sure i had the deer in the headlights look on my face when i heard it. i froze. she and my mother both came up behind me on my way to find the mineral oil or whatever that clear liquid was that she kept by the back door. the one we were to use on our feet before we ever even thought about opening the door.
    so i froze, they came up behind me holding the black and white bath mat and asked something along the lines of ‘what is your explanation for this?” my mom went into her ‘your grandmother has nice things . . . ‘ and i interrupted and said, ‘i know grandmother has nice things but she’s also got grandchildren who have to wee somewhere. i don’t know what you expect me to do.’ they looked at each other like ‘oh sh!t” and my mom turned to me and said ‘clean your feet and then you go into your grandfather’s room and think about this.’ i was out the door and headed toward the mineral spirits and i heard them crack up laughing with grandmother saying she was going to have to fix a very special meal that evening. she asked my mom what my favorite was and mom told her seafood.
    when we all sat down to dinner, grandmother had me sit next to her. she ceremoniously carried this great white platter to the table and placed it in front of me and said she’d made one of my favorites – fish. and she proceeded to set the platter right in front of me. a beautiful, whole, broiled fish INCLUDING HEAD AND EYEBALLS. i threw up right then and there and didn’t care for one minute that i had to go to bed without supper.

    i know i’ve gone on long enough but i have to share one more thing and i thank you SO much for this little exercise. i especially needed it, i think, with all that’s going on with mom. to be more appreciative of the little things.

    when i was grown, i worked for an international company in my early years. i welcomed any trip that got me anywhere near my grandparents so i could go see them. grandmother remained perfect and pretended a lot and that she was more put out or appalled than she actually was. i adored my grandfather.

    i was going from miami to new york and drove up to their place for the night. grandmother always LOVED to give each of us a “little something” whenever we were there. passing along the family heirlooms 🙂 there was grand ceremony involved resulting in my brother getting a tie clip or my sister getting a golf tee from a hole-in-one or a deck of cards, something along those lines. so, as we sat down in the living room she whispered something to my grandfather and he left the room. we chatted about the grandchildren and grandad came back in and handed her something. she went through her usual ceremony preceding an item being bestowed upon the next generation. i opened the box and it was a pair of clip on earrings. bright red apples about the size of a dime. she told me the story of where and how and why she got them. probably even told me the date and time. then i told her how perfect they were and that she gave them to me on this visit – that i’d be able to take the little apples to the big apple.
    it certainly wasn’t all that funny but she laughed so hard she cried and she laughed for the rest of the night and i swear to you i could feel all those layers and walls being removed and come crashing down and i could see my grandmother laughing like she was a little girl in a 90-something body.
    that was the last time i saw my grandmother in person and i am so eternally grateful for that last memory of her. and to you for reminding me of it on this particular evening.

    peace out from bee caves
    -s

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  484. My grandma made me cinnamon rolls, too. Not every week, though! My other grandma taught me to be thrifty. She made my wedding cake, and it was the very best cake I’ve had in all my life. Both are gone now and I miss them.

    You’re right. Dr. Laura IS horrible!

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  485. I didn’t get my grandmother for very long in my life but I had plenty of women stand in for her after she was gone.

    My favourite memory of her was that she always had homemade playdoh ready for me and she gave me my own patch of “garden” next to hers (which was a prize winning garden). She was a woman who never left the house without her makeup on, pearls clasped, and gloves buttoned. A true lady.

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  486. I have many favorite memories of my paternal grandmother, but the one most appropriate to share is this:

    I went to college across the country from my parents, but only an hour from my paternal grandparents so they served as my “parents” on many occasions. One weekend my grandparents and I were headed out to a movie. Just as we were about to leave my grandmother told me she would not be seen in public with me wearing the shirt I had on. I was confused, it was a pretty nice shirt. There were certainly more ragged or inappropriate things I’d worn out with her that she never said a word about. I asked why. It said “Banana Republic” across the front. I heard my family talk about banana republics and had taken a course in Latin America which covered them. Yet I never connected the name of the clothing store to that horror.

    Obviously, my grandma passed on many of her beliefs and ways of thinking about the world to me. Thus, an important reason why I’m voting Obama.

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  487. Ah, I remember being small, and going to my grandmothers’ houses, where I would see their respective sides of the family in full. Those times were always nice, be it for Christmas, Easter, a birthday, or just a sort of family gathering….

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  488. My Grandma Lenore made a poppyseed coffeecake I simply drooled over. She was always a quiet, serious woman — I didn’t quite know what to make of her amidst all the loudmouths in my family.

    Finally, as a young adult I asked her to teach me how to make that incredible cake. (The recipe wasn’t written anywhere.) Well into her 80s, body completely gnarled with arthritis, she patiently did.

    And now I’m the only one who knows (which makes me and my coffeecake a hot commodity in my family). Thank you, Grandma!

