If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our April author interviews: Perennial author Susan Wittig Albert--4/5, Sasscer Hill, horse racing insider--4/12, English historical, cozy author, TE Kinsey--4/19, Debut author, Susan Bickford--4/26.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in April: Heather Baker Weidner (4/1), Christina Hoag (4/8), Susan Boles (4/29). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 4/15--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 4/22--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th. In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

My Grandma Jones

Taken on my trip to Canada with her.

               I saw Grandma’s face yesterday.
               I often get a glimpse of Dad,
               a certain twist of the mouth
               or mom’s smile, blue eyes like mine.
               But it was the first time I saw Grandma,
               tiny farm woman in shapeless cotton dress,
               with apron and sagging stockings.
               I liked to watch her brush long, thin, gray hair
               then twist it back into a bun.
               I remember her careful steps down the walk
               to gather eggs, with dancing little side kicks
               dispatching chicken droppings to the grass.
               Grandpa ignored her pleas to fix the chicken run.
               We’d giggle when she’d call him the old poop deck.
               Grandma walked to the woods early summer mornings,
               built a small fire to boil water for coffee,
               and took down a cast iron skillet hanging on a tree
               to fry a few strips of bacon and one egg
               fresh from the hen house, its yolk like the sun.
               After eating she’d replace the skillet
               and use the dented old coffee pot
               for picking tart and juicy blackberries,
               warm and fragrant with bees hovering around.
               I smile thinking of Grandma’s baking,
               her lemon cookies with large chunks
               of lemon rind and burnt on the bottom,
               and blackberry pies with soggy bottom crusts.
               Grandpa had a new car every few years
               while Grandma had the same stove forever.
               She didn’t eat much, a taste of this,
               a nibble of that, a half dozen peas on her plate.
               Grandma played “Rock of Ages”
               on an old piano, scarred keys, out of tune.
               Once she showed us a French cancan dance
               She’d seen on their new TV,
               kicking up her slippered feet, laughing.
               Grandma kept jelly jars on her windowsill
               filled with four leaf clovers for good luck.
               After the first shock, I decided it’s not so bad
               seeing Grandma in my mirror.
 
Blackberries like Grandma and I picked
Just before the end of May, I sent my annual submission of poetry to the Ohio Poetry Day Contests. I only submitted ten this year to the close to thirty contests because I’d delayed to long in writing any new ones. The above one was written after last year’s contest.

Many people have important roles in our life on what kind of person we become. Some people unfortunately, don’t have many if any positive role models, but I was fortunate enough to have only positive ones, and Grandma Jones was one. My other grandma died when I was five years old.
Not my grandparents' farm but what it looked like

I grew up next to my grandparents’ farm that was on both sides of the road. I had an aunt and uncle and two cousins who lived across the street, and not too far away another aunt and uncle with their four children lived within easy walking distance. My cousins and I spent a lot of time roaming the fields and woods of the farm. The last cow was sold when I was quite young, but Grandpa still farmed the fields with corn and wheat. When bales of hay were put up in the hay mow in the upstairs of the barn and piled outside of the barn, we played in there. Some years big draft horses were brought in to use when harvesting the wheat. I enjoyed that because it took several days so the horses were put in stalls in the barn, and I loved horses.

We also spent a lot of time with Grandma. She was so much fun and quite annoying to Grandpa because he had twice a week delivery of bread, doughnuts and other pastries, and often she’d share those treats with the grandchildren and there would be little or none when he came home.
I'm still don't like them.

As the poem mentioned, Grandma was a thin little woman, who ate very little. Breakfast usually consisted of a doughnut and a cup of coffee. She also had a cupboard full of over the counter medications like laxatives and who knows what else. It wasn’t anything we kids were interested in. However, once I went to Canada with Grandma and Grandpa on a fishing trip. As we got close to the lake where we’d be staying in a cabin, she offered me some chewing gum. I was about twelve years old then, and I took some. I had no idea it was a laxative That year there were tent caterpillars everywhere including in the outhouse.  I’ll never forget that first nightly trip to the outhouse scared to death I’d sit on one of those caterpillars.
This looks like where we used to fish.

Although Grandma liked to fish, it was never from a boat, but usually beside the Grand River a ways north of us or on a dock. She didn’t often go to Canada fishing because mostly Grandpa went with his fishing buddies. Sometimes I went with my grandparents when they fished at the Grand River about ten miles away, but the mosquitoes bothered me so much, I didn’t go often.

When we’d like a little extra money for something, Grandma would fish in Grandpa’s pockets for change, and she’d give it to us in exchange for a little work like washing a window or two.
Once I dug up a sapling in the woods, and she bought it from me. I doubt that she ever planted it.

In the winters, Grandma sat in a chair with her feet on the heat register and the chimney from the furnace in front of her. She’d read her magazines or newspapers there and clip out pictures or articles and using thumb tacks put them on the wall all around her chair. Even though I don’t stick things on the wall, maybe that’s where I got the habit of clipping out things that interest me from the newspaper.

Grandma was tiny, but she was fearless, too. One night while Grandpa was in Canada, a teenage boy came peeking in her window. He wasn’t a small teenager, either. She took a broom and went out and chased him off.
Can you picture the woman at the top trying this?

