Friday, August 1, 2008

Cookie Jar Grandma

My paternal grandmother was what I always thought of as the "Cookie Jar Grandma". My mother and father would take us to visit her and there was never a time that her cookie jar was empty. She kept it filled for the grandchildren. In fact I can remember her trying to send home entire packages of those Grandma's Sandwich Cookies made by Frito Lay and my mother was very irritated about that because of course we would not eat our dinner. But there were seven of us and I do believe my grandma thought we were denied any kind of sweet treat.

Her name was Marie Barbara, at least that is what we know. Because she immigrated from Hungary with an aunt at the young age of thirteen or fourteen her name may have been changed to an American version. No one seems to know for sure. In doing research on my grandfather who also immigrated a few years later, both he and his brother changed their first names to an American version. But that is another story for another time.

Grandma was a small lady, standing only about 4'11" or so. She always, always wore dresses which she made herself and aside from a different pattern on the fabric they all looked the same. I don't recall my grandmother ever in pants. To me this would not have been my grandmother. She had the greenest thumb you can imagine. Her flowers and plants inside the house and outside were amazing. I can remember taking her to the cemetary on memorial day and we would gather huge armfuls of her peonies to place upon the graves of our loved ones. 

Although she was a good and  devout Catholic, she had a little quirk in her that makes me laugh. She never drove a car so relied on people to take her to run errands. Whenever, we would take her to an establishment that had plants, be it a farm store or grocery store, she would pinch off a chunk of the plant to take home and root. I don't think the woman ever had to purchase an entire plant. She was so successful at rooting and growing these little stolen pieces that she didn't need to. I guess she did not think of this as stealing....just borrowing a little piece. 

She had a very thick Hungarian accent and some very old world ideas. Once I took her to church and as we were driving past houses in her neighborhood she spied a young man in shorts mowing his lawn. She said to me "Look at that feeltee ting wearing short pants". I asked her why she thought that was horrible and she told me that "his feeltee harrry legs" were showing. She apparently thought that was quite disgusting and all men should hide their harry legs.  It is a wonder she had ten children if she was so against those hairy legs.

I really only have warm and wonderful memories of my grandmother. She could make the most wonderful Hungarian dishes and never had a recipe written down. She taught me one Christmas how to make home made noodles in the middle of the table using no bowl or utensils. She told me it was all in the feel of the dough as to how much flour you added to the eggs she had cracked in the center of a well in the flour. The same was for kneading the dough. It had to have a certain look and feel about it before it was ready to roll out and cut into noodles to lay out and dry. Some time I may document just how she taught me even though it took more time than the short cuts that I use now. 

She kept a totally spotless home and I can remember feeling so warm and loved while there. Do you have a wonderful memory of your grandmother? 


Twinville said...

Oh, your memories of your grandmother touched my heart. I like her cleverness in pinching/pilfering plant cuttings. I might have to try that one day...though I'm not all that great at getting cuttings to cooperate in growing into a real plant. haha!

I'm imagining that in your grandmother's generation, women only wore dresses and men only wore pants, so seeing so much leg must have been quite a shock for her.
Maybe she made your grandfather shave his legs? hehehe

My favorite memories of my grandmother are her distinctive Avon perfume and lotion scents.
I'd spend every summer visiting with her and my grandfather for a couple weeks. Whenever I smell Vita Moist, Skin-So-Soft, Candid, Timeless or Sweet Honesty totoally takes me back.

Kristi said...

I know I would have adored your Grandmother. The way you described her reminds me so much of my own grandmother that I adore and named my first daughter after, Tera. My mother tells the story of her shopping at the dollar store. A lady was picking up and looking at haltar tops. My Grandmother looked at the lady and said, "I know,...can you believe people actually wear those things?" The woman put the haltar top down and walked off and my Grandmother kept shopping not knowing at all that she might have offended the woman.

Mental P Mama said...

Oh yes! My grandmother was the same way, and she always made biscuits for us. To this day, I can't even hear the word without picturing her standing over her dough with that rolling pin!

Tipper said...

What a wonderful post! My Granny only wore dresses too-always with an apron. She made the best biscuits in the world and her Sunday potatoes were shaped like boats.

You need to copy and paste your great post onto my Grannyism page-it would just be perfect!

Carolynn said...

I loved your post about your Grandmother. It has inspired me to write about mine, which I'll do in the coming days.

My grandma is nearing 100 (we have great genes!) and has been married twice. She would have been in her late 80's, I think, when her second husband died. I laughed when she said, in her strong Ukranian accent, that it would be nice to have a man around the house again. But she'd put his bed in the garage.

The W.O.W. factor said...

The way you commemorate your Gramma is enduring! I have such fond memories of mine too. I only had the chance to know her..both Grandpas died while Mom was PG with me and her Mom died at an early age, so I savor the memories of the one and only grandparent I was blessed to have in my life