Here you will find some remembrances of time spent with my grandmother. For a short while I kept a detailed daily diary, and I'm thankful because it records the dates I had lunch with my grandmother, what we ate, and what we talked about. I didn't include every visit here; I included those where Mommom talked about her past or something fun happened. After the dated entries, I will probably try to add some others from my memory.

August 4, 1999

I had lunch with Mommom today. We had baked chicken, fried potatoes, short bread, cucumbers, raspberry mush, her homegrown tomatoes, and apple pie for dessert.

She talked about making butter.  She said when she and Pop were farming, she would gather the cream and put it in a stainless steel canister and lower it into the well to keep it cool.  The well had no crank so she had to raise and lower the canister by hand each time.  After she saved enough cream, she would churn it in a round butter churn with a crank.  She said sometimes on hot days, she wouldn't be able to churn it fast enough and it would get soft and she would have to remove it and put it back in the canister and lower it into the well to cool off.  Then she would start all over again.  I asked her how long it took to churn it into butter and she said it was never consistent.  Some days she said she would have to churn half the morning and other days it would churn quickly.  After it was turned into butter, she would unscrew the handle, remove the paddles, and scoop out all the butter.  Then the butter was put in the canister and lowered into the well until they went to town.  She would trade the butter at the store in town for groceries.  She said it was hard work but it was better than any butter she's tasted since then.

She also mentioned working at a tomato canning house before she got married.  She said the cans came out of a chute and onto a conveyor belt but they would get stuck in the chute.  It was her job to make sure they got onto the conveyor belt properly.  She said she also skinned tomatoes for awhile and talked about how her hands got all wrinkled from skinning tomatoes all day.

She also talked about washing clothes using a washboard and tub.  She was still washing clothes that way when her son Melvin was born.


January 8th, 2000

I went to visit Mommom on her birthday. She talked about one time when she cooked a bunch of oyster fritters that a friend had brought over unexpectedly for her husband, Charles Thume. She talked about how many he ate and how much he enjoyed them, saying they were an "unexpected treat".


January 15th, 2000

Joyce and I went to Mommom's for lunch.  We went a couple hours earlier so she could show us how to make her fried chicken.  It was quite involved but was well worth the effort.  After we ate, Joyce and Mommom started talking about kids.   

Mommom said that when she was a kid, she wasn't allowed to "yell and carry on" in the house; the kids just sat quietly or they'd get "fanned".  At dinner they had to eat everything on their plate or they couldn't get more of anything else.  Mommom doesn't like fat meat so she'd try to slip it to the dog under the table.  Her brother Warner would see it and say, "Margaret, did you drop some meat?"  She said that would make her so mad.  Her brother Lee made her mad once when he climbed in a window and ate a whole box of candy Pop had given to her.

When Mommom was living with her parents, she wanted to move to Easton and work there but her parents wouldn't let her.  It wasn't acceptable for women to have jobs back then.  One of Mommom's chores was to make the beds and she hated it (especially in the winter).  She said she still hates making beds.  She said her mother's relatives lived in Wilmington and when they came down to visit, the kids would often have to sleep 4 or 5 to a bed (laying sideways) so the company could have beds.  The company always got the best to eat and the the children had to do without; she didn't like that.  Mommom said her mother made bread 3 times a day.  It was mostly biscuits, so she said it was a real treat when her father brought home light bread.  We asked her what light bread was and she said it was a regular loaf of bread (yeast bread).

She told us about the time she had a toothache.  First she said her father would get in a bad mood if he had to stop farming to take one of the kids somewhere.  Mommom's tooth had been hurting awhile, so her mother finally told her father he would have to take Mommom to town and get the tooth pulled.  She said her father took her in the horse and buggy but shortly into the ride, the tooth stopped hurting.  She said she was too scared to say anything to her father because she knew he would get mad.  Joyce and I started laughing and asked what happened.  She said she went into town and got her tooth pulled.  She wasn't about to get her father mad.
 
January 26th, 2000

There was a heavy snow today and I called Mommom to see how she was. She talked about how beautiful the window panes were on her door. She said they were covered with a beautiful pattern of frost and were framed with snow.


