My Poetic Path

my journey…shared in poems, prose and photos

Because of You

20 Comments

“When you stop learning and growing mentally, you start dying.”

I’m sure you all have a personal story about a family member, acquaintance or friend in their 70’s,80’s or older who continues to be “young at heart”. Still ready for anything, open to new ideas and lifelong learning.

Then there are the “20-30 something’s” who can already seem so much older than their chronological age. Set in their ways, cynical and perhaps doing more than their share of “whining” about how tough life is. Aging and growing older in the worst possible way.

For me, the very best example of being “young at heart”  was my maternal grandmother, Sabina. In particular, I fondly look back to the winter of my 20th year and my grandmother’s 78th.

What a wonderful time we shared that year, through a record-breaking cold Canadian winter. I was living and working in Winnipeg, Manitoba and staying with my grandmother in her large rambling, traditional 2 storey house (complete with a sunroom and cold storage porch).

What a lovely memory it is to picture that house again and my grandmother still healthy and very capable of living on her own. Taking what came her way, all in stride.

What a joy it was to come home at the end of a busy workday to the aroma of freshly-baked bread, a MacIntosh apple pie and some delicious supper dish in the oven. A pot of tea in the kitchen, ready to brew.

I was very young at the time but felt so comfortable sharing my thoughts, experiences and even some secrets with my grandmother. There were many things I felt I could discuss with her and often with no one else. And what stories she had to tell in return! I could listen to her for hours on end.

My grandmother Sabina shared many of my traits and interests including my pursuit of keeping things neat and organized.  Her house was always very clean and tidy and she did most of the work herself and without so many of the modern conveniences we now take for granted. For example: she still preferred her  old “wringer” washer and had it fixed several times, instead of replacing it with a new automatic,even though she could have afforded one. Hard work but good exercise, she would say.

Our usual week night ritual: Sitting in her elegant dining room enjoying supper and a long chat afterwards. She would happily share with me what she had “been up to” that day. Perhaps working on a new sewing project on her still very serviceable Singer treadle machine. A walk to the neighbourhood grocery store was usually part of her daily ritual, even when the winter winds howled as only they can on the Canadian Prairies. Calls on the phone or visits (back and forth) with friends and family. And every night slowly but surely, she would read through the Winnipeg Tribune or rival local daily, Winnipeg Free Press, from cover to cover.

My grandmother had learned English when she came to Canada as a young woman. She was self-taught and had told my own mom that she had been too embarrassed to attend classes to learn English in her new country. She took on the task herself and accomplished it well. I do remember though this was one area where she lacked confidence. She never felt totally comfortable in her language and writing skills but you could have fooled me.

This tiny dynamo of a woman did so much in her long life including raising 5 children and keeping on top of a very active social life as the wife of a railroad executive. Entertaining and travelling were a way of life for them and she did it with grace and style. Always ready to attend various functions: church teas, luncheons and parties in addition to keeping the home fires burning and inspiring her children to reach for the stars. 

I remember how she always took pride in her appearance; smartly dressed even at home. Often adorned with precious and unique jewelry pieces. Regal in her stature. Ready for the next challenge or adventure, and this continued through all the years. And also aware of those less fortunate and always ready to help out in any way she could.

Because of my grandmother, I had a wonderful role model in knowing what it truly means to remain young, no matter what age I am. I will never forget our special times together and what she meant to me and always will.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for all you gave me, Big Ma. “

(Our childhood pet name for her go figure; she was less than 5 feet tall!)    😉

“Because of you, I am a better person. And I will always try to make you proud, even now.”

**

Written for the Search Engine Stories prompt for November 1st: Because of You.Photo courtesy of: Flickr

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Author: Geraldine

I am a freelance writer, poet, artisan, avid book/product reviewer and award-winning cookbook author. I recently published the second volume of my new vegetarian cookbook series: -The Groovy Green Kitchen II: Simply, Super, Supper Soups and my fun and inspirational book, all about aging well: -Laughing AT the Grim Reaper! Gems of Wisdom for Aging Well I am also the author of: -The Groovy Green Kitchen: Weeknight Veggie Slow Cooker -Third Chapter, Second Chance (a mid-life romance) -Not Just for Vegetarians: Delicious Homestyle Cooking, the Meatless Way and the poetry collections: -Haiku Reflections:The Four Seasons (Volume i and II) and -My Poetic Path All titles available at Amazon.com, .ca, UK.... When I'm not writing or creating new recipes, I love to knit and crochet; usually with some "help" from feline friend, yarn-loving Mr. Cheddar! I hope you will visit and enjoy all of my blogs.Thanks for stopping by. Wishing You a Happy Week and Namaste! :-) You can also visit me at my new author's site: geraldinehelenhartman.me

20 thoughts on “Because of You

  1. What a heartfelt tribute! My great-grandmother raised me (to 13, when she died) and I recall the black treadle sewing machine. So sturdy and what a workhorse. Lovely story.
    Brenda

  2. 5ft tall but big of heart! This was a wonderful grandmother and we could use many more like her in this world.

