I Wonder if My Great Grandma Knew What She Was Making

I come from a long line of amazingly creative women. From Great-Grandmas down to my Mom.

My Great-Grandma Palma, on my father’s side was only in my life for a short time. I believe she passed away when I was 7 and I only got to meet her a few times. Those few visits though inspired me greatly and were wonderful memories. She had a huge collection of salt and pepper shakers and other beautiful things that I loved to look at and made me want to start collecting antiques. She gave me quite a few of her salt and pepper sets that I still display in my home. She also gave me a very old miniature cast iron stove to use with my Barbies that my daughter now uses with her dolls. She crocheted doll dresses for me that my daughter also still uses.

My most loved gift from her though was my crocheted collars. She made me about 10 in all different colors. I wore them all of the time in elementary school. I thought they were the most extraordinary things! I began putting them on my own daughter when she was in Kindergarten and she thinks they are equally as cool as I do!

I wonder if my Great Grandma knew as she crocheted those little collars for me and gave me those little gifts that they would be with me forever and that I would pass them down to my own daughter. I wonder if she knew that she was making me more than a crocheted collar….she was making a piece of herself, a gift of love, that I can hold on to forever and spread her love to many more.

Iris wearing one of the crocheted collars to school today.

Iris wearing one of the crocheted collars to school today.

A close up of the collar

A close up of the collar



She Might Be a Grandma…

The other day I was asked if I had a “child” or a “grandchild” attending school. This was asked to my face by a man in his 50’s.

I am a 37 year old mom with three small children so now I am extremely self-conscious that I perhaps really do look like a grandma. I understand that logistically you can actually be a grandma at the age of 37 if you had your children at a young age and then your children also had their children at a young age. But I’m assuming that even if you truly are a grandma at the age of 37 you are probably hoping people wouldn’t guess it by just looking at you.

Okay, so I do look a little tired!

Okay, so I do look a little tired!

So I am creating a list of items to help people distinguish between a grandma and a mom so more people do not make the same mistake that the man I encountered the other day did.

She might be a Grandma if:

  • She has used, crumpled tissues stuck in both arm sleeves and her bra and is willing to whip one out and use it on anyone with a  runny nose she comes across.
  • Her pockets are full with warm butterscotch candies that she doles out to anyone with a sad look on their face
  • She utters, “Just give that baby another cookie. It doesn’t matter if he has already had 5.”
  • She is wearing White Shoulders perfume
  • If she doesn’t wear perfume she will smell like a mix of Ben-Gay and fresh baked cookies.
  • She is carrying a bottle of Pepto Bismol in her purse and takes it out every so often and has a swig.
  • She is a walking pharmacy. If you have any sort of ailment she can probably dig through her purse and produce something that will cure it. Never mind the expiration date.
  • She shakes her head at the prices of things and mutters “I remember when milk was only a nickel a gallon.
  • She talks about Pat and Vanna from Wheel of Fortune like they are her best friends.
  • When she tells you your bloomers are showing you don’t feel embarrassed at all…you feel looked after and loved.

So these are a few things that will indicate that you are dealing with a grandma. Admittedly, I actually do some of these things. So truly the best rule to follow when you don’t know whether to address someone as a mom or grandma is just to wait until a child approaches them. If the kid starts shouting, “Grandma, Grandma…Mom said I can’t have any candy” and you then witness the lady slip 3 warm butterscotch candies into the child’s hand….then you have my permission to address her as Grandma too. Otherwise, you might just give a very tired mom a complex!

This is the mental image I have of myself now!

This is the mental image I have of myself now!

Grandmas Have A Dark Side

The word Grandma conjures up images of sweet little old ladies. They are busy knitting, baking cookies and going about doing charitable good deeds. This all may be very true but I know a dark side to Grandmas. They also have suppressed frustration towards their own children.

The years of headaches I have caused my mom is having its repercussions. I have proof my mom has a personal vendetta against me.

This is what I witnessed the other day.

My mom giving Cesar a sip of coffee

I have seen with my own eyes, Cesar ask Grandma for sips of coffee, and her in amusement oblige his request. She laughs and says, “It’s his Norwegian blood running through him. Norwegians just LOVE their coffee.”

I already have my hands full keeping heads and tails of this child so clearly a sip of caffeine will not further my cause of keeping a handle on taking care of an already mischievous 2 year old.

Apparently, my husband was a very naughty child as well that left his mother on a mission to get back at him too.

This is a scene I caught earlier this summer when Cesar’s other Grandma came to visit.

My husband’s Mom giving Cesar a sip of her coffee

I guess Cesar’s Hispanic blood that he has running through him was craving some coffee too!

Both my mom and mother-in-Law ARE very sweet ladies. They are the best Grandmas my kids could have. However, they do have a dark side.

Their dark side causes them to dole out one too many cookies, say “yes” when they should say “no” and give out sips of coffee. This is what my husband and I get after the amount of gray hair we gave them and years of worry we bestowed upon them. Sometimes I wish they would just give us a spanking.

Bringing Johnson Gunfrunk Back to Life

My Grandpa Dale was a farmer in southwestern Wisconsin. He died some years back but I can still picture him telling a story. He had a rough voice and even though he always talked calmly it carried well. He was constantly smiling; both with his mouth and his eyes when he talked and would let out a rumbly chuckle here and there. He folded his hands on the table when he talked and would move his head in such a way to accentuate the important parts of his story. He was a master story teller.

My Grandpa wrote countless short stories under the alias, Johnson Gunfrunk, that were published in magazines and in his local newspaper. Today they are still featured in The LaFarge Episcope, a small town newspaper in Wisconsin ran by my Uncle Lonnie.

I wanted to share one of his stories today that proves…Motherhood has ALWAYS been an art form!

Grandma’s Apron

I grew up in an era when all the womenfolk wore aprons and a more indispensable piece of apparel was never invented. Mother Eve probably started the ball rolling but hers was a rather skimpy inefficient model, and about as useful as a bird’s nest with the bottom knocked out.

Grandma always wore an apron and she used it for everything, to gather eggs in, to scoop up strayed baby chickens, she carried hot boiled potatoes to the table in a clean corner of it and then wiped the nose of a snotty grandchild on another corner. It made a handy pouch to carry wood chips and corn cobs for kindling and, although grandma never smoked some her neighbor ladies did, and they carried their clay or corn cob pipes in an apron pocket.

In a pinch it could be whipped off and used as a milk strainer; yes, I have seen that happen, but it was back before the days of milk inspectors.

Aprons were also useful to cry into when the old man came home drunker than a skunk and the missus realized she was going to have to do the milking all by her lonesome.

Grandma could be out slopping the hogs or teaching a new calf to drink out of a bucket when suddenly she would let out a whoop that meant company was coming. Making a beeline for the house, she would snatch off her dirty apron, exchange it for a freshly-laundered one, make a few splashes in the wash dish, pat her hair into place and emerge to meet the guests with poise and confidence.

You seldom see anyone wearing an apron nowadays and the outdoor type farm wives of the present who do get out and mix it up with the livestock all wear blue jeans and a tee shirt. No doubt this is more practical in this mechanized age as an apron would have a great predilection for winding up in a power take-off shaft. However, if I were a little snot-nosed kid again I would rather have my nose wiped on a corner of grandma’s apron than on the cuff of a pair of blue jeans.

By: Johnson Gunfrunk, farm reporter

My Grandpa Dale aka Johnson Gunfrunk