January 30th, 2000

Mommom made Dad a coconut cake for his birthday. Mommom also put a picture in the Sunday paper of Dad when he was a little boy. Dad was surprised.


September 9th, 2000

I went to Mommom's for lunch.  She was in good spirits today and seemed to be feeling much better than she has been in the past several months.  She fixed chicken thighs, broccoli, short bread, potatoes, and cherry pie for dessert.   Her doctor told her she could have sweets once in awhile, so she had a piece of cherry pie with real sugar in it.  she really enjoyed it because she picked up the piece of pie in her hands and ate it.  That left a ring of cherry pie filling around her big smile.
 

October 7th, 2000

For lunch Mommom had stew which was extra good because it was just starting to get cooler outside. She was in good spirits. At a recent card party, she said she got the highest score anyone could remember playing 500. She said her score was over 5000 and normally you're lucky to get over 4000. We had cake with pudding over it for dessert.


November 4th, 2000

Mommom had roast beef, homemade rolls, salad, mashed potatoes, fruit salad, and apple pie for dessert. I don't know how she makes food taste so good.

After  eating, Mommom talked about the winter she had to spend with her in-laws because Pop hurt his back from hauling sacks of grain at Trappe Landing.  Pop's father lived near Croisadore and the house was close to the water.  They had to wash the clothes using a washing board and they froze before they got them hung up on the line.  They would evenutally dry out but if you needed them sooner, you had to bring them in by the fire and let them thaw out.

She said she went out and picked wild asparagus and cooked it for Pop's father who really enjoyed it.  She's repeated this one story several times through the years since it was a happy memory for her.  Pop's sisters cooked it differently and Pop's father didn't like it that way, but Mommom poured browned butter on hers after she cooked it. Mommom was really proud that her version was judged the best.


December 24th, 2000

I picked up Mommom and took her to Aunt Sue's for the holidays.  On the way, we talked about food.  She said she cooks a country ham by soaking it overnite to reduce the salt.  Then she boils it for an hour, replaces the water, and then boils it 2 hours more.  She said Old Hickory was a good brand to buy.  She talked about how she makes her light bread and how she cooks her soup.  Then we started talking about egg nog.  She said Elsie Stevens made some egg nog once that was so good that she drank too much and got sick.  I asked her if the egg nog was spiked with liquor.  She replied, "Indeed it was; that's why I got sick".


January 1st, 2001

I went to Mommom's early so that the first person through her door on New Year's Day would be a man.  It has always been a superstition of hers.  It's supposed to bring good luck the rest of the year, as is eating a bowl of black-eyed peas. 

Mommom said when she was little, her father went out to the barn to milk the cows on New Year's Day and found a woman there crying and that it took awhile for them to get her straight (she didn't say what her problems were).  Several bad things happened on her parent's farm that year and her parent's blamed it on the fact that a woman came across the threshold first.  They never let it happen again.


January 6th, 2001

Joyce and I went to Mommom's to see how she makes vegetable soup.  There were quite a few steps involved so it was good that we actually got to see how she did it.  Aunt Sue and Uncle Al came just as the soup was done. 

Aunt Sue talked about how Mommom and Pop took her to a "floating theater" when she was a kid.  This was a riverboat that traveled to the towns along the river to put on shows.   Aunt Sue only remembered a woman who did a high dive into a tank of water, and when they got home, Sue tried to do a high dive off the couch [Mommom used the word "davenport"].  The dive off the couch may have fractured her neck and Aunt Sue claims that is what messed up her balance.  She said Mommom took away her roller skates because she kept falling down so much.


February 10th, 2001

Today for lunch, Mommom had roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, celery, string beans, short bread, and cherry pie for dessert.  I ate too much (as usual) but it was so good.


March 4th, 2001

Lunch today was chicken thighs, carrots, string beans, Jello salad, fried potatoes, short bread, and pumpkin pie for dessert. Dad had taken Mommom to see Joyce's house the day before and she was talking about how nice it was. She had hemmed up the pants she gave me for Christmas and I took them home.