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  489. My grandmother is 83 years young. She has lived alone since my grandfather passed away 23 years ago. No one can make a penny go farther than my grandmother. She would give you her last dime and go without if that meant she knew you were taken care of.
    A child of the depression, she never thought she’d be more than what she wanted to be-a wife and a mother. She never entertained going to college, yet she graduated cum laude in High School. She took great joy in raising her daughters to be strong, independent individuals. Her daughters grew up to be quite amazing, in my opinion. One of them is my Mother, who quit her job in her 50’s to go back to school.
    My grandmother loves her grandchildren immensely. She is always thinking of them. I would have to say she shaped my childhood rather significantly. I have vivid memories of dressing up in her fancy heels, dresses, and purses to play Avon lady. I still take pleasure in watching Lawrence Welk re-runs (much to my husband’s chagrin) because it reminds me of evening’s at my Grandmother’s house with my Grandfather singing and teaching me how to dance.
    On Friday nights the whole family was there to eat a fabulous dinner, enjoy each other’s company, and watch Dallas. It was THE place to be when J.R. was shot.
    My grandmother’s house was always a flurry of activity-dinner parties, people over, entertaining. Unfortunately, that has almost stopped. Most of her friends have passed away, or are too ill to visit. Most of us have lives that have taken us away from the heart of our family- the house my Grandfather built for my Grandmother. It’s quiet now. We wonder if it’s time for a new family to make some memories in the house.
    Yet, still, at 83, she cooks the best Rosie’s chicken ever! When I bring my husband and son to visit and have dinner, she serves it on gold flatware-just like when I was a kid. This makes her happy. I wish I could do that for her more often.

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  490. Thank you grandma Madelyn Dunham! Although I never knew you, you are more than a grandma to us in that you have raised the most marvelous person in Barack Obama! Thank you for being his North Star. We and the rest of the world will be eternally grateful for you in the years to come. Rest in peace and see you in heaven.

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  491. Rest in peace Toot

    My grandmother always had a penny jar, for us to get pennies out when the Bread Man came, the lived out in the country and you could get bread, and stuff, we got candy.

    And she always let us help her cook, I remember cutting egg noodles…..and we had special little pans we made our own pies
    Love you Grandma Herrenbruck

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  492. Hi Gramma Helen,

    I called her Gran’mere when I was little, as I was taught to. Then she was Gram when I got older. (picture here: http://dysmindseye.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/lucienne-blanche-albert-petite-reyes-c-late-1940s-thumb.jpg?w=172&h=244 ) And when she got angry, she would start a string of French at such speed it was both frightening and funny. Ooohhh boy, let me tell you…NEVER laugh at a French woman when she is angry! 🙂

    Anyway, she didn’t make cinnamon rolls…she made eclaires. Yummy flaky pastry with amazing vanilla egg custard filling and real chocolate icing…gosh, how I miss those! I have tried to find a comparable eclaire my whole life…or since she passed away in 1983, anyway. I guess I will have to go to France, cuz I’ve had no such luck in the US!

    I remember that whenever I would bring in friends from the neighborhood…you know, kids used to play outside after school and get hungry!…they were always confused why we didn’t just have cookies to snack on! I thought THEY were weird not knowing what an eclaire was! And there was always extra icing left over in the ‘fridge in a crockery that I would pull out and eat by the spoonful in front of the television!

    Sometimes, though, she would make madelines…you know, the spongey shell-shaped lemony cake-cookies that go so well with coffee? I think that’s the closest she got to “cookies”!

    I’m amazed that she did any of this at all because, after my Grandfather died in 1970, she had to work, and work hard. She started cleaning the houses of old movie stars in the hills behind Santa Barbara and, by referral I’m sure, other pretty ritzy clientel.

    The up-swing of this is that she eventually was able to have only two clients by the time I was 8 or so and one of them had two daughters my age…Carrie, 2 weeks older, and Julie, 11 months younger! As you can guess, most kids when they are 8 yrs old don’t see class structure, so I had best friends with whom I could tag along to riding lessons and we had sleep-overs in their huge mansion (I counted 8 bathrooms once!), swimming in their olympic-sized pool and I got the best hand-me-down clothes (because they were taller than I).

    Anyway, my point is that because my Gram would pick up these two girls from their private school in Montecito two or three times a week and bring me along back to work with her as well, she was able to introduce me to a world very different from the bario-type street we lived on…and that helped to fuel my desire to experience all the different things life has to offer.

    So, merci Gran’mere, for opening my eyes and helping to put me on a path to riches…of knowledge, of taste…and of tolerance.

    You see, she was always very much live and let live. I would like to think she would vote for Obama if she were still alive today at age 85.

    Blessings…and Love Bunches from Seattle…

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  493. I was lucky enough to have 2 sets of wonderful grandparents. One set lived near by and we spent tons of time with them. I remember my grandmother making popcorn balls and taffy for treats before bed. Both of my grandmothers were what I would call ‘sweet spirits’—angelic women that didnt raise their voices—loved their families more than anything. My grandmother that lived a couple of hours away would always stand in the driveway as we drove away waving her handkerchief and all of us kids would wave out the windows till we cound not see her anymore—still makes me cry thinking about it.

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  494. Found what I wanted to say, which is what I said to our family and friends after she was gone. It’s interesting that I end on a message of HOPE, because both she and Sen. Obama have been much on my mind recently. I have tears in my eyes as I read this back to myself. We must know hope, because more downtrodden people than ourselves have always known hope.

    I wanted to share a few thoughts with all of you about my grandmother, who meant so much to me and to our family. My memories of her are both quite personal and quite private, and many of you will remember her from different times and different moods, with different people around you, and you will have seen her in a rather different way.

