Sunday, November 22, 2009

Grandma Julia - Sentimental Sunday No. 35

I didn’t know my Grandma Julia very well. I don’t really know what she liked or much of what her life was like. Here’s what I do know –

She was my father’s mother. I’ve written about her before; she worked for years at See’s Candy. Julia was only four when her mother passed away. She was raised by her grandmother Mary; she called her Ma. Mary Miner worked as a cook at the Harvey Houses along the train line. I have a huge cast iron skillet that belonged to her. And, although I never got to meet her, she died in 1939, I think of her any time I use that skillet.

Grandma Julia married John Porter when she was barely 16. I wish I knew how they met. It was 1918; my dad was born about 10 months later. She and Pop didn’t get along very well and they divorced after my Dad was grown. They both remarried – which made me a pretty lucky little girl when I was growing up. I had FOUR sets of grandparents (because my Mom’s parents divorced too) that all wanted to “out do” each other when it came to gift giving. Yes, I was a trifle spoiled.
Grandpa Carl & Grandma Julia - my favorite picture of them.
I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Grandma Julia when I was growing up. She and Grandpa Carl didn’t live extremely close, but we always spent the holidays together. Thanksgiving was a time that we would go to their house; I got to ride my horse when we were there. She had a huge love for all types of animals, including two large funny parrots that talked and sang. I was always entertained by them.

Grandma Julia baked delicious pies – custard and pumpkin. My dad LOVED them, and he always got his own smaller individual pie that she would bake especially for her son. She also made amazing potato salad, which we all loved. Fortunately for me, I have her pie recipes and potato salad recipe. She shared them with my Mom (who probably “tweaked” them slightly) and my Mom passed them on to me.

Unfortunately Grandma Julia didn't seem like a very happy lady. I don’t recall her really showing me much affection or saying "I Love You"- except towards the end. She let me know, in her own way, that she was proud of me and that she loved and appreciated me. And those few minutes, when I was alone with her in that hospital room, are the happiest and most cherished memory I have of her. Just a few days later, she was gone. I was 14.

I wish that she could have had a happier life and could have shared more joy and love with us. I don’t know exactly what happened to her that made her so unhappy, but I think it’s safe to assume that she had a lot of hardships and that was reflective in her behavior. I know that she was affectionate to my Dad when he was growing up. He loved his mother – but he readily admitted that he didn’t REALLY know what love was until he met my Mom and her Mom, my Grandma Maurine. Grandma Maurine was the embodiment of love, kindness and giving. She was an amazing lady. And, while Julia didn’t often display any of those characteristics, I’m thankful that she was here on this earth. I'm thankful that she was my Grandmother, and that I had an opportunity to know her – however briefly. She was my father’s mother – and I’ll always be grateful to her for that!


laura said...

What a lovely tribute and you're so lucky to have her recipes!

Columbo said...

Nice posting on Grandma Julia.

Patty said...

Very nice post about your Grandmother.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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