Monday, February 25, 2008

My Grandma Pem

She was a petite little lady, probably taller in her youth. But the years, and no doubt undiagnosed osteoporosis took it's toll on her and she probably stood less than 5 feet tall.

Malinda "Linnie" Belle McMinn Pemberton

I called her "Grandma Pem". She was my great-grandmother and her last name was Pemberton..."Pem" more pronouncable for a small girl. We lived in a small central Missouri town and grew up knowing & watching out for each other. My great-grandmother and grandmother happened to live next door to each other, moving in town after selling their farms. I loved to go visit both grandmothers and would ride my bike to see them, sometimes making a nuisance of myself, I'm sure.

It was the time when you might tap on the door and then just walk in. I remember walking into Grandma Pem's house & seeing this stooped little lady sitting in her rocking chair in front of her small black & white TV, watching soap operas! Oh, how she loved the soaps! Even then, it amazed me that this little old woman would even be slightly interested in "The Edge of Night" or "The Secret Storm". But somehow it intrigued her and she was a faithful viewer.

Grandma Pem's house was always in pristine condition. I don't think she ever got a thing out of place. Nor do I ever remember her doing much cooking. About the only treat I remember would maybe have been a "circus peanut" or "orange slice candy" that would have been in her white milk-glass candy dish--the one shaped like a chicken on a nest. Remember those?

Some of the things I can remember in her home were of course her black & white TV (it was the 1950's & something quite new), her lovely old mantle clock, a settee she called a "love-seat"--shaped like an "S" the girl sat on one side & the boy on the other..or at least that is what she told me, beautiful old dishes, and a skirted chair kept by her bed that upon closer inspection revealed a chamberpot! That chair was sometimes moved in the living room as a spare seat. We children would avoid sitting on it (it did have an upholstered lid) and would get tickled at whomever had to sit there.

Samuel & Linnie...(notice the mantle clock)

I'm amazed at how long ago Grandma Pem was born. During my growing up years I only knew her as Linnie Belle Pemberton. But later on a cousin discovered that her real name was Malinda. She was born in 1871--137 years ago! Her family were the McMinns. She married Samuel Pemberton on Christmas Eve of 1891 when she was twenty years old. And she died in November of 1965, outliving her husband by14 years. They had nine children, her oldest daughter, Exie, being my maternal grandmother. She and Samuel buried two of their children, one dying from influenze and one from dyptheria, at the young ages of 5 years & the other only being 16 months.

Linnie & Samuel...soon after they were married.

No doubt at one time they were wealthy Boone County farmers. But the depression took its toll and in the end she had only a small house. But I loved that house & the things in it, including my wee little Grandma. I only wish she would have shared some of her life stories with me, but maybe I wouldn't have been interested back then. I'm sure she had a lifetime of good memories and probably some not so good that would have been part of what made her "my Grandma Pem".

As a life lesson, I'm trying to share some of the things from my past with my children and grandchildren. So often we don't tell those little special occasions that make up who we are. I've got a lot of story telling to do....

One of the Homer Laughlin plates I have that belonged to my Great Grandmother. I've always wondered--who broke up the set? I have six saucers...

The Pembertons at their home near Hallsville, Missouri
Four Generations
My mother, Darlene, holding my brother, Steve, me (Sheila), Exie (Pemberton) Fulkerson, my grandmother, and Linnie (McMinn) Pemberton, my great-grandmother..Circa 1953


Karen Walden said...

Great story about my Great, Great Grandma Pem! A lady I never met. Keep up the stories! I don't want to do all that genealogy digging myself but sure do like to read about my family and heritage! Thanks for doing all the work for us kids!
Love ya!

Karen Walden said...

I forgot to ask...what in the world is up with that first picture?? Is that a bustle? Why in the world did women think that made them look good back then???

Sheila said...

Yes...a bustle it is! I was aiming to ask you if you would like to wear one of those! I think they just bunched the skirt up but they probably had a special slip on underneath it. Thanks....but no thanks. I'm glad that "fad" passed. :)


Anonymous said...

Not that I remember, but I think I called her "Grandma Pin".

I think Karen would look fabulous in a bustle!!!

Nice work, Sis!!


Jonathan Walden said...

Please don't leave that plate out when my kids are there!!

Sheila said...

Don't worry, Jon...plate is out of reach! I think.

Carol...I think you did call her Gma Pin and maybe Luana did too. But it was supposed to be short for Pemberton I guess.

I guess you were born before she died! Barely... :)


Lady J said...

I am loving your memories! If only I had the time to do the same! Maybe bustles were useful in the fact that all women looked like they had big hips-covered up a lot of unsightly figures. I know a lady who walks like she has a bustle on! Those things stick out for all to see! I wonder if she doesn't wear those hip pads?????

Sheila said...

Janet...I don't really have the time. There is always something else I should be doing! I think I'll pass on the bustle business. Hopefully they won't ever return in style!

I don't think either of these grandmothers need to cover up their hips! Both were trim ladies...Grandma Fulkerson being taller. You can tell that I take after my Grandma Brown's side of the family.

But that's another story....

Thanks for the comments!