Monday, May 4, 2009

~~ Blue Monday Memories of Yore ~~

I was reading a blog this morn ... re pioneer women. I had to get out the diary. The ornaments take me back to the 'olden days' (much like G'ma Maggie).

It is a dismal, dark, dreary day here ... has been raining for 4 days & 2 to go ... what a perfect time to pen memories. I don't feel like cleaning anymore, but will finish later on.

When G'ma Maggie came over from Blackwater, Ireland, ca. 1908, she wore her hair like these ladies on the ornaments, & wore those kinds of long dresses. She was an absolute beauty. In Ireland she was trained to be a sales lady at the convent, Loretta Abbey of Gorey. When she arrived in this country she worked briefly as a sales lady in Portland, OR, before moving on to WA ST. There she became a cook in a mill ... her cook table is on an early post, which I treasure. G'ma met G'pa Bob at the mill (4-12-1910 wedding pic above). G'ma always wore her hair slicked back into a tight bun, she wore little prim hats with dainty flowers on the top of the brim ... I can still hear her echoing clicking heels coming down the hall at St. Joseph's.

The photo of the family in the 1918 Chevie was many cousins w/G'ma at the rear outer window side. Her children sat beside her. G'pa Bob was driving the car. Isn't that car fantastic?

G'ma Maggie was a strong, hard working woman. She had beautiful flower & veggie gardens, free of weeds always ... too often we had to do the weeding & we didn't like it one bit.

We took our wash down to her house every Sat. piled high on the little wagon, all 5 kids hanging onto the sides, as Mother pulled the wagon 6 blocks ... spending the entire day washing & scrubbing the clothes on that old scrub board ... that was hard work ... then rinsing the clothes in the tub of clear water & hanging them out to dry. G'ma & Mother worked side by side, they were very close. She made her own lye soap, we stirred that horrible stuff.

We would have fresh made jam sandwiches topped with the 'scum' of the jam (that was the best part) on that heavenly fresh baked bread ... yum. I can literally smell the yeasty aroma floating throughout the house, still. Occasionally G'ma would let us 'punch' the dough down. Even better yet, she would give us remnants of the dough to make brown sugar tarts ... we loved working in the kitchen creating our treats.

It was great fun gathering the chicken eggs from the coop ... we loved playing with the baby chicks, chased the chickens around the yard, changing the nesting straw. The worst part was watching G'ma kill the chickens ... I used to cry horribly for those poor chicks, so eventually I wasn't allowed to go out when she was 'getting our dinner'.

G'ma would occasionally whip up her apron & as we 5 kids egged her on, & do the Irish jig for us. Sometimes she would speak in a heavy Irish brogue, or sing an Irish song ... we loved every single minute. It would be a great finishing touch to a long hard day.

We enjoyed laying under the lilac bush in G'mas front yard out of the heat as the gentle breeze cooled us ... too often getting fried because we fell asleep ... hence hardly able to waddle for days from the pain. I brought back a piece of the lilac bush in 1987 & it grows in my yard ... it is a true lilac, not a hybrid. At that time I also brought back some of her Mt. Bresius bulbs that bloomed beside the back step to the sun porch. I treasure each bloom every spring.

G'ma was a sweet, loving, kind woman ... I loved her gentle hugs & silky smooth skin (she would rub lard on her hands & rub it in good, wiping it off on her feedsack apron) ... her skin always shined. G'ma is the glue that held the family together ... she worked very hard to earn money & provide a nice home for her family.

During the Depression G'ma received her family inheritance from Ireland which got them thru some really tough times.

I remember the loving touch of her gentle hands, the sweet smell of her skin, the warm hugs of love.

Thank you for all the loving memories.

Happy Mother's Day to a wonderful loving woman ... my grandmother Maggie Carty Neu. (1890 - 1955)


  1. To G'ma Maggie!!

    I have some fond memories of my own grandparents as well. Funny how the oldest memories are the ones I hold closest to my heart.

    What a wonderful life that had to be with your momma going to g'mom's house and doing what needed done but having time to just spend being together.

  2. I love hearing stories about grandmothers...especially Irish ones! I recently wrote about my grandmom, Annie, on my blog.
    There is nothing like a grandmother's love. It is so pure and it wraps around you like a blanket that makes you feel like there's no better place on earth.
    We are very lucky to have had such special people in our lives.

  3. What beautiful memories. I love the jam scum sandwiches.

    Your mention of "yore" made me remember a Friends episode where Rachel buy an apothecary table from Pottery Barn and tells Phoebe it is an antique from a flea market and Phoebe says what period is it from and Rachel says...Oh it is from yore. I don't know if you ever watched Friends but it was my favorite.

    The Raggedy Girl

  4. What a lovely story. Thank you so much for it and for the nice comments on my blog. kath

  5. WAHHHHHHHHHHHH! I'm tearing up!

    Now...I'm a California girl...born and bred! I have no earthly idea what "SCUM of the Jam" is. Please do share. I too citified....yep I is! :)



  6. 'Scum' is the skimming off the top of the boiling jam ... it is skimmed off to keep the clarity of the jam. Sticking, sweet, foamy ... dee-lish!

    I should have explained. TTFN ~ Marydon

  7. I was misting up too, and then I read Rebecca's comment and so now I'm laughing. LOL!! No, seriously, I loved reading about your memories of your G'Ma. Such a sweet post. Made me think about mine, except she was my great grandmother that was such a sweetie, and isn't it great how you can remember the smell, and every little detail? My Grandma Michael carried Brach's Cinnamon Disks in her apron pocket, (and her teeth in the other pocket) lol but I can't eat one without thinking of her. ;) Hope you have sunshine soon my friend!!
    ♥ Teresa

  8. Oh My Marydon,
    You had the tears running down my cheek, as I remember my Grandmother stand in the midst of her iris or roses. Or my other Grandmother sitting under the shade of the Chinaberry tree mixing up suds so we could blow bubbles through empty wooden spools.
    God never blessed my husband and I with children, but I have tried to make memories with the children I taught at Sunday School or Missionettes. I hope someone will have fond memories of us some day!!!
    Thanks for sharing,
    Theresa @ Cottage Violets