Seasons of Life

18 Apr

I suppose one of the surprises of looking closely at my Grandmother Elsie’s life is realizing how aware I am now of the differing seasons of her life. I was age five when she retired as a librarian for the Elementary schools. She then spent several years working as a librarian at a private girl’s boarding school in Glendora. She lived in a dorm and I can still hear my father calling out “Man in the hall!” when we went to visit. By the time I was eight she was living in her small bungalow about ½-mile from my parents and enjoying her retirement. Neither she nor my mother drove a car. I remember walking to visit her and finding her lounging in the shade of a lovely tree on the back patio either writing a story or reading. I never recall her cooking or cleaning house. She was retired. Retired and enjoying her season of time to do what she wanted. It was during those years of retirement that she wrote many published children’s stories and began writing down her own memories about the apple season of her life. She rented one room of her compact 2 bedroom home to a teacher. So there was not much to care for. It is such a sharp contrast to the season of owning and operating the apple ranch on Palomar that I am reading about in her diary. The years between 1918 and 1923 were a time of daily tasks – consideration always had to be given to preparing meals for numerous people. Those meal preparations meant doing everything from scratch, baking bread, canning fruit,etc. Laundry was a hand cranked washing machine. It was a season of picking and drying apples, feeding other apple pickers and serving as the postmistress three days a week.

Jack & Elsie's Resort

Jack & Elsie’s Resort

Since I can only remember her in the calm, quiet season of retirement, reading her diary gives me a view into that season of her life. Two of our grandchildren just came for a five-day visit. I am wondering how they will remember me years from now. Will picking roses and blueberries and reading “Green Eggs and Ham “in a silly, rapid fire voice be all that they remember of me? My fondest memories are not of her reading me books but of her telling me true stories, many of them from that busiest of sweet seasons of her life. Thanks for the rich memories Grammy Elsie.
About 1984. Elsie with our family on Palomar. She was still coming up her mountain even at age 96.

About 1984. Elsie with our family on Palomar. She was still coming up her mountain even at age 96.

7 Responses to “Seasons of Life”

  1. Michele H April 18, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

    I loved the book about Elsie and I love the subsequent newsletters. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ben Cure April 18, 2015 at 8:39 pm #

    Thanks so much for the notes, and this time for the picture. I had met you guys just a year or so before that was taken. I remember your family looking that way!
    Love you guys.

    Ben and Tammi Cure

  3. Pallas April 18, 2015 at 8:58 pm #

    We are very lucky that you share Elsie with us – thank you.

    I have special memories about my maternal grandmother from the many times she stayed with us, but I don’t have the letters and diaries to show her life outside of those times like you do with Elsie.

    I’m looking forward to reading your next book about Elsie’s life on Palomar Mountain.

  4. Amy Bergman April 18, 2015 at 10:09 pm #

    Thank you so much for the picture and update!!!! I find it so interesting to read about your grandmother’s life!!!!! Thank you for sharing Elsie with us readers!!!

  5. ritaroberts April 19, 2015 at 6:08 am #

    Hi Barbara, I love your updates and notes about your Grandmother Elsie . What a grand age she lived to and looking so slim and serene. Thank you so much for sharing those wonderful moments you remember with Elsie

  6. Renee Richmond April 19, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

    I spent the night every Saturday night – age 9-14 with my Grandma and then went to church with her Sunday morning, then came back to her house where she cooked me lunch – but I wouldn’t eat turnip greens or black-eyed peas. 🙂 She would play “I spy” with me, cover me up at night with about 10 quilts and I LOVED being there with her. 🙂 What I remember is being LOVED and so will your grandkids!

  7. Carole Binder April 20, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

    Barb, I can’t help but think of how very proud she would be of you and the lovely caring lady you have become thru all the season’s of your life. Sharing your grandma’s seasons, have just allowed us(a whole bunch of us!) to learn to love and enjoy your grandma too! I grew up in the country and experienced many things ‘city slickers’ didn’t, but to hear of her life early Arizona statehood, has opened my eyes a whole lot more to the hardships & joys of life during that time. It sure made me appreciate current ease of life and push buttons!

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