    It’s very difficult to know where to begin to talk about my grandmother, or Nana as I and my sister always called her. My father has already shared a great many memories of her and her life’s many movements. At the moment that I entered the scene, which would have been 1972, my first visit with her was a trip to Montreal that I took, long before I retain any memory, but one which my mother has related to me many times. That was the first of multiple trips to Quebec that we made in the 1970s, and those trips to the apartment in **** remain a cherished memory to me. My memories at four, five, six and seven consisted mainly of Nana’s immense kindnesses and her rich, warm cooking, mixed with fascination at her massive console TV with an early example of a remote control and terror I felt of my grandfather’s toby jug of Prime Minister William Pitt. For a boy from what was then quite a rural place, a trip to the city in Quebec (and to an apartment building with a cascading fountain in the lobby, no less) was an exotic journey and I thought my grandmother cut a wonderful and quite glamorous figure, with her colourful dancing dresses and her radiant smile.

    Once she returned to Nova Scotia, memories of Nana were very much bound up with the cherished house on **** where I had lived my early years and where visits to her were always accompanied by a piece or two of hard candy from her candy dish, many hugs, much good advice and a great deal of pride in my small achievements at school or sports. Especially at school – the importance of education to my Nana was always very evident and it wasn’t until many years later that I made the connection with her own early life and circumstances. She loved to play board games with us children, and the endless games of cards became, over time, a feature of our own relationship, just like her relationships with many others.

    My Nana and I shared many wonderful family trips and outings together as well, from as far away as Florida to as close as the beach at ****. No one could enliven a family gathering like my grandmother – always the life of the party, she loved to laugh and she had a devilish sense of humour and adventure with us youngsters. Her high spirits with her sister are legendary. Their incredible bond is remembered by anyone who was ever privileged enough to see them together.

    It wasn’t until later, through many long talks after I had grown into adulthood, that I came to understand where that bond came from, and where so much else in Nana’s fun-loving and optimistic personality came from. Her sunny nature, her deep love of family and her fierce desire for a better life for herself, her son, and then her grandchildren was forged in times so tough that we’d never recognize them today.

    My Nana was part of a very special generation of people whose lives were turned upside-down, again and again, by the convulsive events that shaped the whole of the last century. She was born at the dawn of a world war so horrible that it became known as the war to end all wars, she grew up through her later teenage years and into adulthood in the midst of the Great Depression, and she married and started a family in the midst of a second war more horrible than the first, with bombs and then rockets dropping for months and then years on the city in which she lived. And through that valley of the shadow of death they passed, eventually into the New World and all its promise. My Nana has known privation, fear and tough times unlike any that I shall ever experience. But she has also always known hope.

    That great generation is passing from us now, and Nana’s stories of those years now exist only in the hearts and thoughts of those of us who knew her. Those stories were always mostly about the fun times, and Nana never to me had an unkind word for anyone. But that generation, the one that worked and strove their way through the depression and then fought off the menaces of fascism and hate, that generation still has messages and lessons for us that we all need to remember, especially in response to the challenges we face in our daily lives. The lessons are simple and they were always lived by my Nana to the fullest: cleave to your family and your faith, laugh like you’ve never been hurt, and work to make a better life and better world for your children and your grandchildren. Nana in every way lived those precepts, and her examples and her years of good advice and kindness continue to help me live them today.

    For that, Nana, thank you, with all my heart.

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  495. My parents were 47 years old when they adopted my twin and I, and we never had any grandparents. I always wanted a grandparent like everyone else – but not to be. My children had the best grandmother (my mother-in-law), unfortunately she passed away when my kids were 6 and 8. So now it is up to me….I have 3 wonderful grandsons(age 8 to 18) and I try to be the best “granny” I can. The 8 year old lives with me and everyday is a “wonderment.”

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  496. When I was a child, my grandmother would prepare Tupperware glasses with fresh coconut water and coconut meat for her grandchildren. I had the littlest Tupperware because I was the youngest.

    I remember feeling very proud the day I graduated to the bigger-sized Tupperware. It was olive green.

    I used to think the pillowcases my Lola made were the lamest gifts ever, and now I realize they were labors of love. Each pillowcase had our name embroidered on it. She even made tiny ones for the baby pillows I insisted upon before I could sleep.

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  497. Where to begin ! She died when I was 13 and I missed her so much. Still do. I have a post a bit about her on my blog.
    http://regisroost.blogspot.com/2008/10/currently-reading.html

    My most fond memory has to be cuddling with her under her “teddy bear”, a full length mink coat she treasured but I’d never seen her actually wear. I know you said no worst memories but maybe this doesn’t count. My worst is seeing her laying in her coffin with pink nailpolish. She hated color on her nails ! Strictly clear or mother of pearl, I wanted to say something, make them change it, but never said a word to anyone.

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  498. Wow…grandmothers are great! Mine was married for 62 years to my grandfather, and later married again at 84!!!!! She reminds me of you! (My Mom was the cinnamon roll queen.)
    Barack is feeling the deep loss, as we all do, for our grandmothers…I thank God everyday that he had her…she raised our next president!!!

