Letter From Granma

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on January 8, 2012

When a child is born–so is a Grandmother.  It is not something I aspired to be. (aspired will be our word of the week). 

When I was a little girl, I had 2 Grandmothers.  My mother’s mother, Clara Arras was German, and she would speak German to my Grandfather, so that we couldn’t understand what she was saying (especially when she was frustrated by our activities).  She lived in a big gray house, with a huge garden in the back and a grand porch in the front.   She was not a warm, cuddly, Grandmother, but she was a wonderful cook–she made the best noodles and pies in the world.  She would take me and my cousin, Cynthia, shopping at Woolworth’s and get us lunch–I would always get the hot roast beef sandwich with mashed potaoes and gravy and  a Tin Roof Sundae (vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, peanuts, whipped cream, and a cherry on top.)  I would stay at her house with my cousin, and we would have all kinds of adventures from a very young age until we were teenagers.  My cousin and I would eat together at a card table in front of the TV in the “front room”.  The only draw back was that we had to watch Laurence Welk (thank goodness for the Lennon Sisters–who we adored). 

We would make koolade in a big pitcher–my favorite was lemon/lime.  In the summers we had fresh picked corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes, and cucumbers with vinegar and onions–straight out of the garden.  Christmas at her house was a HUGE event, with all of the family eating and opening mountains of presents.  The granddaughters always received a “spectacular” dress from Aunt Maggie.  I remember when we would go to visit  her–we would go upstairs to bed and my Mother would sit downstairs with Grandma side by side in big rocking chairs and talk for hours.  I have no idea the things that they would talk about, but I remember thinking at the time how different the two of them were–and  wondered why they would have so many things to talk about late at night.

My other Grandmother was Granma Granma Benny, Bernice Benington, was my father’s mother and I think she was my soul mate. I was her first grandchild, and my cousins on this side of the family were younger than I, and seldom stayed with Granma when I was there—so I had her all to myself.   Her house wasn’t as big and as nice as my other grandmother, but she had a front porch with a big porch swing–we would sit out there for hours and talk about everything.  Frequently the noise of a train would interrupt our conversation–the tracks were just a block away.  I didn’t get to stay with her as often as I did with Grandma Arras, because she worked, and it was difficult for her to keep me and be at her job.  She had a rocking chair in her dining room at the side window of the room that looked out at the alley and down the busy street.  I remember so many times sitting with her in that chair and watching for people to arrive for family events.  When I went to bed at her house, I would get to sleep with her.  She would tell me stories and scratch my back.  She had a huge drawer in the bottom of her dresser filled with fabric scraps, old jewelry, feathers, flowers and dress-up clothes and shoes.  I would play “dress up” for hours.  I was everything I wanted to be upstairs in her bedroom. 

I would like to tell you many more stories about my Grandparents, and my Parents in the letters to come.  I would like to tell you about growing up and all of my memories.  I would like to tell you stories of your Daddy and your Auntie Amy growing up as well.  I want to share with you my hopes and dreams, my fears and failings, all of the things that make me who I am.  I want to share things with you that will help you grow up and help you better understand who you are and where you came from.  I want to share with you little wisdoms…so it is with the greatest excitement that I begin to send you “Letters from Granma”.  I aspire to be the very best Granma that I can be!


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