Saturday, January 07, 2006

Missing Grandma

Sorry for being a bit short on blog-spiration this week! I'm really missing my grandma. I lived with my grandparents while completing graduate school, and at the same time, received a second education in efficiency. Although Grandma's children left home, she had never quite gotten the knack of cooking without tripling the recipe. Her brain, trained from so many years of bulk buying, kept spinning ahead on economy mode. Rather than buy Hershey's kisses or breath mints by the bag, she bought them by the case. When she found a particularly flattering knit suit, she ordered not one--but one in every color. She pioneered the market on kitchen gadgetry (among her triumphs, buying the George Foreman grill in its very first infomercial version). When she discovered a timesaver, all ten kids found it under their respective Christmas trees.

Even more impressive was her complete mental inventory of every drawer, closet, and shelf in the sprawling farmhouse. Every item had a place, and behind that item lay its spare. If something was broken, it was immediately fixed or replaced. If a bill needed payment, it was instantly paid and recorded. If any member of her huge family needed advice, she sat in her chair ready to dispense--or she was on the Web at 6 am, researching for our next house purchase (at age 79, no less!). She was the stable force in our chaotic childhood. She always had the answer.

I remember my grandma for these times of security and abundance, but keeping home wasn't always so easy for her. A professional pianist from D.C., she married a young Navy doctor. After WWII, he took her home to rural Tennessee. She watched her new mother-in-law chop a chicken's head off on her first visit. It was a culture shock. She helped her husband fulfill his dream of building a hospital. She built the family--for many years, squeezing seven children in a two-bedroom house. She was the age I am now. I wish I could have seen her then.

One of my biggest regrets is not giving her the link to this blog. I think she would have gotten a big kick out of reading it!


Monica Wilkinson said...

Thank you for sharing this - I really enjoyed reading it! She sounds like an amazing woman!

Anonymous said...

God bless and thanks for sharing this. I know the power of a wonderful Grandmother too. Mine was the only person is my youth to give me the unconditional love that every child deserves. Her influence, like your grandmother's, is felt today. How lucky we are to have known them and be loved by them.

Mrs.Garcia said...

Meredith, Thank you for sharing about your Grandmother. She sounded like she was a really great woman.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your grandma's story. She must have been a great lady. I understand missing family. My Dad died suddenly Oct 24th. Instead of thinking of the regrets, count yourself among the lucky ones to have had such a great influence in your life.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like she was the link to your blog... Your blog is the distillation of all the things you admired about her. Because of her inspiration you are who you are. In my best moments, I am most like my maternal grandmother and my husband's maternal grandmother. Thank you for sharing your life triumphs and your grandmother with us. -Melissa

Anonymous said...

My grandmother died when I was in my first year of nursing school. I had wonderful times with her when I was a little girl, and I have missed her tremendously since getting married and having a family. She was everything that I would like to become- a wonderful homemaker, a fabulous cook, artistic, talented in so many ways....I wish she were still here to show me how to become that same kind of woman she was.
I am glad that you shared the story of your grandmother. What a tremendous woman she must have been. And I'm just wondering, did your grandmother ever learn to butcher her own chickens?
Susan, in Illinois

PS- I was just on Sue Gregg's website last night, reading through the instructions about how to make those blender waffles. And now here it is on your blog today! Did you use the method where you have to let the grain and buttermilk soak overnight? How many hours did you let them soak? Just wondering, since I want to try it myself soon!

Meredith said...

Susan, I used whole organic oats and wheat berries for the grain. I put them in the blender with buttermilk (made from powdered buttermilk) for about 12-13 hours before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Anonymous said...

Aw! What a gift your grandma is! I'm really glad you had (have) her influence in your life.

God's blessings to you!