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  499. I hope Obama’s grandmother was able to leave Earth with full confidence that her “Barry” is going to be our next president. My thoughts are with their family.

    My grandmother is super-special to me. We have a “thing” together… we collect outhouses. We send each other outhouse memorabilia all the time and we even send each other the same outhouse calendar every year. I know. It’s weird. But it’s been our thing for about 10 years now, and we love it. She lives several hundred miles away from me and I miss her all the time.

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  500. My Gran is best! She helped raise me filled my life with stories . Best of all she taught me how to make Scottish Shortbread. She’s the smartest sweetest and nicest Grany n in the world!

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  501. my grandparents dies before I was born, so I have made sure that we live close enough to both sets of grandparents for our kids to have a close relationship. it is great to see my parents through their eyes and to watch them enjoy eachother- they are grand, indeed!

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  502. I’m so glad you asked this question! I have a southern “granny” and a west coast “grandmother” who I am lucky enough to still have both in my life even though I lost both of my grandfathers when I was very young.

    Granny (on my mother’s side) would come and visit us in California every summer and she would bring her southern roots way of disciplining with her. This is how I was introduced to soap in the mouth for words she deemed cuss-worthy and whippin’s with a switch plucked from the tree out front. On one particular occasion my younger sister and I had been in a fight and I was deemed the instigator. As granny walked to the front yard to pick her switch, I scouted out the house for a place to hide. This place turned out to be my bedroom closet buried under a pile of dirty clothes. As she roamed room to room I laid there terrified I would be discovered. She never found me and it felt like I was in seclusion for hours. And while it was a fight with my little sister that started the whole thing, she was my only ally and smuggled food into me during the whole ordeal! (Thus creating a special bond with her that continues to this day!)

    My grandmother (on my dad’s side) was always very elegant and reserved. She has lived in California my entire life (35 years) and STILL to this day has a Scottish accent! I remember our weeklong vacations to Santa Cruz, taken in the RV every summer. She also makes the best shortbread and taught me how to play the organ. I used to love Christmas every year and loading up the car to drive the 30 minute drive to her house for our big family dinners, a drive that felt like it took 2 hours!

    And while they don’t qualify as a grandparent I have to share a story of a elderly couple that lived next door to us until I was 7. The fence in our backyard seemed very tall and our neighbors tree limbs hung into our yard. While that might be enough to cause neighbor tension or lawsuits in this day and age, back then that tree would become one of my foundest childhood memories. They would call us over to the fence if we were in the backyard playing and ask if we’d like for them to shake the “magic tree”. Of course our answer would always be YES!. So we were told to look up into the tree while they would give the overhanging branches a shake and to our amazement a 5 cent pack of juicy fruit gum would come falling down out of the tree. And it never once occured to me that they might be throwing the gum up over the fence into the tree for it to fall down into our yard. What a wonderful memory! I’ve always said that I would love to do that if I ever lived next door to small children. Feel free to take this idea and use it for yourselves 🙂

    Bless you Margaret and Helen for giving us a blog to look to for hope and enlightenment with a twist of sassiness on the side!

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  503. I remember staying with my Grandmother in a very small town near Canandaigua, NY, every summer. She & my Grandfather were warm, loving, and caring people… not at all rich or stuck up. MY grandma would make sugar cookies every day while I watched. She was a wonderful women, not well-educated, but as wise as could be.

    Every so often I drive past the old house where she lived & I visited every summer & Christmas. And I miss her, even though she passed away more than 30 years ago.

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  504. I have so many, I honestly don’t know where to start.
    The one story that sticks out is when I was around five years old I was getting picked on by the neighborhood bullies. I went crying to my mother. She gave me a hug and told me I would be ok.
    The next day I was out playing in the alley with the kids again, when again, they started to hit me and pick on me. My gradmother happened to be at our house. I ran crying into the house.
    My mother gave me the usual hug—but my grandmother pointed her finger at me and yelled “If anyone hits you, you hit them right back, do not take shit from anyone!”
    My mother said that the the last anyone ever messed with me.

    Thanks Gram.
    All of my life people who knew my gram always told me she will never be dead as long as I’m alive.
    I’ve never received a better compliment.
    She’s been dead 35 years and I still miss her.

    I think Obama’s grandmother had to go today to give him a little help from above. Just in case.

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  505. My grandmother passed away last year, 93 years old. Miss her terribly. What a life – born in the chaos of World War One with a father in France, lived through the Blitz in London in World War Two and gave birth to my father in the air-raid shelter. An unbelievably tough but sweet woman. I loved (and love) her unreservedly and always have, a position in my life that otherwise is only occupied by her late husband and my wife.

    I never knew my other grandmother but in her I had enough grandmother for any two people.

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  506. I was young when my grandmothers died; two when my dad’s mom passed away. I have a vague memory of her (really) holding out her arms to me. That’s it, but it’s a loving memory.

    I was six when my mom’s mother died, so I do remember her a bit. Apparently she was a fabulous cook, but I didn’t like anything so I missed trying most of her food. I do remember that she made the best strawberry jam and cinnamon toast. No idea what was different, but those were my favorites.

    She played bridge with friends every week and they always had little favors. She collected those and kept them in a box for me to play with when we came to visit, which was at least once a month.

