Appalachia Granny


Granny Gazzie with flower

In Appalachia Grannies are famous for their healing, cooking, sewing, gardening, and for their sometimes quirky ways and funny sayings. I grew up with a dear sweet Granny named Gazzie. She fit the bill for the typical Granny characteristics. Gazzie was famous for her Sunday dinners with potatoes shaped like boats, her biscuits, her stick candy and her crocheting. She was also someone who didn’t put up with nonsense and showed no pity for anyone who hurt those she loved.

My girls are fortunate to have a Granny too. Their Granny (Gazzie’s youngest daughter) is famous for her green beans, crocheting, gardening, sewing, and for her strange, ridiculous, funny and precious sayings. As I post some of both my Granny’s sayings and quirky ways of doing things I hope you too will post things about your Granny.

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  • Reply
    Susan Robinson
    October 30, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    Just found you today, Tipper, and I’ve been loving this blog!! My former mother-in-law who was born in 1910 always said when she was sick, that she had ‘the epizootic. Have you ever heard that before??

    • Reply
      October 30, 2021 at 8:47 pm

      Susan-thank you! I have heard that! I have a post about it on here-you can search for it and find it 🙂

    • Reply
      November 8, 2021 at 4:22 pm

      Whenever someone was sick, my daddy would always say,” They’ve got the epizootus”. We thought it was a word he made up! Imagine my surprise when I read epizootic in a book! I guess epizootus was his own special twist on the word. My children grew up using it,too.

    • Reply
      Jackie Edwards
      November 30, 2021 at 11:00 pm

      This has been a saying in my family for several generations!

  • Reply
    October 29, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    My grandma did not like the women on the “Hee Haw” television show. She called them “Rips”. Have you ever heard that before? I wish we had ask her why she used that word. She would say, “ That girl’s a rip”.

    • Reply
      October 29, 2021 at 3:19 pm

      Doreen-I have heard that! My husband uses it frequently 🙂

  • Reply
    Tammy Scott
    September 21, 2021 at 6:04 pm

    My late, Appalachian born and bred granny, Reba Irene, was quite a woman. She was whip smart, knew how to cook anything, make anything, and fix anything; and she always seemed to know what to do with me when I was little and got hurt or sick. Often it was a home cure that sounded really crazy but worked. She knew so many things, I guess, because of where and how she grew up, and because she was a single mother who learned to live on her wits.

  • Reply
    Ray Presley
    August 18, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    My Mother would make us cut our own switches, and naturally we’d cut short, ineffective ones at first. It often took us several tries to get a Momma-approved stick. She’d draw a circle and tell us not to come out and then begin licks around the lower legs, which was more aggravating than painful. Unless, of course, we sassed back and then received a more intense switching

    • Reply
      joseph vickery
      August 31, 2021 at 11:23 pm

      I’ve done the “circle dance” many, may, time. lol

    • Reply
      John Hearn
      December 30, 2021 at 7:08 am

      Now I know where my mother got that , go get a switch.

  • Reply
    Karen Mohn
    August 8, 2021 at 9:21 am

    Hi Tipper,
    I found your family on U-Tube and like you I am very much into our family, history, heritage, and the area we live in.
    I was born and raised in Berks County, Penna and thought I’d share a superstition I heard from my Nana when I was little back in the 1950’s. She would say if you eat a banana and then go to bed you will die in your sleep. To this day I don’t eat bananas as a bedtime snack. And a Berks County saying that you hear around here is “the hurrier I go the behinder I get”.
    Nice sharing with you. Am looking forward to getting your blog

  • Reply
    Ray Presley
    March 15, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    We always depended on my Paternal Grandmother (Maam) to fix our cuts and sore throats. She’d always come up with a “poultice” (often a piece of flannel infused with camphor to place on our chests for colds and congestion.) For cuts she would pull out a can of black salve that we kids swore was used on the axles of hay wagons. Her remedies, although effective, were often dreaded, especially the castor oil. We learned to avoid complaining unless we were really hurting.

    • Reply
      March 25, 2021 at 8:53 pm

      I remember having a piece of flannel pinned to my pajama top after my Mom would rub Vick’s VaporRub on my chest. I hated the smell. Today, however, I love the smell. As soon as I start feeling bad and start with wheezing I rub some on. It always makes me feel better.