April 8th, 2001

I went to lunch at Mommom's. She had roast beef, asparagus, mashed potatoes, gravy, Jell-O and biscuits. Dad told her I was going on a diet so for dessert she had fixed cake with ice cream, chocolate syrup, and a cherry. I guess she didn't want me to starve myself on my diet. Dad had taken her over to see my house the day before so she could see the new roof over the front door. Before I left, we went outside to look at her flowers.


May 12th, 2001

I took Mommom a bunch of daisies that I cut from my yard. She had oven fried chicken, fruit, broccoli, macaroni and cheese, bread, and cherry pie for dessert. I hung her spinner up for her. She always waits until I can do it; she won't let anyone else hang it up. I told her my peonies were almost in bloom and she said that's what people used to take to the graveyard on Memorial Day because they were still in bloom by then and were very pretty. She was keeping busy with sewing and card parties and seemed to be in good spirits.


June 9th, 2001

I went to Mommom's for lunch. She had ham, fried potatoes, brocolli, shortbread, and bread pudding for dessert. Her knee had been bothering her but she said it was feeling a lot better. Her flowers looked really good and her clementis and roses were in bloom. She said she was keeping busy with sewing and other things and she would hate it if she didn't have anything to do.


July 7th, 2001

For lunch Mommom had stew, biscuits, blackberry mush, and apple pie for dessert. She gave me my birthday present which was a humming bird feeder and a fabric bag she made for me to hold plastic grocery bags.

We talked about some of the pictures I had borrowed from her. There is one picture of her and Pop sitting on a wharf and she said that was taken in Ocean City in 1927, shortly after she and Pop got married.  She said they took the train down to Ocean City and her sister Lidge was with them.  Mommom said on the ride back, Pop told Lidge he had bought something for her.  When Lidge held out her hand, Pop dropped a fake spider in it.  Lidge screamed.


August 11th, 2001

I went to Mommom's for lunch today. She had ham, scrapple, tomatoes, maccaroni & cheese, rolls, string beans, and blueberry pie for dessert. She was in good spirits, although a little tired (no wonder after cooking all of that). We both really enjoy getting to spend time with each other like this. I returned the picture of Dad in the service that I had borrowed. Mommom told me that picture was very dear to her because she got it before Dad went away to Germany for 3 years.


December 2nd, 2001

I had lunch at Mommoms for the first time in a few months. She had roast beef, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, string beans, gravy, short bread, and cherry pie. She said, "It's not much but maybe it will be enough to stop hunger."

Afterwards I helped her put up her ceramic Christmas tree and we sat and talked awhile.


March 2, 2002

I brought Mommom over to my house for lunch today and Rene came over too. I fixed ham with cabbage and potatoes, jello, and had chocolate cake for dessert. Mommom got to see my house and seemed to enjoy herself. Ed Ford stopped by after we finished eating and said he had a load of "chicken shit" in his truck. Then he saw Mommom and changed it to "chicken poop". Mommom thought that was funny and had to call Dad about it later.


August, 2002

While visiting Mommom, she told me a story that happened when she was a little girl.

She was living on a farm in Royal Oak and her mother asked her to get the mail one cold snowy day. She said it was a long, long way to the mailbox and she didn't want to go but her mother told her to take the old horse they had. She was still little and had to stand on something in the barn to get on the horse's back. She rode all the way down to the mailbox and then realized that if she got off the horse, she wouldn't be able to get back on. I didn't find out what happened next; did she ride back and say there was no mail or did she walk the horse back with the mail?


June 4, 2007

Shortly before her death, Mommom had to get a CAT scan because of a concussion she got after a fall. The CAT scan revealed that she had shot in her brain and she had to explain that to the doctors. I knew the story but I asked her about it in the hospital and she started laughing. She said it had happened when she was a little girl, before she even went to school so it was more than 90 years before. She was playing "Shoot the rabbit" or "hunt the rabbit" with her brother Warner, and she was the rabbit. I'm not sure of the details but her brother was not supposed to be using a real gun and Mommom had shot in her eye for many years before that was removed.