Posts Tagged ‘Grandma’

Grandma and the mystery of housekeeper’s disguise

I spent the day at Grandma’s today and we got to talking about her mother. She told me stories I hadn’t heard about her first job, and then about her housekeeper who lived in disguise… No. Really.

EDITED TO ADD: I got Grandma to talk more about her housekeeper. She had remembered that it had been Nellie’s husband who had been killed and that it happened in Alabama. She said that Nellie was worried about the same men finding her and killing her. I figured an ax murder should be easy to find records of.

It turns out– serial killers.

From 1919-1923, Birmingham, Alabama had a series of ax murders. I’ve only found two articles online but the timing is right for him to have been a victim of the “ax syndicate.

FURTHER EDITED TO ADD: Apparently, this trial got some attention because the confession came through an early use of “truth serum.”

Serenading Grandma

Meet my 106-year old Grandma. My dad, on fiddle, and his friend stopped by to play for her today. I learned that my great-grandfather played the fiddle.

After the camera was off, I also found out that Grandma used to play the slide guitar.

What’s really crazy? I recorded this on my phone and Grandma remembers when they didn’t have a phone. Talk about living in the future.

Happy 106th Birthday, Grandma!

Not that Grandma is going to come online and see the birthday wishes, but I thought I would share them with you. I’ll tell you, having a 106 year-old Grandmother who is still sharp changes one’s views of aging significantly.

I’ll give Grandma a call today, if she has time to talk to me given the vast hordes of people who are likely to drop by her house to wish her well. Vast hordes is not an exaggeration.  Just the sheer number of descendent’s she has at this point would justify the word “horde.”

Meanwhile, here’s Grandma’s recipe for Teatime Tassies for you to celebrate with.

Teatime tassies
1 – 3oz. Cream cheese
1/2 cup butter or margerine
1 cup sifted flour
1 egg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
Dash of salt
2/3 cup broken pecans
Let cream cheese and butter soften to room temperature.  Blend and stir in flour.  Chill slightly until firm.  About 1 hour.  Shape 2 dozen 1 inch balls.  Place in tiny ungreased muffin cups.  Press dough on bottom and sides of cups.   Divide half the pecans among pastry lined cups.
Beat together  remaining ingredients  until smooth.  Add to pastry cups and top with remaining pecans.  Bake in slow oven 325° for 25 minutes or until filling is set.

Grandma puts entering a new decade into perspective

As the aughts wind down with 2010, Rob reminded me that 2011 will be Grandma’s second time entering the teens.  She was born in 1905.

I know this and yet the mind boggles anyway.

She remembers the Titanic, WWI, Woodrow Wilson, medicine shows, getting the mail by train once a week.  We were talking while I was home and she said that she feels like people aren’t as considerate sometimes, but that she wouldn’t want to go back to then and have to give up her electric lights and running water.

Let’s hope the teens this time around are courteous, bright, and well-watered. No World Wars, please.

Happy New Year.

This is my grandma


(I should mention that her birthday was February 5th but the DAR’s directory doesn’t come out until August.)

Grandma’s 105th birthday party

I spent the day at Grandma’s for her 105th birthday party. It was a lot of fun seeing all the relatives and catching up with folks. Grandma was in good spirits and excited to see everyone. Here she is with her birthday cake.

As we were getting ready to go, Mom was getting out of her chair, which is a little slow since she’s got a brace on her leg. Grandma looks at the effort it’s taking and with just a hint of a smile says, “Do you need to borrow my walker?”

I love my Grandma.

Happy 105th Birthday, Grandma!

Grandma turned 105 today and I’ll actually be in Chattanooga in time for her birthday party on Sunday.  She is a remarkable woman and the inspiration for my novelette First Flight.

I had been on a panel about research we were talking about the importance of primary sources.  One of the panelists said, “Of course, you can’t get a primary source if you want to talk about the Spanish Flu epidemic.”

It suddenly occurred to me that I could, because Grandma was born in 1905. It started me thinking about all the things she had seen in her life. In the story, the main character says:

I’ve lived through two World Wars, the Great Depression, the Collapse. I lived through race riots, saw us put men on the moon, the Spanish Flu, AIDS, the Titanic, Suffrage and the Internet. I’ve raised five children and buried two, got twenty-three grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren with more on the way.

I’m not making any of that up (although I am losing track of the number of cousins I have).  I mean, the things she’s seen and the way the world has changed in her lifetime is staggering.  She’s an amazing woman, still sharp and interested in everything. I can’t introduce you to her for real, but the story comes pretty close.

“First Flight,” free at Tor.com + recipes!

My short story, First Flight, is up at Tor.com. It has absolutely goooooorgeous art by Pascal Milelli, which looks enough like my actual grandmother that my mom was disappointed that she didn’t have earrings on.

Why is it cool that she looks like my grandmother?  Because she’s based on Grandma, even if the name isn’t the same. My grandmother, is still alive, well, and sharp as anything. She was born in 1905.