    • Reply
      Donna Allison
      June 12, 2021 at 6:33 pm

      Qumarinding is what my mawmaw would use

  • Reply
    William J. Boone
    February 3, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    My Mom-Mom and I share the same birthday, March 2, so there seemed to be a special bond between us. She was 43 when I was born and I was blessed to have 50 years with her. She was not a church-going woman, partly because she was almost totally deaf. She wore a hearing aid in the ear that worked some, but even then you had to shout at her to be heard, She understood better by when she could read your lips. No formal church, but she had a deep faith, led her life as a good Christian should and imparted so much moral truth to all her grandchildren, mostly through example. As she aged, she got some arthritis in her fingers so they had knots and little crooked places, but that never stopped her from her from caring for her family. To me, they were the most beautiful hands I ever saw. She would often say to me “Joe, it’s hell to get old” and, 1 month from 70, I know exactly what she meant. On her death bed, very close to the end, we were alone and I asked her “Mom-Mom, are you scared?”. “No” was her soft, but firm answer and I knew she’d be alright.
    She’ll be gone twenty years this June.

  • Reply
    Delores West
    February 3, 2021 at 1:41 pm

    One of my Grandmother’s died when my Dad was a child. He remarried but she never gave a hoot about us kids. The other Grandmother had so many Grandchildren that we were just another kid.. But, I am writing to tell you that I did have a lady that lived up the road from us that took the Grandmother role upon her shoulders. When we first moved down the road from her she wasn’t all that friendly and would charge us a dime to use the phone. But, the longer we new her the better it got. She quit charging us to use the phone and started talking to us more. She would listen to our problems and we would even cry on her shoulder from time to time (life was hard at home)
    To make a long story short, I still cannot think about her without tearing up. I wish I could go back and tell her how much we loved her and appreciated her ear. She was a blessing to us and neither her nor us knew it at the time. That lady’s name was Rhoda (Blanks) Greer in Rock Island, TN

    • Reply
      September 23, 2021 at 8:28 pm

      Ms. Dolores I’d bet my bottom dollar Ms. Rhoda knows how much you love and cherish the memories you two shared. I hope that you were able to pass that love and caring she showed you onto a deserving child or friend.

  • Reply
    Alexis Mohr
    February 3, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    Hi Tipper,

    I was just looking for a button to sew on my blouse and I remembered that my mother would nearly panic if she saw me sew a blouse I was wearing. “Don’t ever sew a garment you’re wearing. It’s bad luck. Take it off to sew it.” My mother was from Middletown, Pennsylvania.

    I knew a fellow from upstate New York who sometimes responded to “How are you? with this comment: “I’m sick abed and layin’ across two chairs.”

  • Reply
    Renee McCurry
    January 28, 2021 at 11:51 am

    I am so excited I have found your YouTube channel and blog. I too am from Appalachia. I have done my family tree and I am convinced God took the dirt from these mountains and put my people here because they have been here as far back as I can go for many of my lines. The others have been here for hundreds of years. I several years ago started writing down things my Little Nanny would say, stories she told me, and foods she made. You mentioned dried green beans in one video. Some people call them leather britches, but Nanny called them shuck beans. But thank you for preserving our “mountain ways” and the language and accent. I love these mountains and the people in it. There is no place else in this world like it.

    • Reply
      P. J. Varner
      April 28, 2021 at 9:03 am

      From SW Virginia in the Great Appalachians! Dried beans were known as ‘shuck’ or ‘shuckie’ beans. For someone who was ‘traipsing’ around, Mother would say “She’s a Pat and Turner”, or the person was ‘patting the streets and turning the corner’. Never heard it anywhere else but in the mountains.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2020 at 10:14 am

    My dad’s mom (Meechie) used to tell us kids to quit our ‘runnin’ and a heavin’ and a settin’ when we were running around the house. You also got the mollygubs when you pouted.

    My mom’s mom was Granny, and she’d say things like ‘don’t get no big lot’ like from the store, and plural for cheese was ‘them cheeses’. Always and it drove my mom crazy lol.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2020 at 9:52 am

    Over the weekend we planted Granny’s tomatoes for her. When she came out onto the porch to watch us she saw Chatter laying on the ground. Granny said “Lord get up off that ground you’ll have bugs crawling all over you!” Chatter said “Oh no I won’t and they won’t hurt me no way.” Granny about came down off the porch and made her get up 🙂

  • Reply
    John Hart
    February 1, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    My Gandmomma Hart was a special person, even though she lived in Holly Hill, SC (almost in the low country). We visited a lot on weekends. One of my favorite meals was what I thought as hamburger patties, rice, gravy, and vegetables. It was years later (after her death) I learned the patties were venison!

