“The real things haven't changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.” ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

Monday, January 19, 2015

Happiness in Little Things

It's important to look for and enjoy those 'little things' that bring us happiness in life.

A happy chickadee... After I cropped the picture, it looks like the feeder is on the ground, but it's just the angle. I took the picture from my front door. The yard was *full* of happy singing birds. I love watching the birds at the feeder. Happiness from a simple bag of bird seed. :-)

A loaf of cinnamon bread from our neighbor....oh, it is yummy! It's a blessing to have good neighbors!


When we were visiting with my parents at Christmas, I mentioned to Mom that I remembered a pretty little blue candle holder she had that sat on a table in the living room. She went right to the kitchen and pulled it out of one of the cabinets and gave it to me. Isn't it pretty? I had no idea she'd kept it all these years! I'm happy to have it!

All these bags went to Goodwill last week. Now my closets and cabinets have a little more room to *breathe*...such a good feeling! It's amazing how things can accumulate!

Take care,
~Melanie

Friday, January 9, 2015

Grandma's Box

Thank you all for your kind comments on my last post. I've enjoyed going through my memories of those sweet times with my grandma.

After she passed away, my mom was fortunate enough to get this box.

I think this was probably Grandma's special box.



Here's a closer look at some of the things inside...


 ...quilt pieces. I have no idea how many quilts she made over the years.
 
 ...my grandpa's railroad cap. He passed away when my mom was only twelve.

...a little notebook. It contains a hodgepodge of things like grocery lists, prayer requests, little doodles (most likely from one of her many grandchildren).

...recipes. I remember some of these. Seeing her handwriting makes it all much more special.

...an outline of the hand of her son, Albert. This is her child that passed away as an infant. What a sad time that must have been for her. Now she's reunited with him in heaven.

I'm so happy that Mom has this little box...such sweet memories.

Take care,
~Melanie

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Memories of Grandma and Her House

I have such sweet memories of my grandma.  She passed away when I was only nine, but I still remember her. She was so humble and soft-spoken, always doing things for other people.

An early picture...

A picture of her not long before she passed away.

She would come and stay with us some during the winter. She quilted while she was there, but she also took time out to play. I remember coloring with her and playing UNO. My brother would cheat by looking at her cards through the reflection in her glasses. I loved to brush her hair, and the lotion she wore always smelled so good.

She slept in my bed with me. If I got too fidgety, she'd call me a wiggle worm. Lying there in the dark, she taught me to say my ABC's backwards. She said I was the only grandchild who learned.

Grandma had ten children. One was stillborn and one died as an infant, so that left her with eight children to raise in a little house. My mom was the youngest of them all. Grandma wasn't materialistic, and only had space for what was really important.



This is a picture I drew of her house. I don't have any pictures of it...my mom has some, and I need to make copies of them. This is the street view from Google Earth, so I went by that. I'm not an artist, so this is the best I could do. It gives you an idea of what her house looked like....I would guess no more than 1,000 square feet. The patio is drawn from memory. It may have been different from what I remember.

The tree to the left of the house was a tall cedar. At Christmastime I remember it being decorated with big colored lights.

The space between the cedar and the house was a flower garden. Grandma loved flowers and always kept things so pretty.

The house is made into the side of the hill on the left. The two windows on the left are to the living room, and the cellar is next to that. I remember it always being chilly and damp. Grandma had a garden, so the cellar shelves were lined with all the good food she canned. She made her own mincemeat, and it was so good! I'd love to have one of her mincemeat pies again.

In addition to all her regular housework, she also did odd jobs to make a little money. She would sew clothing for people, she even made Barbie doll clothes. I still have the Barbie doll clothes she made for me. She also cut people's hair and took in ironing. Whatever money she made would go into a canning jar she kept in the cellar. Mom would tell her she 'canned' money. :-) It would be there whenever the need arose for a little extra here and there.

Down the hill to the right is the main road. Further to the right is the river. One of Mom's older sisters remembers walking to the river to get water to wash clothes. Their well didn't work, so they would get drinking water from a neighbor's well. By going around the neighborhood collecting signatures, Grandpa was instrumental in getting the city to install water lines across the road.  By the time Mom was born, they had indoor plumbing. They still didn't have a bathroom though, only an outhouse. Grandpa passed away when Mom was twelve, and Grandma used the insurance money to put in a bathroom.

When the whole family got together, that little house could hardly contain us all! I remember one time I tried on a pair of my aunt's high heeled shoes, then one of my uncles snatched me up by my feet and swung me around the room!

My cousins and I loved being there together. We'd crawl under the dining room table and play. There was a special drawer in the hutch that was just for us. Grandma kept bags of candy in there. I can remember there being gumdrops, orange slices,  and marshmallow peanuts. Orange slices were my favorite, but I couldn't stand the marshmallow peanuts! Yuck! There used to be a porch on the side closest to the road, but it had been enclosed. Grandma kept her freezer back there, and she always made sure there was ice cream in it for us. I remember curling up in the recliner with the GRIT magazine and working the puzzles. My favorite was finding the differences between the two pictures. There was an old metal dollhouse to play with, and so many other things I'm sure I'm forgetting, but it was such fun to be at Grandma's!

Right after I finished fourth grade, I spent the week at Grandma's house. We had a great time. My parents came to pick me up on Sunday evening before church, and after we returned home that night, we received the call that Grandma had had a heart attack and passed away shortly after we left. Her son who lived up the road found her when he had come to pick her up for church. I was so sad and I still miss her, but I'm thankful for the time we had together, and I'm looking forward to seeing her again in heaven someday.

One of my uncles bought her house after she passed away. I haven't been back in it though. I'm sure it must look different inside now, and I want to remember it just as it was all those years ago.

Take care,
~Melanie