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Lessons Learned From My Grandmother

My Grandma Smith (Opal was her first name) was the perfect example of what a Grandma should be. I feel very blessed to have had her for my grandma. I was the youngest of her many grandchildren and, until I was an adult, she always told me I was her baby. I can still hear her say that and see the smile on her face as I sit here and type this.


Grandma never had a lot of money. She lost her husband the year before I was born. She lived on the family farm with one of her sons that never married. She was one of the hardest working people I have ever known.

Grandma, in her younger years, was a school teacher. She had a love for children that I have seen in few other people. In her later years, she worked around the farm and, lucky for me, I got to spend a lot of time on the farm with her often helping with chores.

Grandma always had a big garden, and this is Iowa, so there was always good old Iowa sweet corn grown. She grew everything under the sun and she would can and freeze produce to get my uncle and herself through the winter. There were lots of fruit trees, apples and pears, in the back yard at Grandma's house. I remember the big chest freezer she had full of produce as well as the shelves of canned goods that lined her back porch. I remember when she had chickens and turkeys and the days of going to help butcher them. I can also remember gathering eggs from the hen house. Grandma also had a milk cow that provided not only milk, but butter and other milk products.

Grandma had a large family, 6 children and many grandchildren. I remember going for meals at Grandma's house. She made everything from scratch and it was the best food I have ever eaten. Between her and my mom, I have been blessed with many recipes and lots of experience with food and cooking.

Grandma also did her laundry on an old wringer-style washing machine for many years. It wasn't until I was quite a bit older that she actually got a regular machine. She used to hang her clothes out on the line in good weather to dry. She hung lines in the house or on the porch to get the clothing dry when it was cold out or raining. The heat from the big gas stove that she had would dry the things quickly!


The only heat the farmhouse had was from two old gas stoves, one in the kitchen and the other in the living room. Grandma was always very careful about gas usage as they could not afford to fill the big tank out in the back yard very often.

The best days of my whole life were spent on my grandma's farm, riding my horse and helping with chores, but the best part was Grandma. She would let me spend whole weekends with her and we never had to do anything big and exciting. It was always so nice just to be with her.

Grandma lived to be 98 years old. She died peacefully in her sleep. So thankful for all the things she taught me about frugality as well as so many other things way too numerous to count! So glad she was my Grandma!

By Robin from Washington, IA

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About The Author: Robin lives in Washington, Iowa. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Scott. They have two daughters, Jessica and Caitlinn, both of whom are grown. The oldest, Jessica, and her husband, just had a baby, Robin's first grandchild. They also have 3 dogs who are very much part of they family, Jazmin, Shelby and Libby. Her interests are cooking, computers, volunteering at our local animal shelter, working with the elderly and also children and music. She also very involved in her church.

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November 5, 20100 found this helpful

What a beautiful story! You had a wonderful grandma who taught you so much, and you were smart enough to take in that knowledge, Thank you for sharing this.

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November 7, 20100 found this helpful

How inspiring. You're grandmother lived a beautiful life we all need to contemplate. It's not about money. She gave the gift of love and a wonderful example of living large with what we have.

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November 7, 20100 found this helpful

This was so nearly like reading about my grandmother - many similarities. I lost her a year ago at 98 also. Thank you for writing it.

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November 7, 20100 found this helpful

I so enjoyed your loving story about your Grandmother! I only hope my grandchildren remember me someday with the love and wonderful memories that you have of yours. Thanks for sharing your memories.


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November 9, 20100 found this helpful

Love your story, I can only hope my grandchildren will feel the same about me.

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April 18, 20150 found this helpful

Such a loving story, it really touched my heart. I sure hope my grandchildren feel this way about me one day.

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April 18, 20150 found this helpful

What a blessed woman you are. The best part is that you will pass on those blessings to your grandchildren. I hope I am lucky enough for my grandchildren to feel so loving toward me. Bless you.

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April 18, 20150 found this helpful

Your story sounds so much like my grandma and my mother. They both always made a big garden and canned everything they could. Mother even canned fish and chestnuts. Dad would help her after he retired. Mother is still alive and will be 99 if she lives until the 2nd day of June. My grandmother and mother also taught me about God and how good He is. I enjoyed your story very much.

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April 19, 20150 found this helpful

What a beautiful story. You were indeed blessed. Such a peaceful life that you had. I remember my grandma too and the cherry tree that she had on the side of her house where I would 'swing' on a low laying branch. The birds and sunshine were truly such a blessing to me.

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April 19, 20160 found this helpful

Written wonderfully Robin from Washington, IA... I too had two wonderful grandmothers that I learned many, many things from... I was blessed by having them in my life as you were yours also... Thank you for sharing this with us!

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May 10, 20160 found this helpful

I so enjoyed reading your article. This is how I was raised. Only difference; my granny had eleven kids and she had wood to heat with. Sometimes when she had extra money, she would purchase coal. Times back then were hard but we all loved each other, learned how to treat others, was taught about GOD, and, had morals.

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