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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Adventures in Life: Washing Dishes With My Great-Grandma Mae

Do you ever have a time when you don't know where to start a story...This is one of those times for me. So please bare with me as I do my best to put pen to paper fingers to keys and get my thoughts sorted out. 

That is the year my Great-Grandma Mae was born.
World War 1 was raging on.  
Woodrow Wilson was president. 
Women couldn't vote. 
TV was not invented yet.
Most people did not have cars...
It is pretty hard for me to imaging what the world was like when Great-Grandma Mae was born. 

Last week, after living 97 years on this earth, my Great-Grandma Mae went home to be with Jesus. 

In the days since her passing, my mind has been flooded with special memories I have  with her. She was truly a remarkable woman, beautiful inside and out, and I have been blessed for 29 years to have her as my great-grandmother.

Some of my most vivid childhood memories come from times spend at Great-Grandma Mae's house. The house that my Great-Grandpa Linn built in Winona, Minnesota. The walk way to their house was lined with the most beautiful moss roses, and I remember sitting outside with Great-Grandma Mae, picking the dead flowers off so new ones would bloom. Moss roses were the first thing that I planted when we bought our house. My moss roses are just about ready to bloom for the first time this summer...
And when I sit and pick off the dead flowers, I will always remember Great-Grandma Mae. 

 Great-Grandma and Grandpa always had the best games at their house. Candy Land, bowling in the living room, the peg game (I can't remember the real name of that game, but I loved it!). First thing when we got to Great-Grandma Mae's house, my brother and I would head straight for the front closet to get the games out. Great-Grandma Mae would always play with us, any game we wanted, until it was time to make dinner. 

That is when I got to sit in my special spot
Her stool was not red, I think it was actually brown. But that stool was my special spot to sit while I watched Great-Grandma Mae cook. It was right next to the stove, and I had to sit with my hands folded in my lap so I didn't accidently touch the hot stove top. I loved watching her cook. Recipes that she had been making for years, and had perfected and memorized. Everything in that kitchen had a spot and a purpose. The trash can was small, because she hardly ever thew anything away. Every scrap was used, every paper was recycled. She always made just enough to feed everyone. 

There were so many fun places to explore in Great-Grandma and Grandpa's house. The basement was perfect for skateboarding and always smelled like apples that were staying fresh in the cellar. Great-Grandma Mae was always excited to see what tricks we could do on the skateboards down there. Just inside the door to the stairs to the 2nd floor was a stash of books. Great-Grandma Mae had the best bedtime story books. Many of them were Little Golden Books, like The Poky Little Puppy and The Little Red Hen
My favorite spot to explore was in the attic. One of the bedrooms had a little door that went to a little attic room filled with treasures. Well, I thought they were treasures! Trunks filled with old photographs of relatives long passed on. Clothes from a time when women only wore skirts and men always wore hats. A hand crank music box that played different songs on wooden rolls (I'm sure it has a name but I cant remember...). Great-Grandma Mae would lets us look and discover things from her past. Explaining so patiently who the people in the pictures were, and what that funny looking thing was for. 

I could keep going on and on with the memories: 
The rotary phone next to the calendar in the kitchen. I can still hear her voice answer "Hello". 

The exercise bike in the bedroom that I would ride when I was supposed to be taking a nap. 

The pull down shades that I could never get to stay down or up, and she could on the first pull. 

Her modest, yet beautiful, Christmas tree decorated beautifully with glass ornaments.

Pear bread - every Christmas Great-Grandma and Grandpa would make a limited supply of the best pear bread you have ever tasted...Oh, what I wouldn't give for a slice of that pear bread right now!!

Out of all of these memories, my most favorites times with Great-Grandma Mae were the times when we would wash dishes together after dinner. She would pull the stool over to the sink, and get an apron for me. I would wash in the hot soapy water and she would rinse in the super hot water and dry and put the dishes away. We would look out the kitchen window and chat about anything and everything as we washed the dishes together. I can remember wondering why they didn't get a dish washer. That it would be so much easier than washing everything by hand. But now I am glad they didn't have one. 

Because I would not have the special memories of  
washing dishes with my Great-Grandma Mae. 

Me, Great-Grandma Mae, and my Mom 


  1. So sorry for your loss. You definitely have some great memories to cherish forever. My grandma was born in 1916 too so those were some pretty cool facts to read. I have fond memories of my grandma too. Thanks for sharing! Stacie xo

  2. Sweet memories with your dear great-grandma Mae! So sorry for your loss of this dear lady.

  3. Oh, what precious memories! Goodness, I well remember many of the items that you mentioned. Ugh, guess that means I really am an "old woman." Oh, well, it's okay! :o) May the sweet memories of your Great Grandmother give you peace during this time. Happy rest of the week!