  • Reply
    November 13, 2019 at 8:36 am

    We decided to do Christmas lists for our present exchange at Granny’s this year. That way it would easier for the shopper and the receiver would get something they truly wanted or needed. Granny’s list was really short: “Money. You all know Granny loves the green stuff.” We’ve all got a good laugh over that one 🙂

  • Reply
    July 23, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    Granny made peach jelly today. I made peach jelly about a week or so ago from peaches she insisted I have. This evening she was trying to give me a jar of peach jelly. I said “No I don’t need it you keep it. Remember I made jelly too.” Never missing a beat Granny said “Well how do you know mine ain’t better than yours?” 🙂

    • Reply
      Angelyn Mclain
      October 9, 2021 at 1:56 pm

      That made me laugh out loud! I love it!

    • Reply
      December 29, 2021 at 12:49 pm

      I have heard my family say “yourn” as in “Well, how do you know mine ain’t better than yourn!”

  • Reply
    April 23, 2019 at 12:06 am

    Whenever one of us grandkids was up for a spanking, granny would say, let’s go outside and go round and round rosy, she would get a switch and grab our hand and walk you in circles while getting swated with the switch, I can’t wait to see her again.

    • Reply
      Marcia Walden
      July 7, 2019 at 8:59 pm

      Haha! My Gram always told us when we were misbehaving, “you’re gonna git a lickin’”

    • Reply
      January 13, 2021 at 2:38 pm

      My mother would do the same with me. She would always ask for my hand and I would always put it out and pull it back because I knew what was coming but she would always say if she had to come and get it the whooopin would be worse. She was right! LOL.

    • Reply
      Wanda in NC
      August 18, 2021 at 10:38 am

      My Granny would say “Go cut me a hickory, and not no little soft one, either. Get a stout one.” I can’t even remember what I did wrong because she was not a mean person at all, and my punishment wasn’t as bad as she made out.

    • Reply
      Ray Presley
      August 18, 2021 at 4:45 pm

      My Mother would make us cut our own switches, and naturally we’d cut short, ineffective ones at first. It often took us several tries to get a Momma-approved stick. She’d draw a circle and tell us not to come out and then begin licks around the lower legs, which was more aggravating than painful. Unless, of course, we sassed back and then received a more intense switching

  • Reply
    Beth Rollins
    August 31, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    I always called my grandmother ‘Mom’. She was my lifelong best friend and kindred spirit. My love of books and reading came from her. She was also a wonderful storyteller. I loved hearing about her early childhood and the WW2 years when everything was rationed and everyone grew victory gardens. She was so much fun to be with, loved to laugh and was a mean Rook player too. She’d take us “loaferin'” every chance we got. She’d put a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and apples in a grocery sack for a cheap snack on the road. My favorite saying of hers was “we have champagne taste and a beer pocket book”. She passed in 2005 and I still miss her everyday.

  • Reply
    Don Davidson
    August 20, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    I was lucky enough to have a whole passel of grannies growing up. My mom’s mom, Grandma Casey, my dad’s mom, Grandma Davidson, our next door neighbor, Granny Sielert ( no relation, but she’d turn us over checkered apron in a minute if we needed it!). Then there Grandma Ward, an older cousin of my dad’s who was more a mother to him, than his own mom. Grandma Casey, when surprised about something would say, “Well, i’ll Swan!” Or “Well, i’ll Swan to goodness!” Granny Siliert would threaten a spanking by tell us she was going to turn us over her checkered apron. And when she wanted you to hurry, she’d tell us to get a wiggle on Lucy! They were all four women who had seen all that life had to offer, and who have their lives to the fullest.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2018 at 8:16 am

    The other evening I was talking to Granny and Paul and it was looking stormy. Granny kept telling me I better go home before it started storming, but Paul and me kept talking. Finally Granny said “Tipper I’m begging you to go home before it starts storming” and I said okay okay and left. You can probably tell Granny doesn’t do storms 🙂 But she does love me!

  • Reply
    April 1, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    The girls have had the flu this week. Although I haven’t come down with it, I’ve tried to stay away from Granny just in case I’m about to. The flu would be really hard on her. When I talked to her yesterday she said “Now listen. You tell the girls if they go any where next week when they get to feeling better they better dress warm. If they don’t they’re liable to take a backset.

