Questions I Asked My Grandmother

The boys have been writing to their cousins. I’ve been writing to my grandma. She LOVES history. Local history. Family history. So I write to her to give her updates on our family since she’s not on the Facebook or the Twitter or the Instagram. If she were on Instagram, I’d call it Instagramma. She writes back answering the questions I sent. She also sends loads of additional information that sheds more light on certain questions. So what did I ask her this time?

1. You mentioned that you liked being in school plays. Do you remember on in particular? What role did you play in it?

In one play I dressed like Aunt Jemima. I sang two songs, one of them was “Take me down to Hoecake Land”. The play I remember best was in 7th grade. We were to write plays about Thanksgiving. Mine was chosen to be used. The day before the play, the older student who was to be the main character got strep throat. There was panic until they said I needed to play the main character because I knew the words. So instead of directing, I got the role. It was performed for the PTA November meeting.

2. What were some of your favorite songs as a kid? 

Probably X-mas songs – Silent Night, Jingle Bells, etc… It was years before there were pop stars, unless you call Bing Crosby one.

3. How did Pop Pop propose to you?

In the car just as we got home from a date several days before Xmas. He just showed me the ring and that was it.

4. Did my dad get into trouble as a kid? What did he do?

My memory must be poor. I don’t remember him getting in trouble.

5. How long have you lived on “The Farm” and what changes has it seen over the years?

Came here May 1950. On the third house. 1st one was roomy. 2nd in 1981 was comfortable. 3rd in 1994 after a house fire. Spent lots of hours taking care of chickens, cooked big dinners for Leo (my grandfather) and his helpers. Bigger tractors, larger crops, grain at times and sweet corn, peas, lima beans, field corn, barley, or wheat. Everything costs more and there’s more government regulation.

6. What are some fascinating facts about Tuckahoe and the surrounding area?

I researched land records, put together 300 pages of abstracts. Tuckers were among the first land owners here. Mostly dirt poor farmers lived here. Some had slaves. Sometime I’ll collect research and send it to you. There was a fish hatchery next to us on the river.

7. What was it like living through the Civil Rights Movement?

In the 1950’s a group called the White Citizens League came to the Eastern Shore to recruit members. They opposed integration with parades and fund raisers. New

New members visited friends, relatives, and their neighbors for support. My brother, Edward, came to my brother-in-law’s, George, house when my husband, Leo, and I were there with our young children. When we were asked to support I said no. Yes, the Woods were upset. I said as a Catholic I could not join the group.

Around the same time, my mother told me she was mad with my sister, Clara and her husband for riding in an open car on the streets in Easton supporting the organization. 

The events completely divided the residents of the Shore. Many kept quiet. There were disturbances in Cambridge in the later years. 

The so called White Citizens League left Easton with funds collected never to be heard of again. In the 1960’s, when schools were integrated, Leo and I told our children to treat everyone the same.

8. Do you have any special memories of your grandkids?

With the girls, tea parties. Dress up – had several suitcases full, including Little Red Riding Hood outfit I made from a discarded red evening dress from a friend. Making bread together. 

Number 4 is the funniest to me. Her memory is not poor. She’s as a sharp as a tack. It’s just that my dad, like his son after him, was an angel and caused no trouble. She also sent me papers describing when her house was used as an observation post during WWII to watch for enemy aircraft. Lastly, in case you were wondering what a hoecake is, it’s a southern thing kind of like a pancake, but more like cornbread. Google failed to turn up any results about the song.


R is for … #atozchallenge


is for realize. I realized this morning that today is not “V” day. It’s “U” day. But I already wrote “U” last Saturday. I didn’t do two letters in a day, yet I’m a letter ahead.

I realized this morning that I skipped the letter R. When I should have been writing about R, I wrote about S. It was that stupid slither game that threw me off.

Not only did I realize I skipped R, but thanks to The Coach Daddy, I also realized the lines and splotches decorating my face each have a story. Laughter.  Like when Bang poked his finger in his mother’s belly button (which she hates). After a slight pause, he smells his finger. Maybe you had to be there, but we were dying with laughter. Naturally, this caused him to do over and over. “It’s making you laugh, mom!”

I realized those lines are from stress. Perhaps my O’s lost their lead. Perhaps they’re staging a late game comeback. Perhaps from a few white knuckle, white out drives. Some are from a certain someone who had open heart surgery when he was 5 days old.

I realized those lines are from stupidity. An invincible adolescent who was too cool for sunscreen. I worked every summer, nearly every day, outside wandering through corn fields, pea fields, potato fields looking for bugs. I loved that job. If I wasn’t in a cornfield I was on the ball field. I was too cool for sunscreen. Even in the 115F heat waves. But I would tan and they’d call me José.

I have also realized I’m happier when I run regularly. I haven’t been. I’ve been finding excuses easier than finding the time. I realize this needs to be remedied.

I just now realized our refrigerator is as much a story teller as I am. It’s adorned with magnets collected from around the US and Canada and a Save the Date for a wedding invite from 3 years ago. It’s decorated with a picture of a creeper and R2-D2, a stop light made in kindergarten and a flower colored on primary practice day (colored by the same child). It’s covered with calendars, sight words for reading, and an EKG print-out. It’s a literal snapshot of our life right now.



Does your fridge tell any stories?