This is a picture of my Grandma. I was the 26th grandchild out of 27 and the 19th granddaughter and the only one to be named after her. She was like my second mom. I grew up next door to her on property that she and my grandfather gave to my parents from their farm. My grandfather died a couple of days before my first birthday.
The farm was essentially our playground. My grandfather raised ponies and they still had a few ponies left after he died. When we were little my grandmother sold us one of the ponies for 9 cents. That worked out to 3 pennies each from me, and my brother and sister who are twins. That was before my little sister was born. The pony’s name was Gidget and she was fiesty. She would turn her head and watch as we would put her saddle on her and then immediately after we’d get on the saddle she would head straight for the barbed wire fence and rub our legs against it hoping to get us off. We were not deterred.
We climbed the trees and jumped from the upper part of the barn where the hay was kept down the hole to the cutting room floor. We used to pick up the crab apples and throw them into the hay mow where others were taunting us that we couldn’t hit them. Occassionaly we hit our mark! We helped in the hay fields and helped in the barn and enjoyed life as we knew it. The adults made it look so easy that I never understood how much hard work it took until my husband and I bought a farm of our own.
We used to have regular family gatherings on the farm where the siblings would bring their kids and their campers and stay the weekend and we’d cook over open fires and play ball on what we called “the golf course”. We called it that because my Uncle, who never married and ran the farm, practiced his golf swing on the level field. That is after the hay was taken off of it. Those gatherings stopped for a long time after my Grandma died. She died when she was 91, 2 months and 1 day after my wedding. That was 19 years ago. I miss her still and the good times the family used to have together. She always had fresh baked cookies and we were in and out of her house all the time as if it was our own. She taught me how to crochet when I was younger. I never really got serious about it until years later, but she was my teacher and my inspiration. I can’t tell you how many afghans she crocheted in her lifetime. I was on an afghan making kick for a long time, but haven’t done much of it lately. I still have a lot to do to catch up to her.
The family has started to have yearly reunions again, but I can’t help but feel that they aren’t the same. Several of my aunts and uncles are now gone, as well as my mother. My mother died in 1997 from breast cancer. Why is it that when the matriarch of a family passes, things change so drastically? I have MANY cousins and second cousins, but I don’t know them as well as I used to. We’ve all grown up and moved on with our busy lives.