Grandma

Grandparents & grandchildren, Photo by Aletia2011, Adobe Stock

Grandma

Our Grandma, Frances Ellen Tustin,

had to babysit, so she left after two years of school.

She had learned to read! She used that skill

to educate herself and lived her life to the full.

At twelve, Grandma worked as a hotel maid.

Married at seventeen, she had two sons.

She and Grandpa worked hard to support

their family during the Great Depression.

Our grandparents moved a lot, flipping houses.

Grandma wallpapered, painted, and plastered.

The last house they renovated was her childhood

home, using all the skills they had mastered.

Photo by Brett Jordan from Unsplash

Grandma lived there for more than thirty years,

raising chickens, planting grapes and fruit trees.

She grew asparagus, strawberries, and flowers,

and cultivated her garden into her eightees.

Grandma decorated her home with hooked rugs,

handmade quilts, and afghans she crocheted.

Her grandchildren were always proud

to wear the beautiful clothes she made.

Photo by Mae Mu from Unsplash

Cooking in restaurants and caring for the sick…

Grandma had many jobs over the years.

She was a long-time Sunday school teacher

who had earned the respect of her peers.

We always ate well at Grandma’s house…

Everybody loved her black walnut cinnamon buns!

Grandma fed us chicken cacciatore and cookies.

We gathered eggs in the henhouse. That was fun!

Photo by Natasha Skov from Unsplash

In summer, Grandma gave strawberries

to friends and neighbors and made strawberry pies.

A huge bowl of strawberries waited for us at

Grandma’s. We couldn’t eat them all, but we tried!

The Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls Grandma made

were in demand at local gift shops.

The dolls she made for her great grandchildren

were always loved a lot!

Photo by Non Vay from Unsplash

Most of my generation wanted to be like Grandma.

Great granddaughters, and great nieces, too,

are named “Frances” or “Ellen” or “Tustin,”

a gentle reminder: Be known by the good works you do.

Reprinted from Life in Inspiring Places


Copyright© 2019 by Cheryl Batavia

70 Comments

  1. She certainly sounds like an inspirational woman and a wonderful Grandma. My Grandma was both of those things as well, and she lives on in the memories of her children, grand children and great grandchildren ❤️

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    1. Thank you, Offshorewriter, for your kind remarks. Your support is very much appreciated! ❤ My grandma was never rich in material things, but she was incredibly generous and giving of herself. Cherished memories of our loved ones are a source of inspiration throughout life.

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  2. She is an inspiration. A life filled with creativity and seems productivity was flowing. Living in the times of great depression was a very challenging task. Thank you for sharing the warrior post.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Thank you, Kritika, for sharing your kind thoughts. When times are tough, I think about my grandmother and how she met the challenges in her life. Yes, she was a “warrior!” Thank you for saying so.

      The great depression was indeed a challenge! My Grandfather told me that he gave away the last loaf of bread in his small store and was out of business. My grandmother baked pies and sold them along the road. She patched holes in her shoe soles with cardboard. Because there was not enough milk when he was a small child, my uncle did not have very good teeth. Somehow, they survived! We will also survive.

      Be safe and stay happy! Lots of love to you! ❤ Cheryl

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  3. Cheryl, my thoughts resonate with you with regard to my Grandmother. She was a beautiful soul and although she’s now in a better place, I have met few with a tender heart as she had. I like the way you have shared the story of your Grandmother. Stay blessed. ❤️💐

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    1. Diana, thank you for sharing your thoughts about your grandmother. I am glad you had someone so kind in your life. Her memory will be a source of inspiration throughout your life. That you are a loving person shines in your poems and is evidence of her loving influence. ❤ All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. Radhika, I appreciate your kind and thoughtful response. My Grandmother’s example helps me get through the challenges of life.

      I am sure you are a similar source of inspiration to your former students, your children, and those who read your poems. ❤ Take care.

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    1. Ramya, I am so glad you enjoyed the poem. Thank you for your kind comments. ❤ Remembering my grandmother's example has been helpful to me all my life. We all learn from those who came before us and cherish their memory. I am sure you are making wonderful memories with your children, and you are making a beautiful record of your thoughts through your writing, All the best! ❤

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    1. Hema, thank you for such a kind, generous response. My Grandmother’s memory means a lot to me as I live my life. I am pleased that you found her inspiring.