  • Reply
    Donna Isaac
    March 1, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    Loved my Mamaw dearly! Check out some of my poems in my first ever book of poetry: Footfalls by Pocahontas Press. Here’s one about her:
    This gentle woman is in the kitchen, preparing supper in the summer heat. I follow her out to the back screened porch. Her hands are soft and white and strong, a pattern of freckles on the backs. She hefts a silver bucket filled with bluefish and deftly plucks forth a slippery one. With a mallet, she bashes the fish’s head. With a thin knife she saws behind the flipping gills until the head comes off, eyes surprised. She scrapes off silvery scales, like the half-moons on her fingernails. Gutting the bluish body, she piles up soft meat on bloody newsprint. After all the fish face this trial, she takes the fresh fillets into the kitchen, breads them in soft crumbs, and fries a mess in a cast iron pan. Then I watch her knead and roll out bread dough, handing her ingredients from the Hoosier cabinet. Her fingers squeeze and pound the white, glutinous mass. The backs of her arms jiggle as she works the dough into a round loaf. Her hands are whirring birds. I am in love with this woman.

    • Reply
      August 20, 2021 at 2:00 pm

      That is really lovely: such powerful sensory imagery:)

  • Reply
    January 20, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Granny cracked Paul and me up the day it snowed. She said “I’m telling you we’re going to be socked in.” I tried to tell her it wasn’t going to amount to much, but she wouldn’t have it. I was hoping it did snow so I’d get out of work. Paul said “Well according to weather woman Granny you’ll get your wish.” It didn’t snow a lot, but I did get out of work.

  • Reply
    Janice Chapman
    February 3, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    My Mamaw was a dour woman, although we could always make her laugh when we were little. She came to live with my folks, and she didn’t always see eye to eye with my mother (her daughter-in-law) who loved “the arts”. The first time she saw a ballet on TV at our house, Rudolph Nureyev was dancing and when she saw him leaping around she shook her head and said “Well, he’s just showin’ out.” She also “warshed, renched and dreened” her dishes. She made the very best chocolate pie I’ve ever eaten and I do miss her. She was almost 98 when she died 22 years ago.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Granny is always worrying about somebody taking a bad cold. Today the girls went to the gym to swim and Granny is convinced they will be sick. She said “Nobody ought to swim in the wintertime.” I said “It’s inside they have a dome they cover the pool with during the winter. It keeps it really warm.” She said “That don’t matter nobody ought to go swimming in the winter or they’ll take a bad cold.”

    • Reply
      Susie Etheridge
      January 9, 2018 at 1:48 pm

      I love to hear the things our Granny’s say, knowing the heart and hearts they come from….and to have been so benefited, by the things their hands have provided…my husband has a sock hat his ”Mammy” gave him for Christmas 38 years ago…..he loves to go running/hiking…, and though he has lots of other sock hats, he loves to put ”that” one on,,,,:)

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    November 30, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Oh my, oh my, such a host of spunky grandmothers remembered here. And so many memories.
    My Grandma Della Carter Stephens Bruce (she was married twice) was only about 5 foot 4 inches or so tall with brown eyes and dark brown, nearly black hair which she wore in a braid wrapped around her head. We think she was part Indian. As a single mother during the Depression she walked miles through the woods to do people’s laundry for fifty cents. To help feed her four children she took up squirrel hunting, carrying the overalls she wore under her arm until she got out of sight in the woods. Besides being a hunter, she was a gatherer of wild fruits and herbs of all kinds, walking a mile or more from home to gather huckleberries, blackberries, peaches, walnuts, hickory nuts and greens. And then she had about a half-acre of garden which she tended with just a hoe except for the initial plowing. It was far more than she needed for just herself but she gave it away first as fresh vegetables then as canned goods.
    My two favorite things that she fixed was a chewy gingerbread and dry apple stack cake. One or the other, sometimes both, could usually be found under the cake cover on top of the old wooden Gibson ice box. But she also made the grandboys shirts out of the cotton feed sacks. She wouldn’t give just one of us one. She had to have one for both my brother and I before we got it. I was baptised in 1966 in a blue and white gingham shirt she made for me.
    One of her expressions was to say of someone’s bad judgment that they would “suck sweet sorrow” as a consequence. She said “hope” for “help” as in “Law, if I’d a knowed you was a doing that I’d a come over and hoped ye.”
    She hoed her garden in the mornings for two or three hours. Once when a visiting preacher was staying with us, across the hollow from her place, she was mistaken and hoed the garden on Sunday morning. When we told her, she looked thunderstruck and said, “Law, don’t tell the preacher.” In the main though, she was rather quiet and unemotional.
    When she died at age 92 I think it was, her hair was still not yet completely gray. I miss her. She was as good as gold to my brother and I. God grant than I may leave as many and as good memories with my own grandchildren.

