I've been thinking about my grandmother a lot lately probably because of all the old photographs and mementos of her I've run across while organizing family photos. Even though I didn't appreciate her when I was a child, I owe so much to her. This quote sums up up our relationship so well:
"What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And most importantly, cookies."
When I was a child I spent several weeks with her every summer at her big house in Bryan, TX. Our days were spent sewing, swimming, and going to the Carnegie Library in downtown Bryan. This is the only time I can ever remember being taken to a library and I remember how exciting it was going to story hour and then choosing books to check out. Her house wasn't air-conditioned so when it was really hot in the afternoons I would lie down in a bed on the sleeping porch, a room with 26 windows, and read. I have always loved books and reading and this was the only time in my childhood when I actually had enough to read. My reading was sometimes interrupted by the sound of a train coming. Her house was right on the railroad tracks and I loved going outside and waving to the conductor and the man in the caboose and counting the number of cars.
My grandmother was a wonderful seamstress and, along with my mother, taught me to sew. We spent a lot of time in the fabric stores in Bryan and one time she let me pick out some fabric and showed me how to make a crop top. I remember it was lavender gingham and I made most of it myself.
I also took swimming lessons or went swimming almost every day. On the way back from the pool we would stop at Dairy Queen for lunch and sometimes in the evening we would go out again for ice cream or a Purple Cow. AND...there was never a time when I visited her when she didn't have homemade chocolate chip cookies in her cookie jar. It was the first thing I looked for when I got there. So many wonderful memories.
Here is a little bit more about her:
Sarah Effie Meads was born in Kurten Texas in 1895, the youngest of 8 children, to William Joseph Meads and Laura Jane Faircloth Meads. She married Henry Fain LeGrand and they had one child, my father, William Henry LeGrand, in 1916. She divorced HFL and married Arthur L. Huebner in 1922 (more about him in another blog). She was very active in Central Baptist Church and the Eastern Star.
When I moved back to Texas from New Orleans, I moved in with my father for a few months to take care of her. She had broken a hip and needed help with everything. Although this was a difficult time for all of us I'm glad I had the opportunity to repay her for all the love and kindness she had always shown me, and to get to know her as an adult. She recovered from her broken hip and was able to move back to her beloved home in Bryan where she lived until she died in 1986 at 90 years of age.
About her name:
Her name was Sarah Effie and before I was born everyone called her "Miss Effie." At some point I started calling her Ninie and that name stuck.