Such a gorgeous morning today. Perfect for a late-ish breakfast outside just after the sun came over the mountain. Today, and for the next few days, we’ll enjoy that perfect fall weather – not too cold during the day- warm even, chilly at night, with lots of sun. I am planning to enjoy it. Hope you do too!
The children started out playing pretend games outside (with a few of their new acquisitions, Amanda!). Then,we biked and played and cleaned and visited and enjoyed each other and a few friends. I even got a few minutes to read my own book by myself on the porch swing – such a treat. A great way to spend a Sunday. It made me remember that important idea of Sunday as a day of rest. Despite all of what we did today, it really felt like a day of rest. And, I needed that.
Patricia Pierson Reid, or Mom-mom, is my maternal grandmother. She grew up in Portland, Oregon during the Depression and had a few good stories she shared over the years of those hard times. Her father often did not have work, but they scraped by. She learned to cook from her mother and grandmother (her father’s mother) and she learned to sew from her father. He taught her how to use a sewing machine and make good seams and hems. I think he sewed from necessity and thought it was an important skill to learn. She learned and excelled, making clothes for herself, her children, and grandchildren, and sometimes selling doll clothes at craft shows. She made her wedding dress and her three daughters’ wedding dresses, not to mention countless party and prom dresses, winter coats, cloaks, and capes. She also taught me how to sew. I sewed clothes for my dolls under her skilled eyes.
I always thought of Mom-mom as a great cook. She could turn out a lot of good food and was especially known for baked goods — cookies, cakes, and bread. But, she would spoil my brother and I with Little Debbie cakes, frozen pizza, and Chef Boyardee on occasion. She taught me how to cook when I was quite young, telling me I needed to help my mother by being able to cook supper.
When I think of Mom-mom – who she was as I knew her – I think of her in her house, in the kitchen, providing food, cleaning, making snacks. She did not put up with a lot of nonsense, but she was always sweet to her grandchildren, teaching us, comforting us, quietly encouraging us, smiling at our antics or our accomplishments.
My brother and I, and sometimes our cousin, stayed with Mom-mom (and Dado, when he was not working at the farm)after school for many years while our parents worked, and for weeks in the summer. She was another “mother” to us, and I am grateful for the discipline, love, comfort, and support she provided.
Sunday in the South was a time for family when I was growing up. It was the day we went to church, sat in the pew with my grandparents, and ate Sunday dinner (which is the mid-day meal) afterwards. Sunday dinner was always a bigger affair than “lunch”. My mother or grandmother would start cooking first thing in the morning—preparing a roast or chicken, peeling and cutting potatoes, snapping beans. Usually the roast would cook while we were at church and the rest would wait until we came home. Sometimes it would be our little family, other times it would include aunts and uncles and cousins. Sometimes we would have company over. Often it was a slow day, a time with family and friends to eat, talk, work, play, and be silent together.
The tradition eroded over time and as we grew up. There were more out-of-home activities and busier schedules. But I still think of Sunday as family day. A day to reconnect before starting a busy week of school and work. These days I don’t usually cook a big dinner, but we spend Sundays at church, then playing and working together in the afternoon. And, often the afternoon includes visits to or from family or friends.
I am going to try to write about my grandparents (and sometimes other family) here on Sundays. A way to remember family and reconnect. There are important connections, and I want to honor them.
So, an introduction to my grandparents and their role in my life . . . .
Since my father was not around much when I was very young, my grandparents stepped up their support of my mom and their role in my brother’s and my life. My maternal grandparents (Mom-mom and Dado), who lived in our same town, often took care of us after school. They also kept us for many weeks during the summer—often at their beach cottage in Kitty Hawk. My grandfather’s mother, Grammy, lived a few houses down from us and also took care of me a lot. I stayed with her many days when I did not have preschool.
My paternal grandparents (BJ and Granddaddy) came to visit often when we were very small and then had us come stay with them for a few weeks in the summer and winter each year. They provided a place of fun and respite in the mountains of NC and we loved our visits with them so much.
I admired my grandparents and, now especially, I appreciate what they did for us. They helped fill in a hole in our lives. I learned my initial sewing, cooking, and canning lessons from them. I learned family history, appreciation of the land and what it can provide, conservative and liberal politics, and unconditional love.
This blog was started to remember and explore the legacy they, and other family, left within me, and to honor who they are and were.