By Allison Foster
The importance of grandparents can not be measured or seen except in the heart of a child and as they grow into adulthood. I know this first hand from experience because my I had the great blessing of being an intricate part of the lives of my grandparents and great-grandparents. There is nothing like being loved unconditionally by someone other than your parents. There is a sense of security and deep abiding love that comes from the love of a grandparent that can actually change the course of a child’s life.
Both my mom’s mother and grandmother were living until I was twelve years old and then we lost great-gram. We spent at least one day a week with great-grandma and several days a week with my gram. As small children before starting school we were always on the go with mom. She was the world’s fastest house cleaner, after she got through with her cleaning she was off to help gram finish her house work with us in tow. And once a week we would go to great-grandma’s and help her out with whatever she needed doing. We kids had a fabulous time going from grandparent to grandparent because they loved us so and included us in everything they did.
As we got a bit older and were in grade school we would go visit after school and on the weekends. I remember how grandma would take us out back to swing and play in the wooded area behind her house. She always had a snack for us and would sit outside and watch us play. When we would get bored she would give us chores to do for a nickel or a dime like pulling weeds or dusting furniture. We were more than willing to do these chores for money because just down the street was a five and dime store with big vats full of penny candy (which was actually two for a penny) and nickel candy bars! Ah, those were the days.
My grandma loved to read and she was one of those people you could just sit with and not talk at all and be comfortable. She was always reading something to us as we sat beside her. She had the softest, squishiest hands that I loved to hold. She was always telling us stories about her childhood and different things she had experienced growing up. Everything about her life was interesting to me. She worked in the factories during WWII and she would tell us all about her job. She told us about the bread lines and how things were during the war. She shared with us every part of her life and we loved hearing it.
Great-grandma had even more stories to tell since she was born at the latter part of the 1800’s! We learned that she traveled in covered wagons and that her sister was named ArizonaTerritory because that is where she was born. We called her Aunt Zoni which I always thought was an unusual name but then I found out the reason why and it was so cool! Great-grandma used to plow fields and when her mother died at fourteen she was sent to work for another family cleaning house because her father could not take care of all the children.
This was very shocking to me as a child and I was so glad we were not in that situation. It made my great-gram very strong and she was one of the hardest working women I ever knew. She had worked all of her life cleaning, sewing, plowing, and cooking. When she was older and found herself alone she worked for Burlington which at the time made jeans and overalls, she was sewing those on huge sewing machines all day long. Can you imagine the strength that would take? I was in awe of my great-grandma when she told me these stories.
When I would show up at her house with a doll she would take me by the hand and we would go over to her sewing machine which was the kind you pumped with your foot. She would pull out some scraps of material and we would find the prettiest. She could take one look at my doll and cut and sew an outfit in just a few minutes that fit perfectly. That was just simply mind blowing to me then and now.
Both gram and great-grams kitchens always smelled heavenly as they baked homemade pies and scrumptious meals daily. I remember the smell of stewed apples with tons of cinnamon wafting through the air as we entered the house. I would sit and try peeling an apple on my own as I watched them peel an apple, the skin coming off in one long piece without stopping. As they sliced the apples they would always give us a taste of the apples which were crisp and tart. This memory is not just one of the mind but also the taste and smell that lingers all these years later. What a blessing to have such memories.
It is surprising to me the things I remember about spending time with gram and great-gram, things that were simple and normal at the time stand out in my mind today and make me feel warm and secure in the memories. The importance of grandparents goes beyond an occasional babysitter or gift giver, especially when you get to spend a lot of time with them. I have no fonder memories than those of spending time with my grandmas, except of course my own parents.
Blogging for was a natural progression for Allison once she graduated from college, as it allowed her to combine her two passions: writing and children. She has enjoyed furthering her writing career with www.nannyclassifieds.com. She can be in touch through e-mail allisonDOTnannyclassifiedsATgmail rest you know.