    But I loved her house. Nothing fancy, just very different from ours, with all the oak furniture, the old-fashioned claw bath tub, and the best closet in the world. It was as long as the two bedrooms it separated were wide, with a window at one end. I climbed up on her hand-made quilts and pretended I was in an attic – it was full of old clothes, old-fashioned shoes, and the best hats to play with.

    And then there were the oil paintings that she had done. My cousin (the only other child from that family) has the one showing the hunting party and I have the one that shows the purple and white pansies.

    Neither of my grandparents ever drove a car, but my grandmother was the first one ready whenever someone mentioned going for a ride.

    Such a talented and lovely woman. I wish I could have known her longer. She was everything a grandmother should be. I miss her.

    Pat

    And my heart goes out to Barack Obama and his family at this very sad news.

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  507. I just shared one here yesterday, ofcourse, not knowing…Indeed, rest well Toot, no more suffering, no more pain and yes, you did a great job and I thank you!
    My Nanny taught me unconditional love through example. Example, wow, that seems to be a lost method of teaching these days. And she was a democrat! AND she would take her teeth out and grin with her gums shining to make me laugh! How’s that for love and silliness!

    President Obama, President Obama, repeat after me, President Obama, President Obama…..

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  508. I loved my Gandma Wells. She cooked us great food when my mom was too tired or too preoccupied to cook.

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  509. I am so sorry to hear that Barak’s grandmother has passed. What a terrible shame that she will never see the tipping point from the endeavour she began 47 years ago.

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  510. I love my grandma. She died in her 60s from breast cancer. I’m in my 60s and I had breast cancer. I felt her presence with me, and she visited me in a dream. Her name was Irene. My middle name is Irene.

    When she was mad she would splutter
    rippitypoopshitfartbang.

    How cool a grandma is that?

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  511. My Grandma died last December, and I miss her a lot. She was Clerk of Court of our county and a City Councilwoman for many years. She taught me the value of service, the duty of being an American citizen. I’m grateful for that.

    And it wasn’t cinnamon rolls with my Grandma… it was homemade noodles. Nothing like them in the whole world.

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  512. P.S. Incidentally, the grandmother I talked about in my previous post was named Helen 🙂

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  513. My Grandmas were both amazing women. My dad’s mother was brilliant and graduated from college when she was 18. She would have graduated earlier but she had to learn to swim. She was an avid reader and would often recommend great books.

    My other grandmother was the original domestic goddess. She loved to cook for her family and would spend weeks cooking so we would eat well when we visited and she could enjoy spending more time with the family.

    She lived 92 good years. I reminded her that she was 94 and she nodded and said, “I’ve lived 92 good years, the last two years haven’t been so good.

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  514. My father was a verbally and mentally abusive alcoholic. One day, a few years after my parents divorced, my maternal grandmother and I spoke very briefly about him. I mentioned in passing that I had literally no happy memories concerning him…no memories of laughing with him or being happy with him. All of my memories of him were filled with anger, fear, and dread.

    The conversation lasted for less than five minutes, and I thought nothing more of it.

    Four years later, my grandmother died suddenly and unexpectedly. My mom, aunt, brothers, cousins, and I met at her home after the funeral, and we began to clean the house out. Each of us randomly chose a room in which to begin. I chose one of the guest rooms.

    I was going through a set of drawers, and I stumbled across a white envelope. My name was written on the front, in pencil, in my grandmother’s handwriting. I was puzzled, to say the least.

    I opened it up, and found several pictures of my father and me when I was about 3 and 4 years old. In these pictures, he was holding me, and we were smiling and laughing together. There was nothing else in there…just the pictures. I immediately flashed back to our conversation four years later, and I began to sob as it dawned on me what she had done.

    Thank you for this wonderful post, Helen, and for the opportunity to talk about my grandmother.

    You’re the best 🙂

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  515. My italian Grandmother passed away 2 years ago. Every Easter she made Pineapple Upside Down Cakes. She made enough so that each family that attended Easter Sunday Dinner got to take a cake home with them. In her lifetime she probably made hundreds of those cakes.

    For Christmas, she made a dozen different varieties of Italian cookies. Again, at Christmas, each family took home a box of her cookies. She probably made thousands of those cookies.

    For every holiday, no matter what, we had the traditional meal, plus all our italian favorites – spaghetti (with her home made sauce), meatballs (homemade), italian sausage (sometimes homemade), and bracciole (homemade), italian salad. So for Easter we had ham and all the trimmings, plus all those italian foods. For Thanksgiving, it was turkey and all the trimmings, plus all those italian foods.

    I don’t know how my Grandmother managed it all. In my household I’m the cook and I have a hard time managing turkey and all the trimmings. No way I could manage adding on all the italian foods. I swear she had some supernatural power that let her accomplish all of this.

    Grandma’s Rock!

    http://lolasdiner.blogspot.com/

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  516. My grandmother of french/german descent died in about 1989 at at 86. My granmother of polish descent dies in about 1999 at 108 1/2. Both gave me some solid genetic potential for longevity. Both were also extremely strong-willed women, which rubbed off on me too. I was closer with my mom’s mom, who loved me and supported me as I was, even when it clashed with her dreams for me. During my third year at law school, for Christmas she gave me her silver candleabra. She told me she had been saving them to give me for a wedding present. The unstated subtext was that since I had opted for the “career girl” life, I should have them now that I was really on my way. She proudly watched me march down the lawn at UVA for my law school graduation. A few years later she had a stroke that left her largely unable to communicate, but her eyes lit up when I visited the nursing home shortly before she died to tell her that I was soon to be married. I still feel her presence around me from time to time, and I see sparks of her in my growing daughters. I hope Sen. Obama is lucky that way, too, and feels his grandmother’s presence as the years pass along.

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  517. My grandma always seemed to know the person at a family gathering who needed a boost. There were several times over the years when while hugging her before leaving, she would slip a twenty or a fifty dollar bill into my hand, secretly, so “the others” wouldn’t know.

    She lived through the Depression and would save half a can of peas or a half-eaten pear in the refrigerator for “later.” She knew the value of every dollar and she loved us all, her family, despite our flaws.

    She’s been gone for over ten years now, and Thanksgiving and Christmas has never, ever been the same. She was the center of our family, and things “fell apart” when she passed. I miss her.

    Jules

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  518. My grandma was short and to drive her big old buick she had to sit on books and could only see by peeking through the steering wheel. She drove herself to church every morning until my mom finally had to take her keys away, only to find that grandma had gotten up very early, found the keys and went to an earlier mass. She was a very strong but incredibly sweet woman.

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  519. Hi, I’m a new reader. Clicked over after someone shared. Thanks this.

    My grandmother passed away 16 years ago now. She never met The Boy (my son almost 8) nor did she get to meet The Man (his father.) Seems like forever ago now. I’m not a religious woman, but I feel her around me now and then.

    Yet, I remember week long journeys to Toronto where I’d go and she’d let me into her very active life, sorting things at Goodwill, getting to make ceramics. And the room, in the apartment with the lumpy old hide-a-bed. In a time before, video games, she had the best barbies. We’d go seeking for the logic puzzles I loved so much. It was a magical time together. I can’t remember much specifically just that feeling of togetherness and the smell of her kitchen.

    I’m heartbroken Mr. Obama won’t get to share his victory (please) with her. We’re thinking of him tonight.

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  520. My grandma (who had been a 3rd grade math teacher in her life before children) helped me learn my times tables. She was always ecstatic to see us and gave bone crushing hugs. She was a knitter and made beautiful aran sweaters. I wish I had gotten to know her better.

    Toot, you done good.

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  521. My gramma died 24 years ago, she was a rock. She raised 8 children the first five during the great depression.
    She was the best cook. I loved everything she cooked especially her potato salad, her molasses cookies (I can’t get my like hers no matter how I try) home made bread, and oh her pancakes, she would make them for me whenever I stayed at her house, and as many as I liked. She could even make them in animal shapes. When we had family gatherings and she made jello with fruit in it she always made me a special bowl because everyone else liked bananas in theirs and I hated bananas. I could go on and on, but I won’t because I am having trouble seeing the screen through the misty eyes.

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  522. I spent my first Thanksgiving in college with my grandparents, and one night helped my grandfather put my grandmother to bed. (Her health had been poor for quite some time: she left us six years later.) He kissed her good night, as he had nearly ever night for sixty years, and she said, “Oh, Bill! Your kisses are so sweet!”

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  523. My grandmas house always smelled like apple pie, and my uncles after shave. I have great memories of sitting around the kitchen table which always had a mug filled with teaspoons. My Grandma was very passive, but my Aunt Tootsie!!! That was a different storie. Aunt Tootsie reminds me of you and Toot!! Great women, great memories. Barack has made us all proud.

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  524. Oh, Helen – how poignant you are.

    My paternal grandmother had a huge influence on me in many ways. She was artistic and creative, a wonderful cook and talented seamstress. She was also a beautician by trade. Married several times, there are some soap opera stories about her that are true. Daughter of a preacher, she was a wild young woman.

    I have many memories of her and it would be hard to pick just one. Probably one of my favorite memories her is this: when we spent the night at her house, we would wake up to find her little red leather train case sitting in the middle of her living room floor. The top had two lids – one on each side of the case. We would open the lids to find that a fairy had left us two pieces of our favorite candies – mine was butterscotch lozenges.

    She’s been gone almost 40 years now. I would have loved it if my two grown daughters could have known her.

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  525. My Kaki taught me how to play solitaire, how to be good at Wheel of Fortune (when Chuck Woolery was the host), and how to cook. She was as crazy as a betsybug, but she loved me, and I knew it. She gave the best hugs.

    Thank you, Toot. Blessings to all who loved you.

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  526. My mother and her mother were frequently at odds, but I didn’t know that until I was much older and she was long gone. To me Nana was a hero. She was the maker of pies and the woman who would play Pop-Checks, Trouble and Old Maid with me endlessly. I was EXTREMELY jealous that she lived with my cousins.
    History has a way of repeating itself and my mother and I are at odds, but in this case, alcohol is a major factor. My kids don’t know Muzzie as I would like them too, but that is her choice, not mine.
    I have the amazingly good fortune of being close to my mother-in-law. This is especially good since we live next door to each other :). The are here for dinner 4-5 nights a week and my daughter is learning to sew with her Grammie.