  • Reply
    Frank Waller
    October 2, 2016 at 7:30 am

    My granny Minnie Daniels built their own cabin in eastern Kentucky, she made her own medicines and when we got sick she took care of us. I remember she mad something that we called “poo poo’ salve because that is what it looked like. If you got any kind of wound she would smear that on and next thing you know the wound would be gone. She drank only Sassafrass Tea and she called buttermilk “clabbered milk”
    I used to sit on her lap and comb her hair, which reached past her waist. She had the greatest stories that she would tell me. She smoked a clay pipe and sometimes corncob if we didn’t have the money.
    She wore sunbonnets and made the greatest quilts which we would take to town and sale to the people there. There wasn’t much my granny couldn’t do and I am not young anymore but I still think of her.

  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    September 1, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    I seen and I never seen were common phrases when I was growing up. Teachers tried to teach us not to use them, my grandma W and my mommy never stopped using them,
    If we got a new toy, perhaps a hula hoop, we would take to the farm on Sunday afternoon. We would show my Grandma W. Her response was invariably the same, “Why, I ne’er seen the like,”
    I wonder what she would think of all the games and apps on our tablet and phones. Music, CDs, DVDs and so many things would astound her!

  • Reply
    August 20, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Granny was telling me and Paul about something the other day and she said “You know he’s like that Duracell Easter bunny he just keeps a-going.”

  • Reply
    Dedra Cook
    February 2, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Tipper as I get older and my Mother gets older I think of my dear sweet Granny more often. I miss her sweet little round face.Her little black curls and big beautiful brown eyes. She always made you feel like you were her favorite grandchild. We lived about four hours away when I was younger from my Granny. But when we would go to the mountains to see her she always had a double layered chocolate cake made just for me. I remember waking up in the morning smelling bacon cooking and her humming a gospel song. I wish I had appreciated that special time when I was younger. I wish I would have really listened to all of her stories. She was a wonderful Grandmother and I can’t wait to see her again when I get to the other side of glory.If we can teach our children anything about growing up, it is to enjoy the little things in life because those are usually the most important things in the world and it is the small things that you remember the most.

  • Reply
    October 31, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Unusual for me to be home alone-especially all night-but I will be tonight. I was down at Granny and Pap’s earlier. When I was leaving Granny said “Now I’m going to walk out on the porch so I can see you get home. And you call me as soon as you get in the house.”
    In years gone by that would have annoyed me, but not now. I said “OK” and started up the hill. I smiled all the way home at Granny watching out for her 45 year old daughter and believing she could stop anything that tried to harm me by simply watching when she can’t hardly get out of the house anymore. What a blessing to be loved.

    • Reply
      Susie Etheridge
      January 9, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      A Blessing Indeed….. one we can pass on to our children, it’s a gift that keeps on giving…. and may we be ever so grateful for where that love springs from ……..

    • Reply
      Robin Daniel
      September 4, 2018 at 10:06 am

      Ohhhh what a great story! I can remember decades ago driving to swim practice – I was 17, I knew everything, and I was invincible, but my mom insisted I call home when I got there. There were no cell phones so I had to use the swim team office phone – oh the horror! I would call – and as soon as someone picked up the phone they would hear “It’s me and I am here” – CLICK …. . Fast forward 40 years, I was now a mom, and Mom (Nana) and Dad (Papa) would take off somewhere – or be out late, I would insist “Now call me when you get there!” The phone would ring – I would answer and hear “It’s me and I’m here.” LOL – Thank you for sharing your memories and sparking mine!

    • Reply
      February 20, 2019 at 12:41 pm

      So true .. 🙂

    • Reply
      Mimi Debbie
      September 12, 2020 at 5:05 pm

      This one warmed my heart so much. We lived next door to my Parents-In-Law for a few years back in the early 1990’s. We had a path worn in the high grassy field between the houses. I can remember our then toddler girls running to her house as I watched and then reversed on their way back home. We didn’t know it at the time but those were some fine memories we were making! Both sets of our parents have long since passed on to the other side and we miss them so very much!

