Random Memories of Grandmother Anna Simon
My maternal grandmother was an integral part of our lives when we were young. One of our favorite places was at Grandmother Ann’s. She, like us, lived on the edge of town and her house was the last one on the hill next to a big field of alfalfa. I remember playing in the field, running like the wind. I could see our house across the football field and beyond from that vantage point and it seemed like the edge of the world.
There was a tire swing in the back yard of my grandparent’s house near the barn. What child doesn’t love a swing? I loved to watch my grandmother hang laundry as I sat on that swing. I can still picture her among the clean, wet garments as she patiently attached them one by one to the lines with the wooden clothespins. She had one of those hanging bags where she kept her clothespins. There is nothing like smelling so fresh when dry. In the winter she had an inside clothesline on a pulley that stretched from the living room into the kitchen. Grandma had a wringer washer in the bathroom of her house. It was fascinating to watch the clothes as they churned and churned in the washer tub. The highlight was when she put them through the wringer. She was always warning us not to keep our fingers back and not to put anything else through. I took her at her word, as I imagined that a crushed finger would be quite painful. There was a big bathtub with clawed feet in that bathroom. I loved to take baths there, except for Grandmother would through a handful of Tide laundry soap into the water, which would make the tub really slippery and it was a bit irritating to the skin. I guess she wanted to make sure we were clean.
Another place we kids liked to play was near the town water tank which was across the way near Grandmother’s house. It was a big round brick building surrounded by trees, long grasses, and thorny bushes and very mysterious to explore. We never figured out how to get inside it but were satisfied to play near it. For some reason there was a feeling that we weren’t supposed to be there, although I don’t think any of the adults told us we couldn’t. There was a vegetable garden beside the house, and I also remember her beautiful irises, her snowball bush, and her lilacs. Ahh yes, those hot summer afternoons were the best!
Grandma’s rocking chair was a beautiful wooden chair. She would rock me to sleep on occasion and I loved it. I thought about her when I rocked my own grandson to sleep. I felt like she was with me. She loved to watch Gunsmoke. She napped every afternoon and at some point she walked to her neighbor’s to get the newspaper. Her cellar was full of preserves and jams, as she loved to garden. I used to help her snap peas.
Grandma Simon crocheted. She made tablecloths and so many doilies. I was so amazed at how quickly these were created and how many patterns she knew. She tried to teach me once, when I was a girl, but I just didn’t get the hang of it. I didn’t inherit the knack for handcrafts. She used to make special doilies for the back of Grandpa’s easy chair so that he would leave oily marks from his head. She also put them on the arms of the easy chair and the sofa. I have some of my grandmother’s doilies, which my mother has given me. I treasure them.
Grandma wore an apron every day, a bib apron with big pockets. She had a special dress up apron that she wore when she went places, which wasn’t often. I remember so many times, too, when she kept a handkerchief in the pocket of her apron. At the slightest hint of a sniffle out came the hanky. Now I am thinking that may have not been that sanitary, as she sometimes had several of us grandkids around at one time. We survived, so it must not have hurt us.
the water tower: