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Summer Sun and My Vintage Grandma

June 25, 2022

Another Way for week of June 17, 2022

Summer Sun and My Vintage Grandma

What are your memories of your grandmother? Grandmas hold a special place in our hearts, for grandmothers are usually with us from our earliest days. Some children of course have been raised by a grandmother/grandfather.

My mother’s mother, Ruth Loucks Stauffer, was born May 21, 1896 and died June 24, 1991. Grandma lived 95 full years and I’m a little bit proud that I had grandparents from the 1800s! My mother lived 97 years and died last October.

Barn, milk parlor on side, hill we rolled down on the sides. All photos by my cousin Marilyn Yoder.

I will call Grandma Stauffer a vintage grandma because her house, her clothing, her barn hill, her pump on a well just fit the mid-1950s grandma description. We loved to go visit her, the food was always yummy, and we enjoyed exploring her barn and toys and what have you. We loved her cookies, pies and delicious smelling ham when we arrived on Christmas Day or for a Sunday dinner. 

Grandma Stauffer’s home for as long as I can remember.

While we were always excited to go visit Grandma (she lived about 15 miles away), I must say I don’t remember spending the night there as a child more than once or twice. I think it made her a little nervous to have children around; my cousins who lived within walking distance of her house were over there a lot more—understandably. They probably knew her better.

Her back porch, which is how we went into the house.

Grandma lost her husband when he was pretty young in an auto accident. She supported herself the rest of her years by renting out acres on her farm, and taking in alterations and sewing projects. She also sewed exquisite coverings—if you know Mennonites, you know the little hat-like nets that most Mennonite women wore—at least to church. Some wore them full time at home except in bed. The reasoning on that: the Bible says pray without ceasing, and Mennonites at that time felt that women should wear a head covering when praying—which could be anytime and always! So Grandma probably made hundreds if not more of these religious coverings in her day, and charged a few dollars.

Grandma and Grandpa Stauffer’s bedroom. For a few years, a telephone sat in the square inset in the wall (in this picture showing a pitcher and bowl)

Photos of Grandma’s house now look like a model house from the early 1940s. My cousin Marilyn Yoder took a series of photos when she stayed at Grandma’s house when Grandma had to move to a nursing home for her last six months. Marilyn wanted to remember Grandma Stauffer’s house the way it was.

We once visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder home in Mansfield, Missouri and it looked a lot like Grandma Stauffer’s house, especially the kitchen.

Grandma’s memorable kitchen.

Grandma Stauffer once wrote down a page full of memories and connections regarding her family and I’m so glad to have it now. One of the things she wrote was how girls/women in those times did not want to have tanned skin, because it made them look like they were farm workers who had to work in the sun. They covered up their arms with stockings (toes cut out) to keep from getting tanned. Way to go, Grandma and your generation—I’m sure you didn’t have as much skin cancer to deal with as our current generation, or the wrinkled skin of someone who has practiced sunbathing or visiting tanning salons. Thankfully many are getting the message to cover up skin or at least use lotion. (My grandsons all wear UV blocking shirts and hats when they are out playing in the sun or go to the beach.)

Yes, Grandma had a TV, but never any bigger than this.

The irony in our family was that my mom, while taught to cover up her skin when she was a child, went on to love sporting a tan while she lived in north Florida for eight years. We frequently went to nearby beaches. She, too, had to pay for her sun-loving ways, and had to have several basil cell carcinomas removed from her head or back. I now wear a white shirt that bounces sunrays off, and a sunhat to work in the garden on summer days.

Grandma Stauffer the way I remember her best.

I’m grateful for all three grandparents I was privileged to know and just hope and pray that our grandchildren will feel the same way about us! And thankful to my cousin Marilyn for sharing these memories through photos.

***

Did you happen to have a grandma with a kitchen similar to the one above? I’d love to hear about it! Or memories from any other similar pictures!

Comment here or send to anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted 78at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

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