Tag Archive | family memories

Secondhand Memories

Grandpa Jacob Altmann Senior with Mary and Betty and Casper in the background.

One of my sisters reminisced, “Grandpa kept a pint jar filled with hard candies on a shelf by the door. Whenever we visited him, he’d give us a candy.”

Another sister chimed-in, “I remember going to his apartment in the garage that summer after he died. I took one of the candies from the jar and it was chewy!”

Younger than my sisters by more than a decade, I volunteered, “I remember Grandpa falling when he came into our house. I was standing in the kitchen watching Daddy hold the door open for him.”

“You couldn’t possibly remember that!” scoffed one of my older brothers. “You were just barely two-years-old, too little to remember. What you do remember, is what we’ve told you.”

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Recording Milestones

Tammie sat down on the kitchen step stool while I was preparing supper. She demanded, “Tell me about when I was born.”

I smiled, picked up a potato and began to peal it. Today was Tammie’s eighth birthday. When I was a child, I had often asked my mother the same question. There is no topic more interesting to a child than the day they were born. With each retelling, there is hope for additional nuggets of information. I explained, “You were born by caesarean section, because of your low blood platelet problem.  With your sisters, I just waited until I went into labor. For you, the doctor picked Monday February 22nd, which was a little more than one week before your due date.” 

Tammie prompted, “The day before I was born, you went to eat Sunday dinner at Grammie’s house.”

Dropping the peeled potato into the kettle and picking up another, I agreed, “Yes, and it was a wonderful dinner as always. My brother Casper provided homemade cranberry wine to go with the meal. I could only taste it because I was pregnant with you, but I liked it. I think that’s why Casper gave me a bottle of cranberry wine every year for the rest of his life.”

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Birthday Buddies

I reached into the fragrant green tree and hooked a mirror ornament onto a branch. Then I stood back to see how my addition looked. It was perfect! An hour before, my brother had authoritatively deemed that since I was ALMOST ten-years-old, I could help trim our Christmas tree. My cheeks hurt from smiling, but I couldn’t stop. I felt so happy. After weeks of waiting Christmas was finally here…and this year I could enjoy it with special privileges. Continue reading