Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Grandma Named Irene

Some time in our earlier years my brother and I used to call her Grandma Rene, which was our endearing phrase for Grandma Irene, our paternal grandmother. We didn't grow up in the same town where grandma and grandpa lived, so visiting was a treat.

Grandma kept a box of toys in one of the bedroom closets. It wasn't the normal toys, more like junk, such a old necklaces, odds and end and a few of the usual toys. Nobody seemed concerned that they might not be safe and we never choked on anything and didn't end up with lead poisoning, just lots of fun.

Our cousins would come to Grandma's house to play. We had several cousins of various ages and when there would be family get togethers, the house was full to the brim. Out would come the toy box and everybody would step over toys and kids. My two children never grew up with cousins...they don't know what they missed.

Grandma Rene was the best cook. She didn't stop with one of two things to eat. When the stove had several pots bubbling away, she would go to the phone and invite more relatives to come to eat. Later in life she began loosing her eye sight. Some of her meals ere interesting and we were not sure what we were eating.

One thing that Grandma excelled in was making home made noodles. She would add them to chicken in a huge pot and then call the relatives. There were always leftovers to go around. One day Mom asked for her recipe. The she watched her roll out the noodles. When Mom got home she decided to make home made noodles. They were like eating cardboard. Mom asked a neighbor what she thought went wrong as she had followed the recipe. The neighbor said she had left out a tad bit of baking powder. The next time Mom made noodles they tasted like Grandma's noodles! One day she commented to Grandma Rene that she had left out the baking powder in the recipe. This was followed by giggles from Grandma.

She told us that she learned to make home made noodles from her mother, Grandma Pearl. I wonder where she learned to make them. Pearl was only fourteen years old when her mother died. Maybe she learned young.

Grandma always told Mom that she was proud of her genealogical research on the family. She said if it wasn't for Mom she wouldn't know much about her family history. Thanks Mom! And thanks Grandma Rene for making my childhood interesting.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Grandma and Cemeteries

As if growing up with a genealogy Mom wasn't enough, my maternal grandmother enjoyed going to cemeteries. She and Grandpa lived in York, Nebraska for many years. That's in the eastern part of the state and west of Lincoln.

If Grandma knew we were coming for a visit, and it wasn't winter, she would almost always have a cemetery she wanted us to visit. Sometimes they were only visible from the gravel road, far too difficult to walk up to. Sometimes they were churchyard cemeteries and sometimes they were cemeteries at little towns. She always found them. Then we would visit the cemetery in York where she would have us drive past numerous graves of relatives.

One time Grandma was very excited to show us a "new" cemetery. Well, it was new to Mom and I'm not sure how Grandma figured out where it was located. Grandma put on a long sleeve shirt to protect her arms from bugs and briars and then donned her big straw hat. You could spot her a long ways off in what Mom called her "cemetery garb."

Off we went to the Lincoln Creek Cemetery in York County. It is a pretty cemetery and not difficult to reach and walk around in. Mom had been looking for the grave of Dad's great, great grandfather, Henry Eberhart. He actually died in 1878 in Kansas, but all the family had been living in a around York County, Nebraska. Grandma walked around and around in one area of the cemetery, stopped and said, "This is where he's buried." There was no stone, no nothing.

Later Mom found a plat map showing the Henry had actually purchased lots in that cemetery before his death in 1878. So...who knows...maybe he's buried there. After all...I was brought up that Mom and Grandma were always right!