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zensky's avatar

Have you an anecdote about a favourite grandparent who passed on?

Asked by zensky (13357points) January 3rd, 2013

Something he said, something she used to do.
Something he cooked or she baked.
A special place, a memory.

Missing mine.

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37 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

My grandfather was hard of hearing. He lived with us from the time I was ten.

One time I’d gone backpacking and was gone for a week. When we got to civilization, I called home from a pay phone. My grandfather answered the phone.

Grandpa: Peter’s not home!
Grandpa: Peter’s not home!
Grandpa: No, Mom didn’t call Peter, Peter’s not home!

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

I remember watching my Nana use a small washboard to launder her underthings in her bathroom sink, then she’d hang them on a drying rack in the bathtub.

Nana was very well-set and had a maid to do all of her housework. But, this was one task that she always did herself, and by hand. Years later, I learned that:

(1) Early-model washing machines were very rough. Ladies’ undergarments were too delicate to put in the washer—they’d tear or fall apart—so they had to be hand-washed. Habits aren’t easy to break, so plenty of women from Nana’s generation hand-laundered their underthings for the rest of their lives.

(2) A lady would never have told her maid to do this task. Underwear was too personal and intimate, and it would have been a demeaning indignity to force someone else to wash it. Respect and good manners required the lady to take care of her most personal laundry.

ucme's avatar

Whenever I went over my grandparents house i’d ask for a little pocket money, I normally got this anyway but just in case they forgot. My grandma told me that if you ask you don’t get, so I stopped asking & I still never got…gee thanks grandma, bless your soul!

cazzie's avatar

My mother’s father was a poor man from a poor family but graduated top equal in his high school class and was asked to give a valedictorian speech. He was much to shy, so instead, he played his violin, and, the story goes, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when he finished. Later years, he used his violin, or ‘fiddle’ as entertainment for us grand kids by playing silly songs for us. He was a barber during the depression and it was really hard times for him and his wife and kids. My mom remembers one year, Christmas consisted of a jar of pennies being tossed on the living room floor and the kids chasing after them.

This same grandpa once shaved Al Capone. Capone and Co. were taking a trip up north of Chicago, perhaps some sort of still-run or some sort of Canadian Whiskey connection, we don’t know, but he stopped at the hotel where my grandfather had his shop. Grandpa shaved him with a strait razor. Imagine if he had slipped? :-O

tom_g's avatar

I have a real boring one…My grandmother used to make cookies (it was a twist on a traditional cookie) every year for xmas. I absolutely loved them, and nobody else ate them. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized she continued to make them just for me. Every year, she’d make those cookies – she would even send them to me when I was at college or across the country.

When she died, I was given her handwritten recipe for those cookies, and have made them every xmas. I now make them with my kids.

KNOWITALL's avatar

My grandparents were so good, so loving, and since my mom drank a lot, I spent a lot of time with them.

Grandpa taught me to shoot his .22, go fishing, how to build benches, etc…he was an avid golfer, walker, snooker player, and helped liberate concentration camps.

Grandma never learned to drive, she was Cherokee Indian and had a big temper, and loved to go to garage sales and loved music. She had a really tough start in life and I loved her very very much.

RandomGirl's avatar

Three of my grandparents died before I was really old enough to remember anything about them, and the one who’s still around is very active, despite his ripe old age of 93 (almost 94!). He doesn’t drive any more, so instead, he walks everywhere. One time in mid-July a few years ago, it was going to be very hot all day. He wanted to spend the day at the community center across town, though, so at 6 am he walked over there and had breakfast, before it got hot. My mom tried all day to get a hold of him, calling his apartment. Around 3 pm she started freaking out that something had happened to him (perfectly logical). She hopped in the car and drove over there, only to arrive at the same time as he was walking back from the senior center. Ever since that day, grampa has carried a cell phone. He’s one of the few in his assisted living building to own one. It’s really funny.

RandomGirl's avatar

@tom_g: That’s beautiful. Do your kids know the story?

tom_g's avatar

@RandomGirl – Yep. This xmas my son actually asked when we were going to make those cookies that “your nana used to make.” To me, it was the best kind of gift. She was an amazing woman who gave so much. These damn cookies are the best xmas present I get every year. Still.

gailcalled's avatar

My paternal grandfather carried his culinary habits to the Bronx from his schtetl in Lithuania. Breakfast was always a chunk of kosher salami, a dill pickle and a shot glass of schnapps, which I believe is brandy.

He also served his tea in a glass on a saucer. He poured some tea into the saucer to cool it, put a piece of rock sugar between his teeth and zlurped the tea from the saucer over the rock sugar. As a little girl, I was mesmerized.

Shippy's avatar

I only ever knew my Granny, and she made the best fish ‘n chips.

Seek's avatar

I had a tiny little old Irish Catholic grandmother. My father was adopted by her when her own children were grown, so she was well into her 70s when I knew her as a child of 6 or 7 years old.

We would sit on her porch and drink tea together, milk in mine, sugar in hers, dipping in butter cookies that came in a tin. And Marmalade sandwiches! Just like Paddington Bear.

