When my grandparents were first married, they had a farm (I believe it was his parents' farm). They grew sugarbeets. In fact, I've been told that my great-grandfather was the Sugar Beet King of Alberta for several years!
My grandmother was a very hard worker. Grandpa always said that she was the best farmhand he had! She could work behind a team of horses - plowing and disking. She could also drive a tractor. She cooked the meals for all of the hired help. There are some really cool stories about this time in her life...
My Uncle, D.R., told the story of the time she caught and killed a chicken to cook. She boiled it and pulled all of the feathers off. Apparently, there were still tiny, fuzzy feathers left on the bird, so she took my grandpa's razor and shaved the chicken, so it would be smooth! Haha!
When she was 8 months pregnant with her second child, my Uncle Rod, she was working in the field. I think she was driving the tractor that day. Anyway, the bumping around on the tractor put her into labor. She told my grandpa and they raced to the hospital (which was about an hour away I think). She delivered the baby 7 weeks early. I think it's a miracle there was nothing wrong with him - that was very dangerous in those days.
This is from my Aunt Loretta (the only girl): "When Grandma drove the big truck loaded with sugar beets or wheat to the grain elevators to sell, I remember riding along with her. It was a big deal for this young woman to bring the grain to market with her young daughter in the truck with her. I'm sure the men there were quite impressed."
(Here is a picture of the four kids. My uncle D.R. is the oldest, and he is holding my aunt, Loretta. Rod is on the right, and my dad is the littlest boy, on the left)
My grandmother was so pretty, and such a lady, it's hard for me to imagine her working on a farm. But, I do believe all the stories - I've witnessed her working her fingers to the bone for years.
(I love this picture of the family - look how pretty and petite my grandmother was!)
I asked my dad, Bruce, what kind of mom she was. Here are a few of the things he shared...
She was a wonderful mother. She would always stick up for the kids - she took their side on things, no matter what. She was always a peacemaker. My dad remembers having Rheumatic Fever as a child and grandma taking care of him - carrying him around. During this very full and busy time of her life (wife and mother), she did work outside of the home. She was a cafeteria cook at Brigham Young University for a year.
(Here is my grandmother, far right, as a lunchlady)
Then, she worked in the lunchroom at West Bountiful Elementary. She was also a Welcome Wagon hostess. She would take baskets full of goodies from area businesses to new families who moved in. I can totally see my grandmother doing this. She would have loved welcoming those families. She sang a lot when she lived in Canada. She actually sang, with a few other ladies, advertisements on the radio for different businesses. She sang with my grandfather a lot as well. They sang and recorded a song together and then promised that it would be played at each other's funerals. And it was! I heard it for the second time at my grandmother's funeral 2 weeks ago. Have you ever seen Walt Disney's Snow White? My grandmother sounded exactly like Snow White!!!! I couldn't believe it. Even her speaking voice sounded like Snow White. I wish I could have got a recording of the song to put on this blog. Maybe someday I'll be able to obtain a copy. It was so sweet to listen to.
My dad said that my grandmother was a very good cook.
(Here is my grandmother the way I remember her when I was a young child. Always in the kitchen making treats! She always had something yummy for us when we visited.)
She made lots of desserts - things like Cinnamon Rolls, and pies. My grandparents were very active in the LDS church, and she would have big dinners in the basement - for 30-40 people from the church. She was quite the hostess. She always supported my grandfather in everything that he did.
One of the big trials in her life was when my Uncle D.R.'s wife, Annemarie, was killed in a tragic car accident. My uncle was not expected to live, and so my grandparents went to live at their house and take care of the kids while he was in the hospital. I'm sure it was difficult - trying to help and keep up a cheerful countenance when she was hurting so much inside. It devastated her - as it did all of us. My dad said she was also very supportive of my parents when they lost my sister, Carmen.
I'll end with a story my dad told me about Grandma saving his life.
(This is my dad, Bruce, with his mother)
They had a big upright piano - one of those that is really tall. And heavy. They were moving the piano for the upstairs to the downstairs. There was a rope around the piano, and my dad was at the bottom, guiding the piano down. My grandmother was there too. All of a sudden, the rope broke and the piano came crashing down the stairs. My grandmother stepped in front of the piano and held it back. She kept it from crushing my dad's head until he could move. Let me just repeat that - she STEPPED IN FRONT OF THE FALLING PIANO! This is just the perfect story to illustrate my grandmother's love and devotion to her family. She would do anything for anyone.
Tomorrow, I'll share some of the stories I have, and my cousins have contributed, about our Grandmother.
Check out the recipe tab at the top of the blog - I'll put some of my grandmother's recipes there for you to use. Lucky you!!!