I recently returned from my home town, Ashtabula Ohio, on a trip no one wants to take, one for a funeral. My maternal grandmother passed away, Alberta Taft. She was quite the woman. I always thought I knew her well, but I learned a whole lot more about this amazing woman after spending time listening to multiple generations and friends tell stories of her life. Grandma was a very godly lady who lived out the walk and was a sincere witness to the lifestyle of Proverbs 31 Woman, but she was never preachy. She lived her life as an example, and isn’t that how we all should be living. Grandma was also very outspoken and blazed her own trail. But here are a few things about my grandma that I learned this weekend (maybe one that I’ve always known) that will explain a lot about who I am and a tiny bit of my great heritage!
- I always thought I was the special one as far as the grandkids were concerned. Grandma had this old orange cookie jar (literally it was a huge cookie jar shaped as an orange) and whenever I was at their house the first thing I would do was check out the cookie jar. She always had cookies, and I could always sneak one without retribution. But I never took from Grandpa’s jar (it was filled with gingersnaps) he’d always catch me and he didn’t like to share his cookies! I thought I was the only one who got away with “sneakin’ cookies” but come to find out, everyone snuck cookies from the cookie jar, but never Grandpa’s!
- On family camping trips when my grandma had young children, she would insist on eating ice-cream for lunch at the local ice-cream shops when they left their campsites on their way to their next destination. For some reason though, when I was young going on these huge family camping trips I don’t remember doing this… but today with my young children we do this a lot, on a whim though not just camping, we’ll just eat ice-cream and or popcorn for dinner. In fact, we had ice-cream for lunch one day in Disney World.
- She could sew and quilt beautifully. I remember her sewing all of my baton twirling uniforms, my aunt’s wedding dress, my prom dresses, even my tiny Barbie doll dresses and outfits. She became very well known as a master quilter, winning numerous prizes and awards for her skill and beauty in her work. I can’t even sew a button on, I regret not taking the time to learn from her and now it’s too late.
- Grandma went to school to be a nursing assistant (or maybe it was to be a nurse, I can’t remember now). And she never babied us when we got hurt, neither did my mom. Maybe that is where I get that from too! “Ahh, rub some dirt on it, you’ll be fine!”
- One last thing... Grandma had the best sheets in the world. I loved sleeping at her house. The bed sheets were always crisp and smelled wonderful. I know she didn’t have a clothes dryer and lined dried everything. She claims that’s what made her sheets “so good!”, but mine never smell or feel like hers. I don’t know what she did or how she did it. I’ve tried to replicate the process over the years but could never do it just like her. My line-dried sheets certainly don’t smell like hers, maybe it’s that Ohio air; it’s much richer up there!