Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gladys Gives Away Grandmothers kind of

I got a call from my twenty-something niece, Tooter the other day. We were chit chatting and she said Aunt Gladys how do you make stew. Well I launched in to my diatribe of how you dust the meat and so on and she stopped me and said “Is the meat dirty? Is that why you dust it?” Then I realized I was speaking another language and that she had not yet learned. You see I learned things from my mother who I think just instinctively learned them because she didn’t really have a mother to teach her things. It was like Nurse Meme instinctively knew how to fold a fitted sheet or wash a cashmere sweater and then passed that knowledge down to Matilda and me.

Nurse Meme would set her hair with beer.

My Grandmother yes the same Grandmother who jumped in the number five washtub with me also was a wealth of knowledge. There wasn’t anything that woman couldn’t do. She could sew, sing, cook, mend, crochet, garden and since she passed away when I was only five she could have taught me all those things but well she went too soon. I am left with remnants of her though a homemade apron, a picture painted on an old canvas window shade because she didn’t have canvas, her flour sifter and her chocolate pie recipe.

I get calls from my daughters and others often wanting to know the secrets of pie crust and how to bleach out your white clothes without turning them yellow. I love getting these calls because it gives me the chance to pass on the knowledge with which I was blessed. I have always said I would have made a great 1940’s housewife because I can make one roasted chicken into five or more meals, I know how to compost my kitchen waste and can put up my own vegetables.


This brings me all to the point of my post. Yes I have a point and yes it’s a good one. The other day I received an email from Erin Bried wanting to know if I would be interested in giving away one of her books “How to Sew a Button and Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew”. Now I had never heard of Erin even though she had been featured in O magazine, yes as in OPRAH. Did you just hear a choir of angels sing? Yeah me too. Now I feel like I know Oprah personally what with all that six degrees of separation and all. She is also a senior staff writer at Self magazine and has been featured in Redbook among others, Erin not Oprah.

It wasn’t Oprah that impressed me though it was something else or I should say somebody else. It was the fact that Erin interviewed grandmothers, yes other people’s grandmothers, and compiled all of their knowledge in this book. One of the women she interviewed is Mildred A. Kalish the author of Little Heathens.

I read Little Heathens awhile back and loved it so much I shared it with my family. You see I don’t believe we can hear enough about what life was like before we had all these modern conveniences and she describes her life growing up in the early part of the last century so well.  I recommend you read Little Heathens as soon as you finish with Erin's book.

I received Erin's book earlier this week and I sat down and was mesmerized by the topics, like how to fold a fitted sheet; yep she does it just like Nurse Meme taught me. How about how to wear red lipstick? I shy from red lipstick even though I love it because I’ve never been sure how to choose the right shade for my complexion. This book is a wonderful wealth of knowledge. You must get one for yourself and for all your domestically challenged friends and relatives.  My Sisters Farmhouse is having a contest to give away one of Erin’s books and so am I.

Yes I am giving away a copy of Erin’s book which goes on sale December 18. I have preordered copies for myself, my daughters, my nieces and of course myself because believe it or not I do not know everything.

Here is how you win, leave me a comment of something your grandmother or mother heck let’s not be biased your grandfather, father, uncle, brother or aunt taught you. I will throw all your comments in the random integer hat Saturday morning and come up with a winner. The one who wins will win a copy of Erin’s book and….This. So sign up and learn things your grandmother knew.

30 comments:

terri said...

Things my grandmother taught me: The best cooking and baking happens without measuring the ingredients to a "t". A cardboard box is more fun than any toy. Gardens tended with love are the most beautiful. Save bread bags and twistie ties and collect rainwater in buckets that you line up all around your house. Then you can water your gardens with the rain water on dry days.

I was thinking about my grandma yesterday and thinking about writing about her... I just may do that having read your post.

LynneFtWorth said...

My mammaw taught me how to crochet and piece together quilts. My grandmother on my dad's side taught me to sew and iron sheets and pillow cases. I have been thinking about them a lot lately. I sure do miss those lovely ladies.

Dual Mom said...

My mother would never try to make fudge when it was raining/snowing. She said the humidity prevented the candy from "setting" correctly.

Also, how do you keep your whites from yellowing when you bleach them? Do you actually know how to do that?

granny72584 said...

My mamo taught me how to perfectly peel and boiled egg...with a spoon.
How to use a scraped potato on a bee sting. How to gather eggs, but I didn't like to do it.

Kathy said...

My gramma taught me how to play poker, amongst other things. Thanks for the chance to play!

ms martyr said...

I'm with Dual Mom on wanting to know how to bleach without yellowing. I found out that adding more bleach is not the solution when I wrecked a whole load of laundry.
Okay, my father taught me to put my foot on the brake of the car while accelerating after driving through deep puddles to help dry the brakes so they would function correctly. Not sure if that rule would apply to new brake systems.
Also, hitching up pant legs before sitting down so the knees don't bag.

Rhonda said...

My grandma taught me two very important things:

1. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

2. Never fry bacon in the nude.

I should have listened to her on that second one!

Joanie said...

My mom taught me to squeeze half an orange over strawberries to bring out the sweetness (instead of adding sugar)

KimmyDarling said...

My grandmother taught me lots of things, but my favorites were how to win at Solitaire and how to solve the Wheel of Fortune puzzles.

bdaiss said...

My grandmother taught me so many things! How to bake, how to make the best kool-aid (use a metal pitcher, even though it says not to), and how to entertain. I always spent the night before Christmas Eve at her house helping her get ready for the family gathering Christmas Eve. They are some of my most fond memories.

Brian Miller said...

my mom taught me to love others...

Doug said...

