Thursday, July 17, 2008

Grandma from the Ozarks...





My Grandma Brown was a country woman. There was nothing fancy about her--nothing fancy in her home--she was just plain & simple, my loving Grandma Brown.


She was born in Morgan County, Missouri. I've tried to research her family but have come up to a dead end. Her maiden name was "Smith" and she married a "Brown". The County Courthouse from where she was born burned down at some point in the mid-1900's, leaving no trace for ancestry digging! I've also been told by a distance cousin of hers, that the community she lived in is now under water...covered by the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks...leaving no local tombstones to stumble over. So I've not wasted much time trying to find out about those who lived before her. I do know her father was Robert & her mother was Minerva.

My Dad did remember his Grandma Smith as a little old country lady who carried with her a metal lunch pail that was full of tobacco for the pipe that she smoked!
Grandma & Granda Brown with Eva & Fern


Cousin Nadine, Aunt Fern,
Grandma Brown, and my
pipe smoking Great Grandma Smith!

Grandma Brown was born in 1889. She married when she was 19 years old, and had her first baby by the time she was 20. Born to her were 7 children, 4 daughters and 3 sons. My Dad used to say that two of his sisters died during the influenze epidemic. But there are notes in a family Bible that little Eva Thelma died in 1918 at the age of 7, and Vivian Velva died in 1914 at 19 months. I never remember hearing Grandma talk about her babies.


Grandma with 3 of her children--Joe, Rose & my dad, Duane

Grandma was not a very fancy cook. About anything she cooked was either fried or was prepared with lots of left over grease! They always had beans of some sort, fried potatoes, and the best iron skillet fried chicken in Central Missouri! I loved her fried chicken. Her salads were made from dandelion greens, when she could find them, and she loved to cook polk....sort of like spinach!

Grandma, the way I remember her...
straw hat, cotton stockings, cotton dress...
I remember that cellar door & not wanting to go down there!
And she always had a rain barrel to catch water for her garden & chickens
She raised chickens...to later be fried up golden brown!...she usually had a couple of cows...and later had some geese that chased me, pecking at my legs, scaring me half to death! I remember her gathering her apron up, putting chicken feed in it, & walking through the yard, scattering feed for her flock of hens. Little did they know they were being fattened up for her frying pan! She did the milking. In the winter when it was snowy or icy, she wore black gum boots with buckles, and when it was slippery she would wrap her feet in chains.
Dad would tell how Grandma had a cure for everything. She would gather herbs and make up a poltice for any sort of sickness that came their way. She made tea from Camomile that was supposed to cure their ails! And kerosene was one of her favorite potions to put on cuts or wounds!
They lived far enough away from us that we would visit them on Saturdays. Often we would grocery shop for them as they didn't have a car. I remember being facinated with their home as it had no electricity, no running water, and of course...no bathroom! They had coal oil lamps that she read by in the evenings, always reading her beloved Bible. Grandpa had a battery operated radio that he listened too, tuning in the St. Louis Cardinals or some comedy program of the 1950's. I was always amazed how she could cook on her wood burning stove, even baking cookies for us in her oven. She was a very frugal lady, wasting nothing...meaning she cooked about every part of the chicken that was edible!
Me & my cousin Bobby in the chicken yard...

Uncle Joe & Grandma Brown

Later, she & Grandpa moved from the old farm house to a small trailer, with one tiny bedroom, kitchen & sitting area. Still no indoor bathroom. They moved across the graveled road from my uncle...the one with nine kids! My brother & I loved to go there, especially on Saturday mornings, as my uncle had a TV and we got to go there & watch cartoons, Fury, & Sky King! Then it was outdoors to run & play with all of the cousins. They didn't have indoor plumbing either and had to carry water for all 11 in their family. Somehow it seemed that it was always my cousin Wanda's turn to fill the water buckets while I was there.
Summertime brought me the chance to go spend a week with Grandma Brown. I don't think I spent very many hours of the day actually with her as I would head out to play with the cousins across the road. Wanda & I would go back & forth & talk, often finding her sitting in the small room reading her Bible. I'm sure she had other things, but I never remember eating at her table without at least having fried potatoes, much to my delight! And for a treat she would buy the powdered sugar donuts for me from the man that stopped by on the Bread Truck.
Grandma & my pretty Aunt Rose
Grandma out lived Grandpa by two years. We could see that something was wrong and sometime in 1961 she found out she had cancer. She stayed with us for a while and then went to a Nursing Home several miles away. Dad always went to see her on Saturday or Sunday and would take fruit for her to eat. He would sit & read the Bible to her when she could no longer read for herself. She died in March, 1962 when I was 13 years old.

I think my mother paid one of the highest tributes I've ever heard someone say about their mother-in-law. She told me that she never heard Grandma Brown ever talk bad about anyone, never gossiped, and never raised her voice.

Those footprints she left on our lives are hard to fill. She might have been a plain, country woman, but she was a very gentle Spirit!

In memory of our sweet Grandma Brown

Patsy Aldasarie!

one of Grandma's favorite quotes...

"A willful waste will bring a woeful want"

4 comments:

Karen Walden said...

Well that was quite a post... Lots of things I never have heard before! Great tribute to your Grandma! She looks quite the opposite of my Grandma Brown's Mom! Not an ounce of "prissy" in her at all! ;)

Carol said...

I agree with Karen! That's quite a post!!! Grandma Brown looks like someone I would have had fun knowing. All I know is that I liked her youngest son an awful lot! : )

You left out the part about her getting all of her teeth pulled and thinking she had a bone growing through many years later. (Mom loved telling that)

Love your new background.

Gotta hustle to work, but I'll try to have someone take some pics of my short hair.

Sheila said...

You would have loved her, of course, Carol. And I had forgotten about the tooth story!

Remember Mom telling about the old woman who shared Grandma's room in the Nursing Home? She hated Dad...probably because he read the Bible to Grandma... called him "Old Goodie Two Shoes"! And the nurses said that the old lady would steal Grandma's fruit after we left!

Have a good day at work!

Lady J said...

I love your family stories. You have a gift of writing.