|Grandma Carol (My Paternal Grandmother)|
|Grandma Penny (My Maternal Grandmother) and Me|
I have to give Adriana a tremendous amount of credit for being able to write an entire book about her grandmothers' lives and the lessons she learned from them. I'm terribly emotional just trying to write a little post, and it's even more difficult for me to try to express my feelings in words. (Guess that's why she's a best-selling author and I'm just me!) Suffice it to say that I don't think I can do justice to these two awesome women. I'm just glad to be able to say that I have a little bit of their blood running through my veins.
I shared DON'T SING AT THE TABLE with my mom and the book got us both thinking about what we've learned from our mothers and grandmothers. I thought it might be interesting to make my own list of "life lessons" that I learned from my grandmothers. So my mom and I sat down and discussed what I've been lucky enough to gain from my grandmothers' wisdom. It was so much fun to reflect on the events of their lives and just how much they've managed to teach me. I have to think that Adriana would be so proud!
There are many, many valuable things that I have learned from my grandmothers, and I thought I'd share a few of them with you. But first, I wanted to tell you a little bit about each one of them.
My grandma Carol is my father's mom, and she is also my godmother. She's a very smart woman who never had the chance to finish high school because she had to get a job cleaning houses to help support her family. I absolutely adore her and she's definitely a character -- we never know what's going to come out of her mouth. She has been married to my Pap Pap for over 66 years (I actually have the ring that he gave her when she was just 14 years old), and she has two sons of whom she is extremely proud (if you don't believe me, just ask her.) When I was around a year old, I lived with her for about a month while my mom was recovering from surgery and I think that's when we really bonded! Her life wasn't always easy -- her husband left for WWII the day after they were married, her daughter died when she was just a few hours old, her husband was injured while working in a coal mine, and at times, she didn't have "two nickels to rub together" (her words, not mine) -- but she always persevered.
My grandma Penny is my mom's mother, and she's one of the most Christian women that I've ever met. She was the oldest of 12 children, and like my grandma Carol, she wasn't able to finish high school because her family needed her help. She married my grandfather who was a farmer and had 6 children over the next 23 years. Talk about a hard worker! She did all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry for eight people, but she didn't have the luxuries (like automatic washing machines, microwaves, and dishwashers) that we have today. In addition, she maintained a humongous garden, canned all of the fruits and vegetables, and made almost all of the clothes for the entire family -- the list could go on and on. As a child, I honestly don't remember her ever sitting down; and if she did, she was mending clothes. She has slowed down a bit in the past few years -- she lost her husband a few years ago and currently lives in a nursing home -- but she recently received a certification to be a peer counselor for other patients in the home. She is celebrating her 88th birthday tomorrow and she has 17 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Needless to say, her family is her life.
Things I Learned from Grandma Carol-- Bargain Shopping
-- The Ability to Laugh at Myself
-- The Importance of a Good Meal
-- How to Make Risotto and Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
-- Fiscal Responsibility/Never Buy Something that You Can't Afford
-- Be Direct
--The Key to a Lasting Marriage is Picking the Right Guy
Things I Learned from Grandma Penny-- A Strong Work Ethic
-- The Importance of Family
-- Nothing Should Go to Waste
-- How to be "Green" -- reusing baggies, saving containers, composting, etc.
-- My Love of Cookbooks and Crafts
-- The Value of Religion
-- There is Strength in Silence
I am so fortunate to have these two women in my life; and I'm even luckier that they've taught me so many important life lessons. Now it's my responsibility to share this wisdom with my children and my grandchildren!