    Grandmother’s are truly magical beings indeed. Rest in peace Toot!

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  527. I have two stories.

    The first is for my mom’s mom. My mom’s parents moved up the street and around the corner from where my parents live. So, when I was in middle school, I would always stop at my grandparents’ house because it was on the way home. My grandma was also so happy to see me and she always had fresh cookies and a glass of milk, or a soda, for me. Those afternoons were some of the best I ever had.

    As for my story with my dad’s mom, it has to be the trip I took with her, my dad, and my aunt last January. We all flew out to Illinois to celebrate my great-aunt’s 90th birthday at the nun’s retirement home. The whole weekend was so much fun and it was great to be able to travel with my grandma.

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  528. I was fortunate enough to know all of my grandparents, three in which are still living today. My favorite memory with my Nana (mother’s mom), well there isn’t just one. I love talk to her about everything from politics to the weather, and she is one opinionated 91 year old! She has been a pacifist and a Democrat her whole life, and she has been very excited about this election and hopes that Obama wins. I adore her, respect her, and admire her.

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  529. Every year, on my birthday, my grandmother took the whole slew of us to see a musical. Those family moments of joy and music always make me smile.

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  530. My grandma knew I hated liver, almost as much as she did. On the nights she made everyone else eat it, she fixed cheeseburgers for us. She still made me eat soft-boiled eggs, though. She also made sure I learned the multiplication tables, drafting her own kids to make me do it. I still miss her to this day. I lost her in 2000. She was the perfect grandma & is the standard I apply to all. Short, round, gray headed, with a mean sense of humor. My kids got ripped, poor things.

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  531. It’s funny that you ask for a memory of my grandmother – when I was just thinking today how much you remind me of her. She was wry and witty and had such a sense of life to her.

    My favorite story was late in her life. Mom Mom had been an art teacher, and loved the impressionistic era the most. There was a special collection at the Philadelphia art museum, and my mom called to see when would be the best time to see it (mom mom was in a wheelchair at this point). The person at the museum said that they were actually having a closed display for a special guest, but they could sneak my grandmother in, since there would only be one other person.

    So Mom Mom had the exhibit almost all to herself. Just her and Ladybird Johnson, who was thrilled to have an expert on the impresionistic era to walk her through the exhibit.

    Thank you Helen and Margaret. I love you both. I mean it.

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  532. My grandmother and grandfather gave me a home for five years and had a big part in raising me for the ten years before that.

    That’s just one of the reasons that Obama resonates so much for me.

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  533. My grandmother passed away in 2001 just two months shy of her 101st birthday. She was a strong woman of great faith who never failed to be available for her family whenever she was needed. When my brother was born with Downs Syndrome she practically moved in with us for a year. My favorite memory of her; however, is this…every night until she broke her hip at 94, she quietly got down on her knees beside her bed to pray before she went to sleep. She was indeed grand!

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  534. I lost my grandparents in the late 60’s early 70’s while I was in junior high and high school. I have memories of visiting them as a child. Memories of fresh baked cookies, a wonderful backyard garden of gorgeous flowers. Big beautify apple trees and hours spent helping grandma make applesauce and apple pie. My maternal grandmother smelled like Elizabeth Arden’s Blue Grass cologne and had the softest hug in the world. I am sad that I didn’t know them as an adult.

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  535. I am so sorry that Senator Barak Obama’s grandmother did not live long enough to see him voted in as President of the United States. I loved my grandmother so very much. She never scolded me for anything in her life time. As far as I know she never scolded any of my cousins either. She was raised to be a lady and was until the day she died.

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  536. My grandma and grandad lived close to us when I was a kid. Grandad kept a pack of hounds for wolf hunting. They had a pen, but one got out quite often and chased Grandma’s chickens. One day Grandma grabbed the shotgun. “Julius,” she said. “If that dog doesn’t quit chasin’ my hens, I’m going to shoot him.”
    “You’ll never hit him.” Grandad replied. “That shotgun doesn’t even shoot straight.”
    “Yeah? Well see that branch over the dog’s head?” Grandma took aim at the tree branch and pulled the trigger.
    Blew that dog to kingdom come.
    Grandma never did live that one down.
    Susan

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  537. My maternal grandmother lived with us from the time I was 2. She moved in with my grandfather and aunt. She was in her 70’s and quite ill, so she was often in bed.

    My grandfather would make her a “spot” of tea with some toast to eat and bring it to her. he would look at me quite seriously and say, now don’t take any tea or toast from Nana. As soon as he left, my nana would wink at me and tell me to take a sip. I was afraid to disobey my Grandpa, but also my Nana, So I would take a sip. Then she would say, take a little piece of the toast with jam on it, the middle piece with no crust. Well, I’d take it and eat it quickly. In moments, my grandpa would come in and ask, did you take Nana’s food? My nana would answer for me, Oh, Papa, she would say, she’s just keeping me company. One time I caught her winking at him and I realized that this was a game with them. It built up her spirits and while I was there, she would eat the rest of her toast and drink her tea. Her hair was very long and she would sometimes let me brush it, IF I did it gently. She was there for me when my mom died when I was 4 yrs old, and she died when I was 6 years old. It’s funny, I was so young when she died, yet the time that she took just talking to me, has kept her memory alive in my heart all these many years later. I’m now soon to be 66 years old.