  3. what sweet memories, wish I had a grandmother like her, she sounded like a strong person, very self-independent, wouldn’t might listening to her stories

  4. How wonderful! I think I was smiling the whole time I read this. She must have been wonderful indeed. There can be a lot of woman in a short package! 🙂

  5. A strong, independent woman, throughout all of her years (and she loved and took care of her family). I especially adored the detail about the wringer washer: “Hard work but good exercise, she would say.” Classic. 😉

  6. What a heartwarming story and beautiful grandmother … wish I’d known her 🙂

  7. My grandmother was no more than 4 feet 11 inches. This is a wonderful tribute. Did I miss it; where was she born?

  8. Hi Brenda, I am glad my story brought some good memories to mind for you. Weren’t these old treadle machines a treasure? I’d still like to have one someday, as a piece of art, probably not to use. 😉

    Hi Tammy, We certainly could. She was a big- hearted person and special in so many ways.

    Hi Lissa, My grandmother’s stories were treasures. I think you would have enjoyed listening too.

    Hi Texas, I am so glad you enjoyed my story. I planned to write a short poem or quote for this prompt but then the thoughts and words just kept coming.

    Hi SL, Welcome to MPP. I remember that washing machine swishing and a wringing out the clothes then on to the outdoor clothesline. Nothing ever smelled better than freshly-dried clothes, kissed by the sun. In those days at least. Now, probably not so easy to achieve, given our air quality. 😦

    Hi Fenny, I think you would have loved her too!

    Hi Christine, Woman were a lot shorter back then in height but not in stature, based on my experience and many I’ve read elsewhere. She was born in Poland.

    Hugs and thanks for stopping in, G

  9. Such a lovely tribute! It did seem like people were stronger in those earlier days – I never remember my grandmother or mother being ‘sick’ or unable to do the chores and still find time and heart to share. I love this post!

  10. I am smiling, nodding and crying all at the same time. Oh, she sounded tremendous. What a marvellous story and what a precious memory. Big Ma was obviously one special lady!

  11. She sounds like a wonderful person and role model. Sad to say, I was never able to spend time with my grandmothers, one passed early and the other lived across the country.

    You told me before you had a train background, now I know what it was.

  12. Wonderful story, Geraldine! The women of that generation were nothing short of amazing…
    (((hugs)))

  13. Thank you for the lovely writing and for triggering so many warm memories for me. Both of my grandmothers were women of this ilk, and I am a better person for their steadfast examples & presence in my life. This is a wonderfully heartwarming piece and a great take on the prompt! Hugs –

  14. Hi Sue, I totally agree with you. It seems that people (I think, in particular women) of that era were very strong, physically and otherwise. My other grandmother (who sadly I never knew) had 13 children!!! That in itself is amazing. My own mom did so many things ‘by hand’ sewing, washing etc…but further back, in my grandma’s time, it was nothing short of a miracle that they accomplished so much. True pioneer spirit!

    Hi Selma, I was smiling, nodding and crying…typing this story as the thoughts and memories came to me. Big Ma was the best!

    Hi Sandy, I am so sorry you missed out on not knowing either of your grandmothers, that is so sad.

    Hi Sallee, I totally agree! And what great role models for those who followed.

    Hi Kayt, I am so glad my story brought back wonderful memories for you. Perhaps you will share more about your grandmothers on your blog, in the future. That would be great reading Im sure!

    Hugs and thanks for stopping by, G 🙂

  15. What a fantastic, wonderful post. My favourite of yours so far. Thanks, DavidM

  16. So beautifully said! I too had a grandmother I loved to be with. To have so much time with her and to spend it in this way would have been magic!

  17. Your grandmother is such a gem..

  18. Hi David, Oh David…you have made my day. I am honored by your comment I just got back to read now.

    Hi Sandy C, That is so nice to read Sandy. What memories to treasure, eh?

    Hi Irene, Welcome and thank you. Big Ma would like your comment too, Im sure.

    Hugs, G

  19. From your heartwarming glimpse into your past, I can easily picture you both. I especially love her nickname, but moreso, your pen of love glistens here more precious than any diamond.

  20. Wonderful…a great tribute…loved reading it… 🙂

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