Cast Iron Memories

As we countdown to retirement and continue downsizing, we have told the kids and grandkids about our plans. Nearly everyone has basically said, they’ve been expecting it. I guess we are not mysterious at all. Of course our house has a definite beachy theme going on and we take our vacations there, so maybe it isn’t so far-fetched that we would one day plan to move there.

Our daughter Michele is the only one who was at all surprised. I actually thought she was mad when we told her and her husband Chad. He wasn’t surprised at all. She asked him how he knew…of course he didn’t know, he just wasn’t surprised. He told her to think about it and after a couple of minutes she calmed down and began to at least listen to our plans.

We told each of the kids they needed to let us know if there was something they wanted from our house. A piece of furniture, picture or something because we were going to be downsizing and selling, donating or otherwise ridding ourselves of our worldly possessions. Well, that’s a little dramatic, but we really are going to get rid of almost everything. Our goal is to leave town with one truckload. The truck size has not been determined yet.

Of course none of the kids wanted to come in like vultures, but we assured them that if we couldn’t give a particular item to them we would let them know. I was surprised by their choices. Michele wanted an antique vanity that I use as a make up table. It surprised me because she’s never really been into antiques and it doesn’t seem her style. But, she used to come into my room in the mornings and sit at my desk (it was a different one than I’m using now) to do her hair and makeup. I think it’s the memories of that, that make her choose the vanity. If not, I’m going with that because it makes me feel happy thinking that’s what it is. Her husband, Chad is all about Bob’s horns and hunting stuff. He’s got a room, man cave if you will that is all about Seahawks and hunting. That was no surprise.

My daughter-in-law said, “I want that whole wall”. Referring to a wall in our kitchen that has old antique and rusty enamel ware. Most of it was found across the road from us at an old homestead up the hill. It has bullet holes and rust, it’s misshapen and I love it. It makes me happy that she wants it for her home. Our son wasn’t surprised by our decision to move, he just doesn’t believe his dad will ever retire, therefore we won’t be moving. So we’ve just suggested to him some things he might want. Dad’s bobcat that he shot years and years ago that’s always hung somewhere in the house. Some of the gifts that he’s made us over the years. “You still have this?” “I can’t believe you kept this!” … Yes my darling, I have kept nearly everything you ever made me.


Joey and the twins, 3 of our grandkids, were here so much when they were young that everything here is a memory to them. This is home to them. Not that they didn’t have a great home, they were just here a lot with us when they were young. Joey is engaged and living with a sweet wonderful girl, Bre and he was so close to my mom before she passed that he will gladly take anything that was hers. So, he gets her dishes that I have…on one condition…they have to use them. They can’t just stick them in a box. I did because i was so afraid of breaking them, and now it’s time to give them away and I really never got to enjoy them. They aren’t china, they’re just dishes. They need to be used.

Aaron has yet to name anything, although i’m sure he’ll think of something. Oh he’s asked for practical things, dish cloths, bathroom rugs, a desk, nothing sentimental yet. Caleb said, “Oh Grama, I know exactly what I want. Remember when we were using the metal detector in the field and we found that part of an old toy? That’s what I want!” I had to think about this for a while, but finally remembered, we found an old cast iron tractor toy. Actually just a part of it and yes, I still have it. Now that’s what I mean, everything is a memory.


I’m so excited about the things they’ve chosen. There will be more as we get closer, dig deeper purge more. But these things are my memories that will keep me close to my kids and grandkids. They are my heart and I think they’ve got good memories to hold on to too. I’m sure they’ll have lots of stories to tell their kids and grandkids someday too, and with any luck, I can tell them a few of my own as we play on the beach together.

I have a vitamin deficiency, I am in need of vitamin sea.


It’s Christmas, NOT Xmas!

Well, Another Christmas come and gone. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. Whatever you celebrate, I hope it was everything you wanted it to be. In our family we celebrate Christmas. This year was a little different. Usually we have Christmas Eve at our house with Bob’s family and Christmas Day with my family. The kids are split between the two days because of obligations to their spouses families. It works for us.


When I was a kid, I remember reading the Christmas cards that we got. It was a huge thing then. My Mom had a huge list that she sent cards to, and received cards from. I’ve never been able to keep up with sending cards. I love getting them. I used to be that bad person that sent them to the people I got a card from, after I received theirs. Now I just don’t do it. In my defense, I get busy at work and home and…well I guess I get lazy about it. I didn’t say it was a good defense…

Anyway, I started seeing Merry Xmas on the cards and I asked my Mom what that meant. She explained to me that it was short for Christmas. I was not raised in a real religious home, but I knew the meaning of Christmas and this enraged me. I was pretty young, young enough that I didn’t know how Xmas could be an abbreviation for Christmas, but old enough to be furious about it. I raged about how the least we could do is write the whole word. How can anyone abbreviate the Christ from Christmas. My poor Mom just listened and agreed with me. I bet if she ever wrote Xmas before, she never did it again after that. I still feel this way. Christmas is one word that needs to be complete. I’m a purist in some things.