Grandma in 1920

I got the story idea because we were sitting around talking about things she had seen and it is staggering.  She remembers World War I, for crying out loud, and the Titanic.  Anyway, when she turned 100, she said, “I figure the Good Lord put everyone on this earth for a reason. I just haven’t done my yet, so I better get busy.”

To celebrate, I’d like to share these recipe cards with you.  I made them for Grandma’s 101st birthday and they are some of my favorite things she makes.

Here’s a teaser of First Flight.

Eleanor Louise Jackson stood inside the plain steel box of the time machine. It was about the size of an outhouse, but without a bench or windows. She clutched her cane with one hand and her handbag with the other. It felt like the scan was taking far too long, but she was fairly certain that was her nerves talking.

Her corset made her ribs creak with every breath. She’d expected to hate wearing the thing, but there was a certain comfort from having something to support her back and give her a shape more like a woman than a sack of potatoes.

A gust of air puffed around her and the steel box was gone. She stood in a patch of tall grass under an October morning sky. The caravan of scientists, technicians and reporters had vanished from the field where they’d set up camp. Louise inhaled with wonder that the time machine had worked. Assuming that this was 1905, of course—the year of her birth and the bottom limit to her time-traveling range. Even with all the preparations for this trip, it baffled her sense of the order of things to be standing there.

So, go on, read about my Grandma.

Sale! “First Flight” to Tor

I call this my time-traveling Grandma story, which isn’t a spoiler, since the story opens with her standing in a time machine. I based the main character on my own grandmother.

When Patrick Nielsen Hayden bought it for Tor.com, he asked me to change the character’s name. Why? Because her name was Elois, just like my grandma.  The problem, though, is that at the end of H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine, he visits the Eloi.  Elois looked like a deliberate play on that, but didn’t go anywhere.  Once he pointed that out, I was only too happy to change the name.

Here’s a teaser of “First Flight.

Eleanor Louise Jackson stood inside the plain steel box of the time machine. It was about the size of an outhouse, but without a bench or windows. She clutched her cane with one hand and her handbag with the other. It felt like the scan was taking far too long, but she was fairly certain that was her nerves talking.

Her corset made her ribs creak with every breath. She’d expected to hate wearing the thing but there was a certain comfort from having something to support her back and give her a shape more like a woman than a sack of potatoes.

A gust of air puffed around her and the steel box was gone. She stood in a patch of tall grass under an October morning sky. The caravan of scientists, technicians and reporters had vanished from the field where they’d set up camp. Louise inhaled with wonder that the time machine had worked. Assuming that this was 1905, of course – the year of her birth and the bottom limit to her time traveling range. Even with all the preparation for this trip, it baffled her sense of the order of things to be standing there.


Edited to add August 25th: Whoops! If you are looking for Grandmas’s recipes, I linked to the wrong page.

104 years old

My grandmother is 104 years old today. She is just as sharp and together as always. She’s cracking jokes and having a grand old time today. My cousin called from Badgdad, which I think is farther away than any of her other birthday wishes.

For those of you who read Born in 1905, yes, that’s my grandma.

Grandma’s Pear Relish recipe

  • 4 cups chopped pears
  • 3 large red peppers
  • 3 large green peppers
  • 1/2 lb. chopped onions (about 1 1/2 cups or 3 medium onions)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup vinegar

Grind or grate each of the first four ingredients into a collander and let drain. Put them in a heavy sauce pan with the remaining ingredients, mix them thoroughly, and cook ten minutes. The recipe makes 2 to 3 pints.

Back from Grandma’s

Well, twitter was supposed to post here automatically while I was gone, but alas, did not.

Grandma is doing great. She’s moving about as well as she did pre-surgery. This morning she got up and got dressed and then we all sat at the kitchen table for breakfast.

Things I learned while there.

  1. One of my uncles was afflicted with night terrors.
  2. One of Grandma’s aunts had a daughter, but from the time she was born they knew something wasn’t quite right. A year later they made a tiny cut and a boy’s privates fell out. She said that it was like they had a funeral for their little girl because they had all of these girl clothes and suddenly they had a little boy.
  3. The local FOX affiliate is hosted by a zombie

I’m heading back over tonight with Mom.

Heading to Grandma’s and offline

I’m heading over to Grandma’s house later tonight where I will have no internet. Gasp! How will I survive?

Well, I’m taking the laptop so I can get some work done and also my handy cellphone so I can twitter away if anything interesting happens.

Grandma is discharged and at home!

Much rejoicing abounds. They sent Grandma home at 6:00 tonight. I just talked to her on the phone and she sounds great. She said that it’s so much more comfortable being there than in the hospital.

Mom said that Grandma walked into the house under her own power with just a little bit of steadying help. This includes going up three steps, so that’s a great thing. I’m spending the night there tomorrow and Wednesday nights.