Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Jaunt Down Memory Lane with Grandma Elsner

When I was 7 years old, my parents divorced and Mom moved with my sister and I to an apartment in Culver City, California. It was in the same complex that Grandpa and Grandma Elsner lived. (They were my great grandparents) I used to go to their apartment just about every day. I spent most of the time indoors with Grandma while Grandpa was usually outside in the carport "tinkering".

Grandma would play cards with me and we would sing songs and she would teach me things. She had a straight stitch sewing machine that she would help me sew very simple things on. Usually it was just a square or rectangle of fabric sewn together on three sides. Kind of like a pocket. And I thought I was really making something great! I would proudly take them home and put Barbie things in them.

She used to let me help her cook too. I got to stand on a stool next to the stove and stir things and shake the pan when we made popcorn! I would help her fix lunch for grandpa too.

After lunch was over and we had cleaned the kitchen, Grandma would want to take a nap. So we would go lay on her bed and she would close her eyes and I would ask her to tell me a story. So with her eyes closed, she would tell me the story of Goldilocks, or Jack and the Beanstalk, or sometimes she would recite children's poems like Little Miss Muffet. And sometimes, she would tell me about her family "back east". She had 14 brothers and sisters and I liked to ask her their names just so she would recite all their names for me. She would tell me about the farm and how having that many kids around was good help on the farm. Since she was the eldest daughter, she helped care for the young ones. Her parents names were Annie and Nels Robideau. Annie's maiden name was Grow. She told me that when she would get mad at her mother, she would take something her mother used a lot like a pair of scissors or her thimble and hide it! Her favorite place to hide things was in the wall. There was a loose board on the house and she would hide things in there. She said that if anyone ever knocked the house down to build something else, they were going to find a lot of her mother's "missing" things!

Sometimes she would tell me about Grandpa's family. About how they came to live on a farm in Minnesota not far from where she lived. She told me about how Grandpa's father, mother, and eldest brother came from Germany to the United States through New York. Their names were Albert, Lydia, and Fred. She said that Albert & Lydia lived in Chicago before they moved to Minnesota and that Grandpa Erick was born in Chicago. She told me that Lydia's maiden name was Richter and Grandpa had a sister named Elizabeth and two brothers, Fred and Otto.

There are many more memories I have with my great grandparents that I will write about later. After all, this is a blog, not a book!

I hope you enjoyed this jaunt down memory lane.


John said...

Hi Sheryl!
I loved visiting my grandma when I was a boy, too. I have six siblings so it was always nice & quiet at Grendma's! She would let me sit at the kitchen table and 'make stuff' out of construction paper --usually, little houses, surprise,surprise! Every day we would walk to the grocery store, Red Owl, and she would let me ride the mechanical pony we named, 'Brown Eyes.' Then she would give me a nickle to buy a 'charm' from the vending machine. She kept all my 'charms' in a jar in the cupboard and it grew into quite the collection! She taught me how to make pie and would let me make my own 'personal-sized pie' in a six-inch tin. One time I got it in my head to bake a 'candy pie' with lemon-drops from grandma's pressed-glass candy dish. Grandma knew it wouldn't turn out but she let me try, anyway! of course it didn't turn out at all but I learned a lesson! Thank you for your lovely post and for allowing me to remember my own grandma!

Sheryl said...

You're welcome John! I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

Grandma and I used to go for walks too! We would walk to Fedco and get a snack at their snack bar. One time when she got up from the table, I sprinkled some salt on the table where she had been sitting. I was trying to play a joke on her and thought salt would make her sneeze! I was all giggly when she got back to the table. She didn't sneeze of course, but she did laugh and explained to me that pepper is what I should use next time!