Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An Anchor and a Support

We have very few photographs of Gramma at the age when I knew her as a grandmother. It seems that she grew up in a family where portrait photographs were taken often, perhaps annually, and several of those survive. And we have a few photographs of her as a young wife and mother. But none of those are of the Gramma I remember. By the time she was a grandmother, she claimed that she didn't like to have her photograph taken and usually turned away from the camera. We have only a few photographs of her looking at the camera. These two were the only ones I could find of her smiling.

It warms my heart to look at her photos and remember her kindnesses and love to me when I was a child. She was an anchor and a support in my young life. Because she lived just two houses away from us visits to her house were frequent. In fact, for a while I made daily after-school visits and was served Vienna bread with real butter (unlike at home where we used margarine). I still love real butter best.

Looking back I sometimes wonder how Gramma managed to finish all her work so she could have time to sit and visit with me every afternoon. We didn't always just sit. She taught me how to crochet and together we made "Granny Square" afghans. She also helped me learn to embroider and stitch quilt blocks together.

She had 8 grandchildren and it seemed that she always remembered exactly what we liked best: which kind of pie, what kind of candy, and even who our friends were.

I don't think her life was easy. Grampa was a barber and her part in his barbering business was cleaning the barber shop and laundering (by hand and hanging to dry) all the towels he used.

Gramma is my maternal grandmother, Emma Virginia Bickerstaff Meinzen. She was born on July 6, 1893, in Jefferson County, Ohio. I believe she was named for her grandmother, Emma (Nelson) Bickerstaff, who died when her son and Gramma's father, Edward Jesse, was just 7 years old.

Gramma, I hope you are being hugely celebrated today. You are a wonderful lady and grandmother. I love you and miss you!

Do you have special memories of your grandmother?


  1. What lovely memories - they remind me of my own maternal grandmother, who used to sew clothes for my Barbie doll.

  2. Aren't grandmothers wonderful - the things they do for their grandchildren!

  3. What great pictures! I remember my grandmother would almost always have roast beef and mashed potatoes for dinner when we would visit. Even though I didn't really like that type of meat, I'm grateful for the memories. I also remember sitting on the couch with her and getting hugs. I miss her.


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