      As a child, I watched her hanging clothes on the line after her radical mastectomy. She used her left hand to lift her right hand and retrained her remaining muscles to hang clothes. She was forty-nine and continued to live a vigorous, active life into her eighties.

      May we all learn from the examples of the people we love and admire and take courage in the difficult times. Keep writing, Hema, and sharing your valuable perspective. ❤ All the best!

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    1. Thank you, Rishika, for your kind response. ❤ ❤ ❤ Yes, my memories of my grandmother are priceless to me. Although she has been gone for thirty years, she continues to be an inspiration. It means a lot to me that you enjoyed reading about my grandmother. We all can learn from the examples of family members who have blazed a trail for us. ❤ Thank you again for sharing my memories. Have a wonderful day! 🙂

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  4. She’s been so compassionate and tenacious. I admire her skills and it’s great imagining the artificial and natural decors she has done around the childhood home. I haven’t experienced the warmth of a grandma and your post was so heartwarming. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Thank you so much, Anisha, for sharing your kind thoughts. I am thankful for knowing my grandma. I am so sorry you have not had that opportunity. Hold close whoever has been a special influence in your life and let them inspire you. I wish you a long and happy life filled with love and success! ❤

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  5. What a lovely tribute to a very inspiring lady! Your grandma seemed to have done something of everything – managed home, work and a garden, the chickens, made dolls as well as delicious treats. I am sure she told you very beautiful stories too 🙂

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    1. Thank you Deb for your kind comment. My grandmother did share some stories from her childhood. Her father deserted the family during the oil boom, and I think life was quite a struggle as a result, She had to leave school after second grade to help out with her two younger sisters and worked hard all of her life.

      She eventually had a stepfather but was apparently not very impressed with him. Her father left her a tiny inheritance from an oil well. I remember that she received a small dividend each year. 🙂

      I saw an old photo of Grandma as a young woman. She was a “Flapper” with bobbed hair and was very fond of dancing. As a teenager, she worked as a lifeguard.

      I hope all is well with you and your family, Deb. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Dear Cheryl, I haven’t indeed been too well of late, but nothing of the current pandemic kind 🙂. Some food I had few days back didn’t suit me at all, and gave me a bad bought of ill health, maybe my hallucination post came through 🙂 I am recovering though, almost there… I have been missing WP and everyone here, but my wife has been very strict about my mobile usage, as it was giving me a headache initially.
        Thank you so much for your message, I might have missed, but my daughter who keeps track of my phone came and informed me 🙂 she knows you very well and so told me, and I thanked her so.
        Your grandmother seems to have been an amazing woman, who took her life head on! A grandmother to be proud of 🙂
        Hope you have been well, and I can’t wait to be back on track… Shortly, hopefully… There are messages I haven’t been able to read and reply to, feeling bad. Take care Cheryl 💖

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I am so sorry that you have been ill, Deb. When we had Covid19 in early April, we thought it was food poisoning. We did not have a fever or breathing problems. I had a serious illness with complications that lasted for several months, a hospital stay, two months of antibiotics. My doctor told me a few weeks ago, that he is convinced we had Covid19, the gastrointestinal version.

      Maybe you should be tested. Antibodies are present for about 3 months.

      A big hug to your daughter!

      Take care of yourself. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. What a great woman. She sounds like an every-woman: the kind who takes care of the family, cooks incredible food, and has a job where she is well-respected. Women like that show you how to live kind and giving lives that enable you to be a joy to everyone that you meet. I’m happy that you had her as a grandmother 🙂

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    1. Thank you, thewheelchairteen, for sharing your perspectives. I like the idea that Grandma was an every-woman. ❤ Thank you for saying you are glad that I had her as a grandmother. Although we lost her thirty years ago, she continues to be an inspiration in my life. 🙂

      How are your studies going? Are you in actual classes or online classes now? Stay safe. All the best! ❤

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      1. Yes it is! And I’m out in it all the time. Both my older two kids play travel ball (softball & baseball) so we are at the field all the time.
        I love it especially in the evenings! ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This is such a lovely archieve for your family Cheyrl and special memory of your grandma. She made many sacrifices and had a wonderful life. It’s so great you have captured those memories.
    So beautifully delivered! ❤️ Cindy

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    1. Thank you so much, Hammad, for visiting my site and reading my work. Thank you for your kind response. ❤ Everyone can learn from the examples of beloved family members who blazed a trail for them. My grandma has been dead for thirty years, but her memory continues to inspire me. 🙂

      Have a great day/evening! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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