Yesterday my post was about Sundays when I was growing up.... Memories of my family and especially of my Grandma. I had the ideal childhood...I was an only child until I was 13. My parents loved each other and me. We had little money, but everything we needed. My Dad worked hard to provide a wonderful home life for us. My husband's story is different. Today I'll tell some of his memories.This is his Grandma. She came here after her husband, from Sicily when she was 26 yrs. old. Due to some family problems Joe was raised by his Grandma for several years. He lived in a house with his Grandparents and their grown children. I think he said that there were 10 people around the table for meals. He was just a tiny boy with all these grown people. He said that his Grandma spoke no English and that she couldn't read, so it was up to him to go shopping with her and translate for her. She couldn't speak the language, but she was smart as can be. They walked everywhere and pulled a wagon. He would stand up on a railing by the meat counter and talk back and forth between the butcher and his Grandma. He would tell her how much things cost and between the two of them the bill would be paid. She cooked for all these people everyday....baking many loaves of bread each week. She made cheese and other good things. Everything was fresh and made from scratch. Joe says she was such a hard worker and really didn't have a very good life. One day a week, she would get ready and go to visit some of her old "cronies" (as my husband says) She wore a long beaver coat in the winter. They would sometimes have miles to walk. Joe would get under her coat and the two of them would face the cold...walking together (two sets of legs under a beaver coat...what a picture)....so she could get out of the house and visit. Joe was the only child there, during these visits, and he would sit and listen. They only spoke Italian, but he understood almost every word and would enter in on their conversations once in a while. He says now that these old ladies got such a kick out of this little boy rattling off this Italian. He says he could speak as good as they did. He would entertain himself and many times just fall asleep on the couch till it was time to go home. There were no toys to play with. Can't you just see this little dark haired boy, talking with these "old cronies" in his second language? It seems that kids today need to be entertained with TV and games and would have a hard time sitting still and just listening to adults talk.
Another comment yesterday was about a Grandma tying coins in a hanky and putting it in a child's pocket for safe keeping. his Grandma did this too with his milk money for school. My Mom and Grandma did the same. Do they do that anymore? I had a little drawer with tiny children's hankys in it. Do they even make kid's hankys anymore?
Well, Joe may have had a hard life years ago, but his Grandma came to the rescue. She was there when she was needed and raised him, loved him, and instilled good values in her Grandson. Her picture hangs in our living room. Every once in a while he jokingly says, "Be nice to me...my Grandma is watching you."
All of us, who grew up with Grandparents around, are so lucky. They taught so much without even knowing it. We listened to their conversations, watched them work, listened to their stories of the old days, and absorbed all the love that they shared. As they grew old we visited them and listened to the same stories over and over again. We needed patience at that time. They took time for us, when we were little...now it's their turn.