    My grandmother on my father’s side was wonderful too. She lived until I was in my 20’s. I could write a book about her and her spirit. My granddaughter has her name as a middle name, Rose. If spirits become stars, then hers is the brightest in the heavens.

    Paula

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  538. My Grandma Bean was an awesome lady. Most of the memories I have of her make me smile and/or laugh. She and Grandpa adored my brother and I. We would spend the night at her house from time to time and she would cook whatever we wanted. She pretended that my ratty old Snoopy doll could talk to her, and I ate it up with a spoon. The day she died (I was 15), I hugged that doll and felt a horrible grief.

    I’m 30 now, and I still have that doll. He sits on my night table and has travelled the world with me. I will never pack him away.

    I wish I could have had the same with my other grandma, but there was too much distance–geographically and religiously. Still, I had an okay relationship with her.

    Grandma’s Rule!! (Grandpa’s do, too!)

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  539. A friend posted a link to your site on Facebook and I’ve really enjoyed the posts I’ve read so far. I hope I have as much personality in my 80s as you two do.

    One of my grandmothers is still living. She’s a real British Gran and the reason my grandfather isn’t in a nursing home. I try to talk to her three or four times a week.

    My other grandmother died almost 10 years ago. She also faithfully nursed my grandfather through two strokes and two heart attacks over 25 years. In the end, Nannie didn’t take enough time for her own health and died a year and a half before he did. She was a woman of great integrity and greater faith who never pursued a life outside the home — her children and her husband were her career although she could have done anything she set her mind to do. There’s a great photo of her riding on the back of my youngest uncle’s motorcycle in the 70s that I love.

    She also had a great friend — a pen pal from England whom she started to write to during WWII. That they never met in person has always struck me as a great shame.

    The older I get, the more I wish I could have known my Nannie better as an adult (I was only 22 when she died). I often wish I could have one more phone call, especially now that I’m expecting a child myself.

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  540. I am sad to say that while, I loved both of my Grandmothers I didn’t fully appreciate all they gave me until they were gone. In high school and college I was a champion debater. Everything I learned from my speech and debate classes still enriches my life every day. It wasn’t until my maternal Grandmother passed and my Mom presented me with her debate medals (real gold in those days) that I knew we shared this passion. Now I beg my parents for stories of their parents and find myself in them every time.

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  541. Hi Helen and Margaret,

    My grandmother and I have shared a very special bond since I was born. You see, my mother was a teenager when I was born, and after 5 boys in a row, a granddaughter was a welcome addition.

    My grandmother often brags that as she walked through the door from work, I stood up and walked over to her for the very first time – at nine months.

    As years have past, my ambitions and achievements have always been a source of pride for my gramms. That said, she too is the source of my pride. I moved to Chicago from Southern California in 2005 and have been wanting her to visit. It was only until this past August – and my threat to kidnap her – that she made the trip to Chicago.

    A weeks vacation left her relaxed and happy. But most of all, it left me with the pride that I could give her the love that she has always given me. I know I am the favorite grandchild, however she is also my best friend. When the news broke that Obama’s gramma died, my grandmother was the first one I called.

    Obama’s grandparents and parents will be smiling down upon him from Heaven. Seeing his tears in North Carolina speaking of his Toot brought tears to my eyes. I pray that God wraps his arms around his whole family during this time.

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  542. This memory is kind of odd, but it is what I am thinking of now.Firstly, my grandmother kept Kosher and if she used the wrong silverware,mixing up the milk with the meat ,she would plant the unclean utensil in her garden to be purified. Secondly,she taught me how to polish silver;and when I polish her silver that was passed on to me I feel very close to her. I was thinking about Senator Obama and his Grandmother and I think that she reached such a level of pride and confidence in him and his task that she could go.I wish there was a way to send him my condolences along with the Thank You note we thought of a writing him few days ago.

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  543. My grandparents on my mother’s side certainly made me who I am, in spite of my parents’ best efforts.

    Better to be mischievous, imaginative, fearless, open-minded and stubborn (and Welsh) than timid, uptight, hidebound and racist (and in denial of your roots)

    Here’s to grandparents everywhere and the spanners they put in schools and parents’ work!

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  544. My grandmother keeps a closet full of toys and coloring books for any of her “kids” that happen to stop by. Many of the ones her great and great-great grandkids play with now are ones that I played with 20-30 years ago.

    They still smell the same. It’s like chocolate chip cookies – you always recognize the smell.

    My grandparents have arguably been the most influential people in my life. I can’t imagine my world without them and my heart goes out to Barack Obama today more so than anyone.

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  545. I lost my mimi in March of this year. I lost my Grandmom in ’99.
    I remember Grandmom giggling and the sticky candies she kept at the bottom of her purse. She would poke us in the middle of the church sermon and Mom couldn’t fuss at us for not paying attention!
    I remember the way Mimi smelled. I remember her calling the cousins and I “the dolls,” and her big gardening hat. And of course, she giggled too! My grandmothers had wonderful senses of humor!
    Thank you for giving me the chance to speak of my wonderful grandmothers! I miss them *terribly* but I’m grateful for any opportunity to talk about them.

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