100 years ago…. Well almost.

We arrived to have dinner with Auntie Fern and to celebrate the holiday. Auntie Fern will be 99 in April.

“I’m feeling punk.” She said. “I’m worried.”

Her 71-year old son who lives 2 hours away wasn’t answering his phone on Christmas Day.

The hubby spent some time on the phone searching, and located him in the hospital. He was experiencing shortness of breath, but would be going home after some treatments.

I feel so much better,” she exclaimed, “and I’m hungry now.

Our subsequent dinner conversations lead to the celebration of Christmas and how it had changed in her lifetime.

I remember getting an orange in my stocking! That was something! We never got oranges any other time of year. It was a special treat to get that.

My brothers would shoot a wild goose for Christmas dinner. Sometimes we would have wild rabbit instead. Wild rabbits were really good. But we had to quit eating them because they got spots. It was Tularemia, and it was fatal to people.

We decorated by stringing cranberries and popcorn.

I don’t really remember much about the gifts, but I’m sure we must have gotten a small one.

I encouraged her to share some of the other important events in her life.

Bill and I got married in a little Presbyterian church that was next door to the courthouse where we got our marriage license. It was just us and Bill’s mom and brother. We had to have a parent because Bill wasn’t 21 yet. Then we drove to his aunt’s house in Kelso.

Our faces must have reflected our excitement because she said, “I bet you two just got married.”

We said, “Yes we did!!”

So she crawled up in the attic and pulled out a bottle of Dandelion Wine. (This was during prohibition) Bill drank it, but I was only 18 so I don’t think I did. Then she fixed us a wedding celebration lunch.

We moved to Pullman (the home of Washington State University) so that Bill could finish his college degree. I was so lonesome. He would go to the library to study, so I went along and read books. I read so many books.

Two weeks before he finished, he sent me home to visit with my sisters. That was my chance to say goodbye. We were moving to Payette Idaho, and I wouldn’t see them for a very long time.

Bill taught school there for 6 years. Then they returned to Pullman for 1 year where Bill completed his advanced degree.

It was during the depression so money was very tight. I got a job cooking for 10 young men. Five dollars a month. The boys were going to school and working their way through the School of Agriculture. They were such gentlemen. ..Always so polite and well mannered. They were easy to work for. At Christmas they bought me candy.

They said they liked everything but rabbit. So, on my final week of employment I tricked them. I cut up a rabbit and cooked it just like chicken. They told me that was “the best” meat they’d ever eaten. Then I told them it was rabbit. So, I pulled one over on them!

While she was talking with us an elderly gentlemen walked up and greeted us with the sentiments of the season.

Oh, that fellow thinks he knows everything. There is a woman that lives here who is 100 years old. She tells people that I am her daughter.

Several staff members came by to wish her Merry Christmas.

Oh you know you are my favorite, don’t you?

Auntie Fern punctuates her conversation with giggles and guffaws. She is a positive and happy person. But, she also says she is tired and ready to go home.

I hope she waits awhile. There are more stories we need to hear.

Comments

theotherbear said…
Auntie Fern sounds like a really interesting lady! That was an interesting post - make sure you post more about Auntie Fern next time you visit her.
Simply Jenn said…
Oh, how wonderful. I wish I had been able to be closer to my relatives. I barely know them because they're all in NY and I'm on OK. Your Auntie Fern sounds like a wonderful lady, and you are so smart to soak in her stories. People like Auntie Fern are so rare these days.
Sandy said…
What a lovely post! Thanks for sharing your Auntie Fern and oh, by the way, I like the picture of you!
Kila said…
I so enjoyed this post!

And what a surprise to see a photo of yourself!
lisa's chaos said…
You really made me miss my great-grandmother. She was a corker. She would have been 105 last week if she was still with us. I used to love listening to her stories of traveling in a covered wagon and such.

Glad Auntie Fern had a great holiday too!
Robinella said…
Pamela, she sounds so wonderful.
I love the little girl in her.

I only have one living Grandmother and she's had many close calls. I never met my Mom's Dad or my Dad's Mom. My Dad's father passed away a few years ago and my GGma when I was about 13.
coloursofdawn said…
What a wonderful time you had with Auntie Fern. My mom's name is Ferne. Sirdar has an aunt who is 90 and she is pretty spry. Her mother lived to 101. I can understand people getting tired at that age (there are days!--but I digress), but it always seems like it is too soon for those of us who still have stories to hear.
Swampy said…
You are such a(n) historian! Hope the tape recorder was on.
If I don't get back to you in the next few days, have a healthy, safe, and happy 2008.
judypatooote said…
Isn't it interesting that the older we get the more we look forward to hearing tales of the olden days...I never thought about how my grandma, or any older family member grew up, until I got old...I have a few fact about my dad, and a couple about my mom, but never enough....for now it's to late....I really enjoyed your story about your aunt. judy
Hootin' Anni said…
WONDERFUL post Pamela. It had me tearing up, laughing and chilling to my bones [the part where "I'm tired and ready to go home"] .....the aged are so interesting and loving and 'I really don't care anymore'...type people, you just gotta love 'em!!!

