Tag Archives: Tradition

My Grandmother’s Stories, II

“I remember the doll my cousins and I played with at our maternal grand parents’ home.  Mother and her sisters learned to sew at an early age.  They made their clothing and with the leftover scraps made doll clothes, also quilt patches and rag rugs.  There was only one doll left by the time my cousins and I arrived on the “scene,” and it had a fabulous wardrobe.  There was also a doll size three drawer dresser and hump back trunk for storage.  That doll was dressed for all occasions church, trips, parties and anywhere else our imagination took us.  Unfortunately, she didn’t have a head.  The china head had been broken and someone had patched the hole so the stuffings didn’t run out.  Lack of a head didn’t slow down her social life one bit, we hardly missed it except when there was a matching bonnet for one of the many dresses.”

This is a story I wish I’d heard when grandma was still around.





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Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Grandma's Stories


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My Grandmother’s Stories

My mother, with no small amount of foresight, asked her mother to write down stories she remembered from her life. Stories that the rest of us might enjoy having around. Well, my grandmother died in March. It was hard to talk to my mom and my brothers about it because I wasn’t just sad that my grandma (the apple-pie grandma) had passed, but also because the loss of your last living grandparent reflects somewhat on your own mortality.

Imagine my surprise when this image showed up in an email from my mother. It turns out that my grandma had filled out a great many journals with little tidbits that she remembered. Since she was not functioning at 100% for a while before she passed, both physically and mentally, these treasures mean that much more. When I last saw my grandma, she had a tendency to repeat herself, check the mail several times after she’d already gotten it, and drop off in the middle of sentences. Reading this reminds me of the joyous, witty woman that my grandmother had been.

And no, even though my mother has been sending me typed translations to accompany the difficult to read handwriting, I’m not going to do that for you. I haven’t looked at the Courier New versions and I don’t think you should either. Betty is far more present in her sometimes illegible script than she is in a serif font.


Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Grandma's Stories


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In for a Penny, in for…wait, what?

NPR had a segment the other day that brought back up the movement toward getting rid of the penny. It’s hardly the first time that discussions have centered around how useful the penny is or isn’t. In fact, in 2002, Rep. Jim Kolbe introduced the Legal Tender Modernization Act and in 2006 he introduced the Currency Overhaul for an Industrious Nation (COIN) Act, both failed attempts at doing away with the penny once and for all.

To be completely honest, I’ve never given much thought to it and this isn’t much about the actual use or need or relevance attached to the penny as a monetary unit. No, something else struck me as potentially consequential during the drive time discussion. What happens to the sayings attached to the penny when the penny doesn’t mean anything to a new generation? In for a penny, in for a pound. A penny saved is a penny earned. Penny for your thoughts. What impact does it have on writers when language loses value as currency does?

I’m no Luddite clinging desperately to the meaningful things of my past to make sense of the world. I don’t fear change. Thankfully, since things have been upgrading and updating every other minute since I was born, I’ve learned to adapt and embrace the new without mourning for the old. And yet I can’t help but wonder what happens to our language when we’ve phase out things peculiar to it.

In for a nickel, in for a pound loses the alliteration that makes it catchy. Dime for your thoughts seems almost nonsensical even if paying a penny for a thought never made any more sense. And while anything saved is something technically earned, that’s actually a quote attributed to Ben Franklin and shouldn’t be adjusted without reanimating the old fellow and asking for his own newer and more relevant version. Perhaps I’m being ridiculously sentimental, but it occurs to me that we risk losing touch with the language our ancestors grew up with. Does it make me a prosophobe if I don’t want to swap penny wise, pound foolish for off the chain or in the hizzy?


Posted by on April 12, 2012 in Uncategorized


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