grandma’s kitchen and other memories

I was thinking about Grandma Ruth’s kitchen this morning. Not sure how I wound up down that road, but it brought back a lot of memories. I think it started when I remembered Grandma giving me a bath in her kitchen sink. I must have been four or five? Or less? But I remember it vividly. She bathed me and then lifted me out of the sink and put me on the floor. She handed me a towel and told me to dry off. I had trouble doing my back. She said, “Didn’t anyone every show you how to dry your back?” And then proceeded to teach me how to hold the towel kitty-cornered across my back, first one way, then the other, as I moved the towel back and forth. Such a vivid memory.

Grandma in her kitchen.

Grandma Ruth

Grandpa and Grandma’s house was L-shaped and had a porch that ran along the inside of the “L” and then along the end of the “L.” Got that?? We’d start at one end (the top of the L) and run! Turn left and run, turn right and keep running so we could fly off the side of the porch. A short drop to the ground and then we’d run around the house and do it again! And again! The porch boards made a thwacking sound as we ran along. Loud!

Here’s a picture of the house that my Aunt Carol painted when she was twelve years old.

family farm house

In this picture, you can see the porch in the background. When I was a child, Grandma had planted shrubs (Bridal Wreath spirea, I think) all along the porch with lily of the valley growing below the shrubs.

Back: Donald, Grandpa, Dad, Grandma
Front: Joyce, Gary, Carol and Linda (Phyllis, the oldest, isn’t in the picture.)

Clarence and Ruth, all kids but Phyllis

The door everyone used entered from the porch into the kitchen. The kitchen table was on the left side of the room and a path of newspapers on the floor led past the table and then left into the living room. The kitchen counters and appliances were on the right and far sides of the kitchen. If I remember correctly, there were three windows in the kitchen. One looked over the back yard into the barnyard. One looked toward the pole barn (in above picture behind the car) and one faced south looking over the front yard and the long driveway down to the country road. There used to be two poplar trees at the road, marking Grandpa’s driveway. They must have been Lombardy Poplars because they grew tall and straight and narrow.

In the kitchen. The window on the left looks east. The one on the right looks south.

Ruth and Clarence in the kitchen

There was a cupboard built into the wall near the table and I found it fascinating that you could open the doors in the wall and find shelves, with dishes and, more importantly, saltine crackers! We’d beg a few to feed the fish, which was always an adventure. Grandpa had a metal watering trough that was kept full by a nearby pump. Grandpa had a little motor there. When he flipped the switch, the cold water would come out of the pump, go down a little piece of pipe and flow into the trough. In the trough were huge goldfish that lived there year round. Moss grew in the water and we’d have to watch closely, leaning over the fencing, to get the first glimpse of the flash of gold as the fish came up for cracker crumbs.

I think this picture of my father was taken when he was in the fourth grade, about the age I was when these memories were made. He said he was embarrassed that day because he had new overalls and they were too long for him.

Alan Ashby

Grandpa and Grandma had a large vegetable garden. It was fun to pick tomatoes with Grandma. She was a hard worker, though, and we usually petered out before she did. My grandparents also raised their own popping corn. One of the few times I was allowed in Grandma’s bedroom was when she told me to look under the bed and pull some popcorn ears from the large burlap sack where they were stored. We shelled the little ears of corn and she made a skillet full of popcorn for us on the kitchen stove. Another treat Grandma gave us were snowballs she saved and gave us to eat in the summer. She gave us a salt shaker for sprinkling salt on our snowballs. Cousins, do you remember eating snowballs? Or was that a one time thing?

Grandpa and his three sons, Donald, Gary and my Dad.

Clarence and three sons

Once, I was fascinated to see a cow giving birth in the barnyard. But Grandma hustled me away from the kitchen window. She didn’t think I should be watching that! There was an indoor bathroom, but we weren’t allowed to use it. We had to use the outhouse at Grandma’s. But the trek to the outhouse was fun. The path led past the rabbit hutch and we’d stop to feed the bunnies some fresh grass or clover. It never occurred to us that Grandpa butchered the rabbits for meat! From there, we had to watch our step, because we had to cut across the chicken yard to reach our destination. One time, when my eldest daughter was three or four, I took her to the outhouse and she peeked in, then said, “Yeah, but where’s the bathroom?” That was an adventure!

Grandma let me help her make soap. She showed me how to churn butter. We picked raspberries together. Her root cellar was a mysterious place to me. Dark and quiet and cool. It was always fun to go to Grandpa and Grandma’s house. My grandma was steady, sweet-tempered, gentle and quiet. I miss her a lot.

Ruth and spring flowers



  1. Patrick R. Ashby
    Posted July 27, 2017 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    Your grandmother and grandpa’s home sounds lime a lot of fun to go visit and growup in. It reminds me of my grandmothers Anna Ruyle farm home in Clinton Oklahoma with a kitchen and sink that drained outdoors and our visits to the outhouse. She was a happy person and loved all the kids.Great memories, thanks for sharing.

  2. Posted July 28, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Patrick. 🙂 I am grateful for the memories I have of both sets of grandparents. They were a huge part of my life as I grew up.

  3. Posted July 31, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Beautiful memories Rhonda! My grandparents had a farm and I spent a lot of time there when I was a child. I enjoyed reading this.

  4. Jennifer
    Posted August 2, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    I have so enjoyed reading this post. I love to hear precious memories like this. I have my own and sometimes when I sit outside I dream of a time when things weren’t quite so busy. Everything moves so fast and there is no time to just enjoy and take in the “simple” life. It’s funny what we call “simple” was a lot of hard work. My mom tells me my Gramma worked from the time she got up until after supper when she would sit down to either quilt, embroider, crochet lace, or mend clothes, socks, table runners, whatever needed a hole repaired. When I hear the stories my mom tells or remember the stories my dad used to tell (he has dementia now), I just love it. My own memories of growing up on a farm that my parents rented are priceless to me. A few of my favorite things are tires crunching over a gravel driveway, voile curtains fluttering in the breeze, sunlight twinkling through the treetops in the woods, and the sweet scent of an old fashioned pale pink rose. I could go on and on. Thank you for sharing the memories and the pics!

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