Saturday, November 8, 2014

Namesake


Cliff hangers. I ended last week's post, Seven Silly Tidbits, with an unanswered question. Which deceased relative would I choose to spend time with if I could?

My answer?

Grandma Elizabeth.


Grandma Elizabeth sitting where the kitchen sink now resides in the family farmhouse.

She was dad's mom who died long before I was born. She was the writing type. Kept five-year diaries that no-doubt influenced my Aunt Mary Ruth, the niece she raised like a daughter. My middle name, Beth, connects me to her, the woman whose house I grew up in.


My dad, Aunt Mary Ruth, and Grandma Elizabeth standing on the west side of the house. The window behind my dad used to be the front door. This is the only picture I have seen with that in tact. Now it's the bathroom.


One of Grandma Elizabeth's silly sayings has endured. Many times, people broke down with flat tires or cars would just stall. So whenever the family turned the corner near the farm, she'd say, "Now if we had to, we could walk." I find myself saying that whenever I return from going out of town.

Her life was not void of tragedy. Grandma Elizabeth miscarried twins years before my dad was born. The stillborn girls were buried on the family farm. No marker served as their grave. I think that's sad, but Dad said that's how things were done back then. 



My dad Waldo doesn't look too happy about this family picture.


Grandma Elizabeth also had rapid weight gains and losses. She battled depression to the point where she received shock treatments—twice—at the state hospital in Yankton, South Dakota. My dad, who watched the first treatment, said it lifted her entire body off the table. He did not watch that again.

Afterwards, Grandma Elizabeth spent a couple days in the hospital. My mom stayed with her. She embroidered tea towels to pass the time as Grandma slept. Because of this family history, I am cognizant of my own thought life and find any study of the human mind to be fascinating.


Grandma with Grandpa drove this car during a parade in Hitchcock.

Grandma's furniture is still around. My mom used her China closet and matching server until the house was remodeled in the '70s for the first wedding in our family. Read more about that in my post entitled Curlers, A Bra and an Airplane Ride.  


Mom would often stick pictures behind the wooden inlet in the China Closet. When Mom got her new China closet when I was around seven, this old one was a three-level Barbie doll townhouse. For more about how those dolls kept me company on long road trips in my blog post, Seven Kids and Me.

I now have that China closet. It holds my best Longaberger dishes.


Grandma Elizabeth's China closet


writing on the back of it: Feb. 27  ~  1941      $31.95      Gamble

Why the handwriting on the back? Seems that was the thing to do. Write the price and the purchase year. The matching server resides in our garage. Needed more room in my house for the piano.

Another piece I have of Grandma's is what we call the game chest. It stored the table games. I use it now as an armoire. It is solid wood and houses our bedroom TV on top. When Dad, my sister Brenda, and I were moving this heavy piece downstairs, Grandma's writing on the back revealed something. What we saw made it even more special. 


the game chest

 
Grandma wrote ~ Our Father gave this dresser to me in 1929 ~ which he made himself ~ Mrs. Pete ~which I appreciate

It took us awhile to decipher Grandma's spelling. I thought she wrote apricot, but it was appreciate. My Great Grandpa, Michael Hofer #2, made the game chest. He was a blacksmith and a carpenter of sorts.

Precious. Just precious. Just like time with Grandma Elizabeth would be.

Some day, I hope those five-year diaries of Grandma's will be mine. And maybe someday, one of my greats will cherish mine. 


Do you have a relative you've never met that you wish you could spend time with? What traits have you inherited from them?

Writer's note: this is a continuation of last week's post, Seven Silly Tidbits, written in response to a challenge from my online friend, Shelli Littleton. She tagged me to post random facts about myself.

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