Wednesday, September 24, 2008

sampler of love

PvE childhood embroidery sample.
I found this embroidery while organizing a drawer.  I had made this for my Grandmother when I was a little girl which she had proudly displayed in her kitchen.  She lived in a simple home with a lovely property full of fruit trees in the back behind the garage.  I remember running through it with my sisters and brothers.  I remember those metal chairs on the lawn and her Sunday Suppers.  My Grandmother had nine children and she loved to serve them and the Lord.  
Grandma, "corn lady" at work in her 90's!
She worked up until she was in her 90's standing on her feet all day long at my Dad's Fruit market. The customers loved her.   She wore hand-made dresses with aprons and lace up heeled Grandma shoes and her hair was always up. She would wait in her ever so pale green kitchen for me to come and drive her to work.  The designated driver had to have her at work by eight am and not a minute late.  I would arrive and see her sitting at the window ready.  She loved to work and to serve.  My eldest brother was the manager and she loved working for him. She always said he reminded her of her late husband John. (My Grandpa)

 cherished letter written to me, on steno from my Grandmother 1987
On my wedding day - my husband and I visited her in the hospital because she had fallen and hurt her hip.  My brother Paul drove us in a "Rolls-Royce" that a customer wanted us to borrow for the day.  When we arrived, my Grandmother only had eyes for my brother.  I called my Mother from the honey-moon in Europe and said,"Grandma did not even look at me, did she even see me?"  My Mother replied, "Oh yes, she did, she thought your dress needed some lace."  I invite you to return on friday as I plan to show you my wedding dress.

Sunday Suppers were at Grandma's home, heaping bowls of comfort foods.  Bowls full of fried chicken, lima beans, mashed potatoes and fresh butter and rolls.  She also made this orange Jello with grated carrots that was my favorite.  Cooking all day and never even sitting to taste, she would just keep filling up the bowls and serving us samples of her love.  Her favorite was making Angel Food Cake for us and cookies, black walnut cookies.

Now, I am a mother and an artist and this sampler holds a special memory for me.  I am now serving my family and my friends with my art and often my cooking too.  What a blessing to have a Grandmother to instill the value of hard work, all stemming from doing what you love.
Sometimes we have to sample things to find out what we really love.  What is your "sampler of love?" 


CC said...

Oh,'ve pulled on my heartstrings! Your memories have a similar tone to the ones that I share from my dearly loved grandmother (maw-maw as I called her).

I have to say, cooking in a common thread in our family. It's something we all love to do and we all love to gather and eat and visit. After dealing with Ike....Appreciating the simple things in life are forefront for me. As Bob Hope would say, "Thanks for the memories!" What a great way to start my day. :)


Kwana said...

Love this post Patricia. Your Grandmother reminds me a lot of Nana with all her cooking. You must make those Black walnut cookies! I do try and capture some of Nana's magic when I can with my cooking sometimes and I do a bit with my knitting.

pve design said...

both our grandma's broke the mold.
you would have loved my grandma, for having only a 3rd grade education, she was smarter than most folks.
she knew about raising a family, and gardening and turning a house into a home.
some things just can't be taught.

Ina in Alaska said...

Thank you for your lovely memories. I too love that orange jello with carrots! Your comments made me recall going to visit my Dad's aunts in Brooklyn NY and their special marinara sauce with sausage and meatballs over pasta If we had any more room, we enjoyed macaroons and espresso.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

I loved your beautiful story :-) I'm always jealous when I hear stories from big families as mine is as small as you could imagine! Neither of my grandmas liked to cook - but I remember my paternal grandmother loved to chat, gossip and parties. Although she was too old when I was a kid to be active (she was in her 80s already!) she loved to watch people dance, 'modern' music and talk about her days of partying when she was young! I never saw her without full makeup and a pretty dress; a holdout from her younger days!

Dianne said...

I am really enjoying the look into your life you have given us the past few days.It's wonderful to see what has inspired you as an artist and person. So interesting. Thank you!

Joyce said...

Patricia- a flood of memories this morning... What a beautiful piece you wrote about your grandmother. You know the old saying the "apple doesn't fall far from the tree"!

I too have wonderful memories of my grandmom and our family gatherings growing up. Food and desserts would always overflow! We never had one dessert (all made from scratch) I think my grandmom created the dessert table! I carry on the tradition by making everyone that comes to our home feel special.
I love that you kept her letter! I keep all cards and letters given to me. Family/friends chuckle since I don't like clutter, but these cards and letter are all stacked in containers tied with beautiful satin ribbons.
Thank you for the golden memories!!

Capegirl said...

THank you for the rememberance of your grandmother. I remember mine quite clearly. Each Saturday she would bake small pies for each of her grandchildren. Mine was lemon meringue. I actually remember stoves like the one in your sampler.

It always amazed me to think of what my maternal grandparents had seen in their lives. From horse and buggies to a man on the moon!

Elizabeth said...

That was a lovely post about your grandmother. She was truly special.

heidi said...

