Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer Sleepovers

With the recent death of my mother-in law, and seeing the loving feelings of my children as they mourned such an important person in their life, I think back to the fall of 1965 when my grandmother died and the wonderful memories I have of her...

Beatrice Margarite Harner

I see her charming white house with the big enclosed porch along the front with built in cushioned seats which lifted open to reveal a baby doll's cradle and a baby doll just waiting for me to hug.  I recall cool summer evening breezes and a cuckoo clock striking to tell me it was time for bed. 

It was always special to be able to go and stay for a few nights at her house.  I remember her teaching me how to sew on her Singer sewing machine with a treadle to make the needle go up and down.  
She would help me make doll clothes and when I got bored, she would finish sewing them herself. I may still have some of the outfits up in my attic. And I have the thimble she wore to protect  her finger when she stitched by hand.

                                                                                            Photo from Pintrest

I can see her at her piano playing hymns from the church hymnal and singing along.  I soon would be sitting beside her and learning to play.  I do think my love of old Christian hymns comes from my times with my Grandmom.  

The game of canasta was a card game she loved and, of course, she taught me how to play.  She had a little machine to shuffle the cards because she had lost the top half of her index finger while placing some freshly laundered clothing into the ringer of her washer.  

                                                                                               Photo from Pintrest

Her finger had gotten  caught and was severed, this made shuffling cards, by hand, impossible but I loved using this gadget because shuffling was beyond my skills.

During one of my sleepovers, I remember Grandmom taking me into her bedroom.  I can see her rooting through her jewelry box and taking out a beautiful gold ring with engraving on either side and a garnet stone in the center.  She gave it to me.  I wore it proudly telling everyone where I had gotten it.  Unfortunately, it is now lost.  But I
still have the sweet memory of her giving it to me.

Grandmom had two little chihuahua dogs.  They were little barkers and loved to show their teeth as they greeted me.  She would say they were smiling but I thought otherwise and was a little afraid of them.  She loved them and because of that, I learned to like them...reluctantly.

I can still taste her Thanksgiving turkey gravy and hear everyone commenting on how good it was.  I can see the table all set and the place where I would sit.  The day after was the real treat.  Grandmom and I headed into Philadelphia on the train to begin our Christmas shopping.  For me, it was her taking me to the
giant Woolworths to make my purchases.  For her, Wanamakers and Lit Brothers.

Sometimes, in the summer, my niece, Georgene, would be there with me. We watched my Grandpop as he worked in the garden.  We helped him  pick and carry in the fresh vegetables. Then Grandmom would make piccalilli relish -  the best part of any sandwich I have ever had.  In the evenings, we would sit out under the giant mimosa tree

Grandmom and Grandpop

Aunt Dew (Grandmom's sister) and Grandmom
in her backyard and swing on the hammock or glide on her garden glider 

and when the fireflies would come out, we would use her mason jars to catch them, making our own night lanterns.
             Photo from Pintrest

Photo from Pintrest



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