Well, this Christmas we had 8 of us for dinner on Christmas Day. As everyone started to arrive we had all the greeting and hugging. Our oldest grandson, almost 24 and his twin brothers, nearing 21 were here and I am so thankful to still have them be a part of our festivities. As they walked in the door one of the boys said “Merry Xmas Grama”! I was shocked and kind of frozen in place for a couple seconds. It must have shown on my face because he quickly came over hugged me and said “I mean Merry Christmas Grama”!

I guess I still feel pretty adamant about not abbreviating the reason for the season. It was pretty funny how quickly he changed his tune. Some things just need to stay important.

What are you adamant about keeping pure in your holidays? Did you have a wonderful season?

Monikers, Nicknames and Aliases

When we built, we built this house in place of the house that was here. Bob was raised here, actually Robert was raised here. In the family, I’m a bit of a villain. I changed his name to Bob. Now truth be told, he introduced himself to me as Bob. But I’ve never been able to convince the fam of this, and when I’m with his family I call him Robert. His Mother really resented my calling him Bob and told me about it many times over the years.

Robert is on the left above, Bob is on the right.

I’m not a real worrier about names. I usually have many names I call people and animals. My dog Jasper is Jasper Jones, Jasper Joe, Poodle (he’s not one), Pumpkin, Buddy, Booboo. There’re probably more, but those are the repeaters. Our neighbor calls him Buster. So his identity may be irreversibly screwed up. Luckily he’s good with all these names as long as his treats keep coming.

My in-laws were Adam and Maybelle. I love her name, I’m glad it isn’t mine but it fit her. Although, most people tried to call her Mable when they first met and saw her name. She set them straight about it right away. I just called them Mom and Dad. We were pretty close and it just felt right. I really never thought about it, it just always was Mom and Dad. I guess it was a bit of a big deal though. My hubby Bob (Robert) told me one time about going with his Dad somewhere. His youngest sister was about to marry a kid, and the family wasn’t too keen on him. Bob and his Dad were in the car and his Dad was saying how he didn’t like it when this kid called him Dad. He said ‘I’m not his Dad and nobody calls me Dad except my own kids, he can just call me Adam!’. Bob told me he looked at his Dad and said ‘Well, Dad, Shannon calls you Dad’. ‘Well, That’s different, cuz she, um she’s always called me that.’ He was laughing telling me because his Dad was a staunch German fella that didn’t like to show feelings too much. I loved him dearly and hugged him every chance I got. Mostly getting a stiff arm hug back, but he never pulled away. I think I was wearing him down.

Like I said, he wasn’t much on emotions, but he used to refer to Maybelle as Mommy. I suppose that came from raising 5 kids together. I know when our kids were young Dad was used much more than Bob or Robert to refer to my husband. But Dad (Adam) had one sentence that used to warm my heart. When he was saying something about the two of them, Adam & Maybelle. He would say…”I and Mommy are going”…to the store, or bank or wherever. I know, right? It’s wrong on so many levels. I’m a bit of a stickler for proper grammar (mostly), and normally that sentence would set my teeth on edge. But, spoken by this sometimes grumpy, unsentimental German guy it just made my heart kind of go pittypat. His heart showed through just a bit in those moments.

My Mom was Mom. Her name was Beulah, but all of us kids introduced her as Mom and our friends all called her Mom until the day she passed. She wouldn’t have answered to anything else, I don’t think. When I’d introduce her to my friends, I’d say ‘this is my Mom, her name is Beulah but we haven’t taught her that yet so everyone calls her Mom’.

Our grandkids call us Grama and Grampa Cow. Joey, our oldest Grandson had a lot of grandparents still alive and this is how he kept track of us. He had a Grandma & Grandpa Motorhome, Chicken, and 5th wheel. Bob and I loved our names, we used to raise cows so we thought it fit perfectly, some others didn’t care for their given monikers. I actually enjoy the looks people give when they hear me spoken to as Grama Cow. The rest of the grands now call us that too. We will forever be lovingly known as Grama Cow & Grampa Cow.image

My oldest son and his wife call each other “Husband” and “Wife”. I don’t know how this got started but they both do it, and honestly, I think it’s kind of imagecute…for them. They’ll be at the house for Christmas and you might hear, “Wife, did you get the eggnog” or “Husband, can you grab my jacket?” I’ve heard people remark that they think it’s so disrespectful. I don’t know why it would be, but I know some people just like to stick to the given names.

I miss the days of good ol’ nicknames. Sparky and Spanky. Tiny, for the huge guy down the block. Smitty for Mr. Smith next door. Scoop for the local reporter. image

What do you think about nicknames? Do you have one? Do you use them for your kids or friends? If you could pick your own, what would you choose? Me? I couldn’t do any better than Grama Cow.