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Its all true, the boogie girl is real, and you've found her. She knits, sews, spins, does pottery and writes it all down in this blog.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Grammy History 101

There were a few comments made here and there in the past about gram and I just find this lady to be absolutely fascinating. I hope you find her entertaining too, but I'd like to have a few of these stories for a record. Today's essay will be an abreviated history. If I went in depth I'd be here for days. I do promise more stories.

Gram is 91 years young,having been born in 1914. She married my Grandfather when she was 21, which seems a little late for the era she grew up in. Gram started to have children when she was 26, she said she waited to have kids so she could have time alone with her husband, save for a house, and grow up more before she started to have kids. That seems far too sensible for many people. Over the span of 12 years she had 6 children, the last child was my mom. These six children gave her 12 grandkids and we, the grandchildren, have so far given her 14 great grandkids with 2 more (including mine) on the way.

When Gram was 11 she immigrated here from Poland with her parents and older sister. I have some stories about the older sister but many are not flattering so we'll leave her out of most of them. Gram was schooled here and worked in the mills of Lewiston, Maine. I've gathered that she was spunky and liked to have fun. Not that she's changed much, maybe a little slower physically, but I get the idea she was a bit wild for the time. My Mom got that wild spirit and in turn passed it on to me.

When Gram married my Grandfather (another mill worker) she found out he still had a couple of payments left on his car. She didn't like to owe money so with money she had saved from work, she paid off his car. Since then, they only paid for things outright. The first bit of savings helped start a small farm. When she got pregnant she quit working in the mills and spent her time doing farm chores. In fact I have a story about her birthing the baby in the morning and running out to tend to the milking cows in the afternoon. I think I got that story because I was in the hospital for 4 days after my c-section with M. Yeah, I may have her spunk but I'm not going to be milking cows after squeezing out a kid.

I think my favorite story is of how she got the farm that she lives on now. Actually many of us live on that farm. The land our house was built on was part of the original farm purchase. Gram had her eye on this farm for some time and had saved until she had enough to buy it outright and waited for her chance for the owners to be willing to sell it to her. Finally the day came when the farm was up for sale and she of course bought it in cash. Then when the family living there didn't leave on time, she moved them out. Lesson #1: Don't mess with Gram.

Because this is a fiber blog I should also mention that this is the lady that patiently taught me to sew, cook, paint, knit and crochet when I was just a child. I remember sitting for hours on their green old carpet or sitting in one of their orange chairs working diligently with a small ball of yarn. Somedays I'd be sitting at the blue and metal kitchen table surrounded by the peach and blue formica walls learning to cook perogee or paint. I mention the colors of the place because I used to think it was so normal to have a house in those colors. Thinking back on it, the clashing makes me giggle a little. I can't imagine having a house in those colors now ut it seemed uniquely Gram's house.

This is really way too short, but it might give you an idea of what Gram is like. I'll collect some accurate dates and stuff and write down more stories over time. I'm sure most of all of our ancestors have interesting stories to tell, I feel very fortunate to have a gram still around to tell me these stories. Just yesterday she gaveme a low-down on how she used to make corkers for her kids using wooden thread spools from the mill and finishing nails. I wish she still had some of the old original ones she had made.

I also should write down stories of my grandfather. He was an absolute character. I don't mean to leave him out at all. Gone but not forgotten. There are a few stories that should bring a chuckle.


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