I learned later that she had Dementia and, while she was still living on her own, Dad had disconnected her stove and oven so she didn’t accidentally forget and burn the house down. All of her meals were prepared in a microwave or toaster oven.

She was the first to introduce the idea of playing with your food to my brother and me. He was a notoriously picky eater, but mashed sweet potatoes become much tastier if you mold them into houses or volcanoes first, with corn “lava”.

Also, she was proud as punch when she found out I was going to play in the high school production of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians. Huge fan of Christie novels, she was.

ucme's avatar

Not an anecdote, but granny always made me laugh, this is what i’ll remember her for most fondly.

marinelife's avatar

My grandfather used to take us fishing with bamboo poles in ponds. Once time he took my sister and I while my brother got to go out in the boat with my dad and uncle. We just got to fish from the bank. We had caught one little sunfish. My grandfather hooked him through the gill and put him on a line to stay in the water. My sister and i got tired of fishing and were playing with the fish who flapped off the line back toward the water. My grandfather went to catch him and sat down in the shallow water with the fish in his hands. We thought that was hysterical.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

My father’s father grew up in an orphanage with his brother and sister. They had just each other and nothing else. He grew up and got established as a dairy farmer by the time me,my sister and brother showed up on the scene. He loved to have family around all the time, so every summer weekend was always a big picnic dinner with everyone in attendance. If someone stopped to see him about business or anything else, they got invited to join in. My grandmother always said she never knew how many places to set at the table. And for birthdays, it was always a big party with everyone involved. And he always bought presents for all the kids, not just the birthday person. In the winter he loved to take the snowmobiles out with everyone and have a cookout outside. The food always tasted so good. Chili or stew or anything that could be warmed over a fire. Or he would take the snowmobiles and everyone to visit with friends and family at their homes. He just loved people.

flutherother's avatar

My grandfather made his own toffee. He boiled it in a large pan then poured it into flat metal trays to cool. There were two kinds, plain toffee and toffee with pieces of coconut in it. When it had set he smashed it into pieces with a small hammer. We would be asked if we wanted a piece of toffee and of course we would say yes. The toffee was kept in the top right hand drawer of a large dark chest of drawers. I always chose the biggest piece I could find which was often too big for my mouth. The sharp corners pressed against my cheeks. I haven’t tasted that toffee in a long, long time.

burntbonez's avatar

My grandfather used to do double-acrostic puzzles in his head. He’d solve them, and then pass the puzzle book on to his brother.

I don’t even know what double acrostics are.

gailcalled's avatar

@flutherother; It’s easy to make. Want a recipe? It is delicious and still guaranteed to pull out your fillings if you aren’t careful. You can add peanuts or walnuts to mix.

Coloma's avatar

My great grandmother passed away in 1982 at almost 98 years old. She was born a 7 month, 2 lb. preemie in a farmhouse in Indiana in 1885 and lived to almost 100!
She was AMAZING! Walked several miles daily and mowed her own yard with a push mower and lived independently until the last 6 months of her life when she experienced kidney failure.

She was my beloved gramma and baked the BEST cookies and everything from scratch. She told me stories of riding to school on her horse with a friend that also lived to almost her age and they remained in touch for over 90 years, with alternating visits between California and Indiana. My grandmother was mugged by two teenage purse snatchers on a motorbike when she was 95 walking home from the store and she didn’t let go of her purse. They knocked her down and she was scraped and bruised but BY GOD, they didn’t get her purse!

She was truly a remarkable woman and great role model, I should be so lucky!
Oh..and she attributed her longevity to eating red meat 3x a day…those hearty, down on the farm meals. haha

wundayatta's avatar

My grandmother used to grow pot in her back yard in the seventies. My aunt used to invite friends over and they’d all smoke together. She was my cool grandmother.

Brian1946's avatar

One of my favorite deceased grandparents is Roberto Zimmerman’s grandfather.
Here’s what he wrote about him:

Grandpa died last week
And now he’s buried in the rocks
But everybody still talks about
How badly they were shocked
But me, I expected it to happen
I knew he’d lost control
When he built a fire on Main Street
And shot it full of holes

flutherother's avatar

@gailcalled Thanks. Send it to me if you don’t mind. I don’t think my grandfather ever wrote the recipe down. I’ll put my dentist on standby.

Strauss's avatar

My paternal grandmother came to the US when a child. I remember fondly sitting with her and listening to her story of her trip:

Apparently, her father had come to the US several years earlier. Her mother was a cook for what Grandma called “royalty” (I believe the gentry of the 19th century Austro-Hungarian Empire). At any rate, Grandma, at age 6, accompanied her mother to the US to find her father.

She remembered the long voyage on the ship, the long lines and delays in New York, and the train ride to the Chicago area. While the train passed along some houses, she saw an old black woman sitting on the porch, smoking a pipe. Grandma said she had never seen a black person, let alone a black woman smoking, and she thought she was seeing the Devil!

When they finally got to the industrial town where her father was, they found that her father was with another woman, and there was another little girl!. Needless to say, Grandma was heartbroken.