Six degrees... not! Now I know Gladys (via blog land), and I once worked in a large New York City hotel where Oprah would stay. She won a daytime Emmy that year (early 90's), she was having a party in her suite and wanted some music playing machine. We had in our back office a pretty pink cassette player, you know the kind with the wire coat hanger shoved into the antenna hole. I took it up to her suite, we met, she thanked me. By the way there was a tape in the player, Dianna Ross greatest hits Vol II. She returned the next day with a very nice thank you note. So, I should win based on things I have learned. PS, my Grandma taught me to cook, iron and sew on a button, something a man should know.

otin said...

Three out of my four grandparents died before I was 2. My Grandfather taught me how to eat chips and fall asleep watching a baseball game! LOL!

Tracy said...

My grandmother grew up during the depression and at the age of 12 her father died leaving a wife and 7 children(they weren't called kids back then I'm pretty sure!). They were a thrifty family to begin with and had to be even more so after that. Fast forward to when she was a new bride and her and my grandfather owned a restaurant. She told me so many times of making the employees peel the peelings of the potatoes because they peeled them to thick! Now I can't say I peel the potatoes to her liking...well I know for a fact I don't! One time when she was here for a visit, I started supper and began to peel potatoes and I could just see her fingers twitching so I asked if she'd like to peel them. She readily accepted. Those peelings were paper thin!
I guess what I've learned from her was to "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without".
I must confess, sometimes I get rid of things that aren't worn out and I have a hard time doing without certain things that aren't essential...however I do use the last drop of dish detergent, shampoo, mayo, ketchup, or whatever is getting all.
And I never peel potatoes without thinking of her!

DaDivaMom said...

My Granny taught me to quilt, to sew, to stretch a dollar so that it felt like ten! She was my Mom since my Mom left when I was 6. She taught me that you love your kids no matter what and that sometimes you are in love with your husband and sometimes your not. The important thing is that you do love him.

She taught me there is nothing wrong with being poor but there was no excuse for looking poorly put together or for acting the fool.

You cross your legs at the ankle, you say Yes Ma'am or No Ma'am (never without the salutation and never yep or uh uh!), you use cloth napkins and your good dishes everyday.

She taught me how to BE!

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

My grandmother taught me how to play solitaire and not on the computer..lol.

My grandfather taught me the value of telling stories as a way of sharing family history. And to shout "Christmas Gift" when "Christmas visiting." To remember "old Christmas." I had the best grandparents, miss them so.

tea4too0 said...

My Granny helped me learn how to cook and bake via the telephone and by letter when I had moved away. I still have her rice pudding recipe, "well, honey, I don't measure much, just put x amount in till it looks right". I have to giggle at that, how does one know what it's supposed to look like if you haven't made it before?

MommaSheesh said...

My grandmothers taught me so many things -- how to make noodles,buns,crazy quilts, from scratch chocolate pie, etc etc etc -- but by far the most used and best appreciated lesson was -- when you are totally frustrated with your children, never raise your voice, they just tune you out, lower it so they have to stop what they are doing to hear you -- it really works

Iris said...

My mother taught me how to iron...
Thanks, Ma! A skill I rarely use....

arlene said...

My grandmother (Mom's Mom) taught me by example to be kind to everyone. She was so caring, and made the best lemon meringue pies!

Out of all the things I learned from Mom, the first thing I think of is to slow down and do the job right. She often said, "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get!"

jamoody7 said...

My boyfriends grandmother kept a diary nearly every day of her life. I have been reading them and have read from when she was married (Dec '29) through the birth of her two sons ('30 and '32). It is fascinating. They did so much visiting and she counted her laundry by pieces, not loads.

My grandmother is wonderful. I love her, but I am enjoying living each day with this woman, who unfortunately, I did not get to meet.

angela said...

My grandmother taught me how to fry bacon, just right, not too high, not to low. And lots of other things as well....I sure do miss her!

365 Letters said...

My Granny taught me how to read...not in the way school teachers do...but by example. She read all the time. As I got older and could read the same types of books she did, she'd save books for me, making notes in the front cover about whether or not a book was good or not. And, I suppose, she taught me a lot about writing...Granny loved to write letters, but she wouldn't write you back unless you wrote her back. If you hadn't written in months and it was your birthday, she'd give in and write a letter to send with your card, even though you still "owed" her a letter. I do miss her.

LB said...

My grandmother taught me never to put a hat on a bed. She wasn't exactly domestic...

Leah said...

My grandma taught me to crochet. My grandpa taught me how to tie fancy knots. And grandma taught me to iron shirts. But my husband claims he does it better.

~Mad said...

I bought two of Erin's books today for gifts! But, not one for myself....waaaaaa.
My daddy never failed to say, "Fasten your seatbelt." when we left on a trip or backed out of the driveway - even if you already had yours on.

~Mad(elyn) in Alabama

Girly Stuff said...

Granny taught me how to bake. That sometimes when you bake you just have to get your hands in the mix. She scraped the bowl with her finger not a Pampered Chef spatula. To always have dough in the frig. And grease in the frying pan. And homemade cookies in the jar. That as soon as you finish cleaning up from lunch it is time to start dinner. To compost with leftover banana peels and coffee grounds. To spank with a ruler if you really mean bizness!

My grandmother taught me how to hide your reeses peanut butter cups on top of the frig. How to open a can of peaches while holding your cigarette. How to spread cool whip on an angel food cake for someones bday. How a newly finished off watermelon rind makes a great ash tray. What time Guiding Light comes on. And what station Sally Jesse Raphael came on.

They were a little different.

JulieChats said...

I wish my grandmother could have stuck around longer so I could have learned more from her!

Just stopping by to say Happy VGNO for last week's VGNO....too many things going on this time of year. Holiday preparations, work, school party...yada, yada, yada! Hope you're enjoying the holidays!

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