Wonderful post! Makes me miss my Grandma! It's such a treasure that she lived such a long full life, and that you got to spend time with her as an adult.

pve design said...

I think she would have like your neighbor.

pve design said...

my other grandma, my mom's grandma was the lady who always wore the skirt, stockings, lipstick and brooch and always made lovely dresses and dolls for me. I was a little girl when she passed away and I have memories of going to her home and everyone taking bits and pieces.

la la Lovely said...

Love this post. There is something so special about grandparents and the things they pass down to us. Treasures! What a fabulous, strong and admirable lady!

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

This is so awesome. I love the is so super sweet...and I love your memories of your Grandma. Mine both lived into their 90s, and were more knowledgeable in matters of live, love and practicality than the MBAs I work amongst.

Your post makes me miss mine, and my dear dad. The picture of us dancing (and I use the term “dancing” loosely ;-) together on my desk is my sampler of love. It reminds me, in the words of Warren Zevon, to, “Enjoy every sandwich.”

katiedid said...

Patricia! I had to run to the restroom to get a tissue. What a very heartwarming vision you have conjured. There are so many wonderful traditions from my childhood to mention....but one that I love is making guacamole with my cousins every time we visited theie house for Sunday dinner. Living in California, this is not as exotic as it sounds. Everyone had fun adding in the ingredients and eating it all up. For dessert, we would make homemade fudge sauce to put on our ice cream. Yum!

P.S. I wanted to thank you again for my little "katiedid". I put her/him up on my blog. I hope you don't mind!


pve design said...

oh, I had no idea that this would touch so many - I really did not intend for you to cry...! Why thank-you
for posting my little illustration. he is getting a lovely matte and will be sent to you katie.
love your guacamole recipe, and fudge sauce too.

Rachel said...

Food is so elemental, and it is so touching. I get this way thinking about my mom's cooking, and my great grandma's quilts. Pieces of pure love.

Kim said...

How sweet - and what wonderful memories!

London Calling said...

My great-aunt just sent me a letter my grandmother wrote to her while living in Rome in the 50's. It was like a snapshot of her life 10 pages long including her trip to Paris, the opera, the famous flea markets ect. I will treasure it.

Style Court said...

Beautiful post Patricia. I feel like I know you even better. Can see where your drive and creativity come from.

love the sampler!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, I loved this. My mother had a sampler like this in her kitchen, and so funny...but my husband's father ran a fruit market/restaurant when he was growing up. I would bet the two of you share many of the same,sweet memories. He was always in charge of ordering the candy, and selling the Christmas trees. A lovely way to grow up and wonderful fodder for his songwriting career.

This was a lovely remembrance of your grandmother, and her Sunday dinners sound a lot like ours!

annechovie said...

What a sweet story and letter from your Grandma. It reminded me of both of my grandmothers, one who passed 4 years ago and 1 who is still living.

Karena said...

What special memories to cherish. I try to remember to keep making those unforgettable moments in the lives of my loved ones!

Emily said...

Patricia, your post is so thoughtful and touching. It reminds me of my grandma and all the kind and sweet things she did for us. God bless those sweet spirits that touched our lives! Thank you for sharing the letter - it is so very special.

Anonymous said...

Patricia, my grandma died last January at 105. She knew I loved vintage clothing, so a month ago, I was sent a box of her old hats from the 40s, her twenties wedding ensemble, a fur stole, among other treasures. She was active all her life, and did yoga, golf and took long walks up until the end of her life. Her food was always healthful; she brought the crudites to Thanksgiving and taught me how to grow alfalfa sprouts under the sink. She made Tabbouleh salad before it was "in" and I thought she was so well-read even though she only had an elementary education. Thanks for your story.

Ms. Tee said...

Hi Patricia,
This post is just lovely & so sweet. What a great gift to have such wonderful memories of your grandmother. I miss my grandma very much.

My sampler would be our family traditions and the many treasured memories tied to them. Thanks for sharing your beautiful post.

GrannySmithGreen said...

Precious memories, indeed. I am almost in tears for missing my own grandmothers. How I love your memories of you own sweet grandmother. Thank you for taking us all back to that table of love she created for you and your family.

pve design said...

Dear commenters-
Grandma would be so pleased to see how very popular she is. She would of course want to meet each of you in her kitchen and serve you and perhaps she would give you a little prayer card for you to leave this world a better place.
thanks - you cannot imagine how delighted I am with the "sampling" of comments!

simply seleta said...

For some reason, this was a tear jerker for me to read. What sweet memories and a precious grandmother. It proves that by just giving of ourselves, so much good can be done. And memories created.

N said...

oh I just love this post. You've seen all our pictures of family (old ones) displayed in the haven't seen the oodles we have stored away, ready to be released.

It is such a fun journey!

Renae Moore said...

What a sweet sweet story, a treasure in life to be sure.

Karena said...

A wonderful description of time with your grandmother. A little note brought me to this post and I am so glad to have read this poignant story.