Tonight was my husbands birthday. My mother in law came up and celebrated with us. She hasn't been able to for many years because she was my husbands grandmother's caretaker. Gram had been bedridden for the past few years. My mother in law Linda took such amazing care of her, she was so selfless in doing so and in doing so she wasn't able to visit with us too much. We went and visited there. It was nice to have her here with us. Gram just passed away this September. She would have been 86. My mother in law is having a hard time and is still in the process of grieving. Gram was her life and it's hard being in the house without her. So we were happy tonight that she was able to be with us and get away for a while.
My husband and I started dating when we were seniors in high school. We dated for 5 years and have now been married for 20. When we were dating, my husband ( boyfriend at time ) knew how I liked old houses and stuff. He said his grandparents had an old victorian home in western Pennsylvania. He always talked so lovingly of them and their home. How their home was his safe haven and how it was just peace and comfort for him. He told me of how great his gram cooked and how when he lived with them once for 3 months, that she cooked so good he gained 30 pounds in those 3 months.
So the first time he asked me if I'd like to take a vacation with him and stay at their home - I couldn't wait. I really wanted to meet them, meet the two people I had heard so much about and felt like I already knew. It took a lot of begging to my father to allow me to go. I begged my mom to help me and finally he allowed it because we would be staying at their home. Daddy was strict and old fashioned. I wouldn't have asked to go on a vacation alone somewhere with my boyfriend. I respected my dad and knew his wishes but this was different. I wanted to meet my boyfriends family and we'd be staying in their home, not by ourselves somewhere. Daddy said yes - finally.
The ride was long from Staten Island, it took 5 to 6 hours to get there. When we hit their town, I loved it. It was so different from where I was from and I liked that.
When I saw their home, I fell more in love with it. It had a huge wrap around porch, it was a main street victorian. It was really lovely. Then I met them, gram and pap, and I fell in love with them. They were so kind and easy going. Pap was so gentle and kind and never raised his voice. He was a mellow man. And gram was great. We would sit on the porch and talk for hours. We stayed up late just talking. Marc (hubby) would tell me that he did that when he went there and now I knew what it was like. He used to tell me, I don't have to do anything or go anywhere while I'm there and it's the greatest thing. I understood that now.
Grams cooking was amazing. First time ever I had ham loaf. I had never even heard of it. It was non existent from where I was from. Marc always talked about the famous ham loaf. I was from a big Italian family and we ate Italian food, so it was such a treat to have grams country cooking.
Gram did everything, she decorated so beautifully, she was ahead of her time that's for sure. She was upcycling furniture back then. She crafted and sewed so beautifully. I admired her many talents. I wish I had them. I didn't grow up doing any of what she did. I wish I lived by her, I'd have loved for her to teach me. She canned and made delicious jams and her apple butter was awesome.
After spending the week with them, I felt like they were my grandparents too. I hated leaving there. I never felt so relaxed and I finally experienced all those wonderful things and feelings that Marc always told me about. It was hard leaving them. I got choked up. From then on we took a vacation there every year and when we were married too. My husband never liked that they lived so far away so when we had our visits we soaked it all in. It was always special.
Pap passed away a year or two after our son was born. Gram moved down to Jersey with my mother in law and she remained there for the last 11 years of her life.
Tonight when my mother in law came up she said she had some things for me. Things of grams. She gave me her clothespin bag and it was filled with her clothespins that she used when she lived back in Pennsylvania. I had just ordered off of Etsy a clothespin bag and a bunch of clothespins and just received them last week. Grams were the regular kind but had a few of the roundhead pins. I emptied the pins I had in the Ball jar into the big jug back and the few of grams roundhead ones I put back in this Ball jar. Even though they are just clothes pins, they are special because they were grams. I was so touched that my mother in law gave them to me. She said she and Aunt Dee knew I'd love them and they were right. I do love them and will love them. Grams pins :)
Grams family grew up on a farm. Her grandparents and aunt lived there. My husband took me out there once to see the farmhouse on a visit. No one lived in it anymore. It was on 100 acres. It was a stone farmhouse. It was beautiful. When I first visited there were still things there but then it was vandalized and they stole so much. Gram used to tell us stories of life out at the farm. I always enjoyed listening to her stories.
These nightgowns, shirt and dresses belonged to grams family members who lived on the farm. She saved them all these years and my mother in law gave them to me tonight. It really touched me. I was so appreciative to receive them. I had been contemplating getting rid of this shelf or maybe paint it. I never filled up those pegs. I usually would have 3 things on it but tonight I filled the pegs up. It's like those family items were meant for it. I just took them out of the washing machine and hung them. Now I have to buy myself some vintage hangers to go with them.
This shirt is so delicate.
I love the design on this. I wonder which family member wore it.
Isn't this so pretty? So delicate.
This yellow dress is so pretty. I wish I could wear it but I have to lose a bit of weight to do that.
Another very delicate piece.
Mom also gave me this. She thought I would like it, she was right. She's happy that I will enjoy it. I have never seen one of these before.
This bottle below is so cool. I actually have a newer one from a few years ago that my husbands cousin gave us that was from Germany. He lived there for a while and came back with it and it was filled with a flavored liquor. I'm not much of a drinker but I tasted that and it was delicious. So now that I see an original bottle and where they got the design from, this is really cool.
I washed it but now I can't get it dry inside. I even tried blowdrying it and it didn't work.
Such a cool salt crock.
Here is a black dress or navy blue, I can't quite tell. I loved the buttons on this one.
This is grandma Dorothy as a young woman. And below is her about 10 years ago. The way I'd like to remember her. The way she was her best.
Until we meet again.... loving and remembering you always.