What a fabulous read. I loved every minute of it. Great stories and reminiscing....you did super!!!!
Peter said…
What a great post about a living legend in your family Pamela.
BarnGoddess said…
these stories are soooo special to hear! oranges in stockings, my Father whos (77yo) has told me the same thing not too long ago :)

rabbit? yummy.
coffeypot said…
I love the stories told by the "old people." My mom and dad married in 1926 and were married 50 years. Dad passed on over two months after their 50 anniversary party. But they use to tell us about when they married, too. Mom was working at J.J. Newberys and my dad was working in a manufacturing job in Atlanta. They save up some money and added it to some wedding gifts of cash (what they wanted most) and bought a bed with box spring and feather mattress, a dresser with butterfly wing mirrors that swung in so you could see all around you, a table and chairs, a china cabinet, an ice box and coal stove for cooking, pots and pans, plates with cups and saucers, a months worth of groceries, and three months rent on a small one bedroom house and got their first load of coal, electricity and the water turned on (although they got their drinking water from a well on the back porch.) All this for the $500 they had saved and received as gifts. My mom was the lower middle child in a family of 16 kids.
Reading your post, it was as if I was there listening to your Auntie Fern. I love listening to the OLD stories from my husband's grandparents. There is so much history and as many times as I've heard some of the stories over and over again, I NEVER get tired of hearing them. Lovely story Pamela!
Tiggerlane said…
Auntie Fern sounds like someone I could spend hours listening to...I love that you are retelling her stories on your blog. What happened to an orange being a GREAT gift at Christmastime? We have gotten away from the simple life - which is sad.
What a treasure she is; and how special that you have the eyes to see her and "introduce" her to others. Her history is a wealth of LIFE begging to be told; I, too, hope you have opportunity to capture more of it.

You've made me wish I could meet her...and I guess I sorta have :).
Vicki said…
Hello!! Great post, (as usual).
I love conversations with older people. They are honest and pure. They dont' have time to pretend, or to put on airs.. they are straight up themselves and tell it like it is. Get right to the heart of the important stuff.
Claudia said…
Well the next time you see her, give her a great big hug from me. Although I've never met her, she sounds delightful!! And feeling punk? I'm just tickled by that!
Marti said…
What a great post! People should cherish the stories of their elders - you did a beautiful job retelling it!

Thanks for being a great blog buddy! Best wishes to you and yours for a fabulous 2008!
Amanda said…
Mom this literally brought tears to my eyes. I need to come see Auntie Fern and take her life story on my stenograph. This world will be a much lonelier place without her light.
Cagney said…
new link to me.
Jenni said…
I hope she stays around a while, too. I'd like to hear more of her stories as well. Thank you for sharing them with us!
Shelby said…
Loved reading this story :)
DesLily said…
wow, what a great story !! I hope you get to hear more of her stories and write about them.
katy said…
what a lovely post, i would love to read lots more from this remarkable lady
Gattina said…
Oh what a nice post ! I love to hear old people telling stories from the past and 99 is quite an age ! I remember my first orange for Santa Claus when I was maybe 8 or 9, it was something very special !
I published today some pictures of my Christmas in Amsterdam. I can tell you this city is really depressing at this time of the year !
janet said…
wonderful post. thank you for bringing her into OUR lives!
Robocop said…
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Hayden said…
wonderful stories, thanks for sharing them with us. She sounds really fortunate - a good long life, emphasis on good. Been a long time since I've heard a story about an elderly person w/o dementia - needed to hear that!
Sally Lomax said…
What a great story!!

Happy Christmas Pamela!
Tammy said…
Oh, I truly enjoyed reading every word of this. I love talking with old people, and being almost 100 truly qualifies one as old. It was almost like hearing her talk in person, so thank you. How blessed you are to have an auntie Fern!

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, Pamela!
daddy d said…
Great story. I hope that I can have some stories that good, someday. Thanks for your encouragement.
Thank you for sharing the stories! Bless you that you are taking the time to hear and record them! I hope she waits to go home... may you enjoy more wonderful days together that energize you both!
bermudabluez said…
AuntieFern sounds like a really neat person!! Cherish her stories...they are special. I had a great aunt who lived to be 105 and she was just the greatest lady!! She never married and had ONE drink a day. Gotta love that! Happy Holidays, Pamela!
My mom will talk about her days growing up in Pitcher, Oklahoma and how she used to get put in the neighbor's yard when she was 5, so they'd feel sorry for her and feed her, and the rest of her family would have one less mouth to feed. We spent a lot of time in the Pitcher and Miami area a few years back settling my uncle's estate, and I learned a great deal about my mom's youth and the hardships and trials. She told me the biggest thrill of her life, then, was to get 25 cents and go see the Saturday afternoon movie, and get a box of popcorn. It's excellent you are getting in writing, your stories from Auntie Fern. What a heritage to pass along to future generations. Nekked Lizards
nikki said…
She reminds me of my grandma (96!). I love to sit down and talk to her. I want to make sure I remember the stories to pass down to Aaron.
Debbie said…
I loved reading those stories. I'm so glad you shared them.
MarmiteToasty said…
Lovely, just lovely..... aint elderly people great :) I to hope she lives a little longer...

x
Heather said…
What a fun legacy! She sounds like she's a spunky one.
Devon said…
What a wonderful auntie you have! I love being in the presence of 'old' people... their stories of how life used to be brings history alive to me! But I must be careful to not yearn for what was rather than what is.
mjd said…
And, I am glad that you have recounted her story here.
my4kids said…
My Grandmother is 90 and i love when she tells me stories about when she was growing up!
Another beautiful post.

I always have to slow down and savor these, as if I'm hearing the person sharing their story with me.
Bobbie said…
It's so great that you are recording some of your Aunt's stories. I have a great aunt who turned 102 this past September -- and still going strong, except for dimming eyesight. We love to get her telling stories about her youth.
Beccy said…
Thank you for sharing Auntie Ferns memories, I hope there are more you can share with us some day.

Happy new year.
Susie Q said…
Aunt Fern, an amazing woman. Pam? An amazing woman and writer.
Love the way you put words together!

Happy New Year dear Pamela.

Hugs,
Sue

Popular posts from this blog

Sing in Spring

An Old Cold Spot

Earth Friendly