All her grandchildren who lived within easy walking distance of the farm have wonderful memories of Grandma Jones, at least those who are still living. I know my siblings and I do, and because of her, we don’t obsess about how we look or being a little different. If I hear a lively tune on the radio, I dance all by myself and picture Grandma dancing the cancan and laughing.


Henny Penny likes to follow me around

And when my little hen, which refuses to stay with the big hens in the coop, leaves droppings on my sidewalk, I think of Grandma doing what my brother called the Teaberry Shuffle
going down her sidewalk and with a sideways kick, she'd kick those droppings off to the side.

What do you remember about your grandparents?




10 comments:

Ann G said...

What wonderful memories!

I was very much my grandad's girl when I was little. I spent hours in the garden with him. I especially remember the day he put new glass into the windows of the shed and he taught me how to use putty to fix it in place.

He used to sometimes bring home bacon ribs from the market, and he would cook them up in a big pot on the stove. The rest of the family were very faddy about food and wouldn't do anything so uncouth as eat with their fingers. So me and my grandad would sit infront of the fire gnawing the meat off the bones and then tossing the bones into the pot - while my grandma would watch disapprovingly

She did used to take me blackberrying though - and she made lovely blackberry pies. As well as the local speciality - Lancashire Potato Pie - minced beef, with cubed potatoes and onions in a gravy in a deep pot, rather like a plant pot, topped with a pastry lid.

And she had an electric organ, on which she played hymns fist thing in the morning. In summer we would wake up very early to the sound of Abide with Me, or When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Gloria.

Gloria Alden said...

Ann, what wonderful memories you have of your grandparents. I didn't write much about my grandfather, but I remember the first time he gave any of us a Christmas present, it was too me when I was fourteen years old - a pair of black jeans. I was the first one in my school to have black jeans, but soon they became popular. I have a feeling it was my grandma's idea that he buy them for me, but maybe not.

Kait said...

What wonderful memories to have, Gloria. My mother's parents died before I was born, but her maternal grandparents were living and were a great part of my life as a child. My great-grandparents were French and owned a farm in upstate NY. Very rustic with few improvements made from before the turn of the century when they first married and established the farm. I can still cook in a coal stove, know how to hand pump water, remember the coolness of the runoff from the icebox flowing over my feet on a hot summer day and fearing the hole in the outhouse as a little child (it was bigger than my bottom). I can milk a cow and know that I don't like chickens much based on what I learned from them. I can also remember the unique great grandmother smell of flour and sugar and yeast with a slight hint of lavender. The scent permeated the house. And my great grandfather taught us the confidence to handle big animals (cows and horses) and compassion. All his field horses were blind. We didn't know that was all he could afford, we thought he was saving them.

My Dad's parents were German's via Bavaria. Both were great dumplings of people who taught me to be thrifty and industrious and to love with all my heart. I think of them especially at Christmas time when I'm up to my elbows in cookie dough making traditional German cookies and I remember my grandmother sending us down to my grandfather's store to "shop" for the supplies.

Jim Jackson said...

I too only had one set of grandparents. Fortunately, they lived until I was well past growing up so I was able to know them as both a child and as an adult.

Margaret Turkevich said...

My California grandma was a champion gardener, able to entice hummingbirds to sit on her finger. I remember her Christmas box, with shelled walnuts, dried money plant, and dresses she'd made for each of us.

I'm using memories of my Cape Cod grandparents in a historical story.

KM Rockwood said...

My best memories of my grandmother were when I helped her make Christmas cookies. She'd start calling me "Barbara," which was the name of one of her daughters. I grew to like that name so much, I named my first daughter, Barbara.

Warren Bull said...

When I was a child the best week of the summer was the week I spent with my grandparents.

Shari Randall said...

I remember sitting at the feet of my paternal grandmother, who taught me to knit. I'd knit and she'd drink her sherry. I always got such a kick out of Grandma's special drink having the same name as me! She also taught us all to swim in their big back yard pool. My grandpa wasn't as big on kids, but he'd play songs on his piano for us.
My mom's parents passed when I was very young, but I still remember my Nonna chasing after me, and her laughter when she caught me. My mom often said I'd tell her about games Nonna and I played, years after Nonna passed away. I think it spooked my mom a bit.

E. B. Davis said...

My grandmother liked her sherry, too, Shari! Being at my grandparents house meant seeing and playing with my cousins--which I loved. I think I inherited my grandmother's love of reading fiction.

Gloria Alden said...


Jim, at least you had one set of grandparents. My other grandmother died young, and my other grandfather eventually remarried and moved to Florida, so I didn't know him well only what I knew from what his children told us.

Margaret, you probably learned something from your grandmother. I think it's cool that you're writing an historical about your Cape Cod grandparents.

What a nice memory, KM. None of my grandchildren will remember me from my baking with them.

Warren, what good memories that must be. Fortunately, I lived next to me grandparents so we were with them all the time.

Shari, it's good you have fond memories of your grandmothers even the one who passed away when you were still young.

E.B. anyone who can create a love of fiction has to be special. Being with cousins is good, too. Even though my Father's mother passed when I was young, often we met at their home because my oldest aunt lived there later and lots of cousins came to corn roasts in the summer or Christmas night get togethers.