She was eventually married (at age 14) in 1896, had 13 children (one died as an infant). When she passed in 1978, she had over 100 direct descendants.

Sunny2's avatar

My paternal grandmother was tall and carried herself with a very straight back. She made home made grape juice, which I loved. She once served me marshmallows and apologized that they were a bit stale. I politely said I liked stale marshmallows. Thereafter, she’d save them for me and, when I visited, gave me rock hard marshmallows. I softened them them down with grape juice.

My maternal grandmother was a tease. She told me she had 6 toes on one foot, but I never remembered to check when she had her shoes off. She also told me she had a horse which she kept under her bed. The horse was always away when I thought to ask about it. She took me to see musicals and fostered my love of theater and music.

mazingerz88's avatar

I’ve always been scared of the idea of seeing ghosts. Since I was kid, until now in my 40s. But when I was in my early 20’s and my grandfather died, I kept wishing his ghost would appear and that I really wouldn’t mind.

Linda_Owl's avatar

My Grandfather tried to enlist in the Military during WWI, however he was turned down. Fortunately he managed to sign on to a Troop ship that was carrying troops to Europe (he had a degree in Accounting & he signed on as Paymaster). During WWI, the Military was still using Calvary horses, so the ship was carrying the troops & the horses & the saddles & bridles & blankets for the horses. So my Grandfather decided to smuggle bottles of whiskey in the horse equipment & he made a very tidy sum of money for the alcohol. (My Grandfather was highly unconventional !)

gailcalled's avatar


Here’s one for toffee

And a similar one for peanut brittle

Your grandfather may have made his by-guess-and-by-golly, but if you are a novice, do get yourself a candy thermometer. The pros guess the temperature by dropping a little of the hot sugar syrup into cold water and then analyzing the shape, but unless you are Jacques Pépin, that is risky.

The stuff is delicious and will last forever in a tin in the tridge.

Coloma's avatar

Oh my salivary glands are watering over that Toffee recipe but my crowns are a fear’in it.

SuperMouse's avatar

At her core my grandmother was a plain old mid western girl. She was transplanted to Southern California and hobnobbed among the glitz and glamor of Hollywood while my grandfather was an executive at a top movie studio from the 1950’s through the early 1980’s. While she dressed up and attended the Oscars and hoity toity dinner parties with my grandfather, until they day she died my grandmother never put on airs and was completely unaffected by the company she kept. She never did learn to chew gum with her mouth closed and always sounded (as she put it) like a “cow chewing its cud.” She shopped at second hand stores and her friends gleefully took pictures as she climbed into a dumpster to retrieve perfectly good unopened boxes of business envelopes that had been thrown away.

My favorite story about Grandmother happened on our trip to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. That woman had something awful to say about Ron and Nancy at every stop throughout that museum and was completely unaware of the gasps that each of her comments caused as we viewed the exhibits. It was a wonderful day!

My grandfather is still alive. He is 96 and my husband and I love to visit and hear stories of his travels around the world, lots of great tales of old Hollywood, and of course stories about the lady he was married to for nearly 70 years. Apparently he thought quite a lot of Gregory Peck and had very little time for several well known stars who had rather large egos. God I love my grandfather.

mazingerz88's avatar

^^ Supergrandma mouse and grandpa mouse indeed. : )

rojo's avatar

My family moved to the US when I was ten. My contact with my grandparents was severely limited. I would guess I saw my grandmothers three times after the move.
What I remember from the last time I saw my grandmother was how moved she was to see me. I remember she reached out and touched my cheek and with tears on her cheeks said how I looked exactly like my grandfather. It was so emotional I do not remember the rest of the visit but I still remember the look of that grand lady lying in that hospital bed and holding fast onto my hand.

flutherother's avatar

@gailcalled Thanks for that. Reading the recipe brought back the smell of toffee cooking in my grandfather’s kitchen.

gailcalled's avatar

@flutherother: If you have never made candy, it is fun to try at least once.

Coloma's avatar

I attempted to make orange taffy once, followed the recipe to a “T”. It included using orange juice and I do not know what went wrong with the chemistry, but…I ended up with a ball of sticky slop the size of my head. Epic fail! haha

mattbrowne's avatar

My grandmother told me that she secretly loathed Hitler’s incessant hate-filled shouting from the Volksempfänger (people’s radio). She didn’t share her feelings with my mother, aunt and uncle, because when kids talk at school to other kids some fanatical Nazi might learn of this and report it.

flutherother's avatar

@mattbrowne I wonder how many others secretly loathed it?

mattbrowne's avatar

@flutherother – Good question and historians haven’t reached an agreement here. Here’s one estimate

10% fully committed to Nazi ideology
30% opportunists using Nazi connections for personal gain
40% indifferent people struggling through daily life dealing with Nazis only when it couldn’t be avoided
15% secretly loathing the Nazis without speaking out or taking any action
4% secretly taking actions undermining Nazi policies without speaking out
1% openly speaking out against Nazi policies or even organizing resistance

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