  • Reply
    September 17, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    For Shirla— to make butter, there is more than one way. Scoop cream off and put it in a jar, shake it, it will separate and ready when see the yellow blobs in the milk. Then what you can do is wash it with cold water, using a paddle or spatulas to squeeze out any excess milk which will make it go rancid faster (this wouldn’t be an issue in a big family with a lot of younguns).
    For cultured, what I did was scoop out cream, pour about 1/3 cup of sour milk or butter milk in it, set on counter until thickened and then churn or shake in jar (today can use mixer but not food processor as it warms the cream past desired 60 degrees and it doesn’t separate). Then repeat straining and rinsing the butter.
    Another way for cultured butter is if you have milk Kerr grains, make kefir first, then pour in about 1/3 of a cup of kefir per quart jar. Set out on counter until it is about 60 degrees then repeat process to churn it.
    The buttermilk from cultured butter is the best! Save 1/3 jar of it each time for starter (after drank down, always keep that much. Then set it out on counter pour in milk (best way to use up what was left after making fresh butter), cover with cheesecloth or think cloth like floor sack (keeps bugs out) and leave it til thick then put lid on and refrigerate.
    My grandmother loved to set a jar of fresh milk on the counter and let it clabber up to drink it.

  • Reply
    Kathy Raper
    September 11, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    I am so glad I found your site!I am in north Mississippi;maybe not in Appalachia but I hold the same values.I am now a great grandmother and hope that my grands and greats have the same fond memories that the people here are writing about.I never had a grandmother.I know what I missed by reading these posts.God bless you all.

  • Reply
    Elaine Allman Coulter
    July 31, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    I just found your page after “googling” icicle pickle recipes. I’ve now wasted quite a bit of time :), enjoying all the links, music, memories and recipes you have so graciously shared. I especially smiled with the stories of Granny’s comment about “pineys”. The year before my husband’s 93 year old mother died, we talked with her as much and often as we could. One story she told us that when she was a young girl they weren’t allowed to say peony. Because it sounded like “pee”. So they always called them “pineys”. Miss her lots now.
    Thanks for sharing your heritage

    • Reply
      Edna E Fields
      March 2, 2019 at 9:54 am

      I am glad to know about “pineys”. My mother-in-law and sisters-in-law in Southern Indiana (Daviess County) called their peonies “pineys”, and I never knew why.

      • Reply
        Leslie Rodgers
        May 22, 2020 at 1:55 pm

        My mamaw and papaw in Vincennes (Knox County) Indiana called them pineys too.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 1, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    After the Jonquils came into full bloom one early Spring, I remember my Granny standing on the porch. Her big pocket apron on. Her favorite one that went around the neck and tied in the back at the waist…Holding a cloth handkerchief in her hand and with the other hand holding on to the porch column, she shouted to my Mom, who was in the yard inspecting the Spring flowers…”Those “white pinies” (peonies) will soon be bloomin’! You’d better dig you up a bunch of ’em and take to Tennessee for they shore need divid’in!”
    Mom didn’t dig any up until early Fall for she knew that they would transplant better….
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Julie Hughes
    November 7, 2014 at 10:26 am

    My Granny was something. She was kind, strong, and did not allow foolishness to interfere with work. She made the best everything to me. Many times when I am overwhelmed with work and life I think of what she told me when I had one of the first of many great life disappointments. “Sis”, she would say, “you have more metal in a minute than they have all day”. Thank you Granny, that has perked me up many times during my life. This post is for you. Martha Watsie Pedigo Hughes 1908-1994

  • Reply
    November 6, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Granny recently taught the girls how to crotchet. They’ve both made a scarf. Once Granny seen what they were capable of she told them “I was going to make you a sweater for Christmas. Now I’ll just start it and you can finish it up. That will save me a lot of time.”

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    October 9, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    ask Granny if she ever made an
    “Apple Buckle”….I know blueberry is the most common.
    I think I made one except didn’t have the crispy topping on it, when I thought it was a quick cobbler…because I added more milk flour and sugar to the base before pouring in the fruit and the mixture came up through the fruit like a cake….so must be a buckle!
    I recall ever seeing a buckle recipe on your blog, Tipper…did I miss it?

  • Reply
    Maggie Galliher
    October 6, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    I have so enjoyed this treasury of granny stories, but Tipper, your story of the canning jars made my day! I came away with a delightful image of your granny. Thanks–all of you–for sharing.

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    June 12, 2014 at 10:13 am

    B.Ruth-I’m sorry the wind broke your plants!! We were lucky-didn’t get any wind just lots of rain! Pap said he didn’t know if your idea would work-he’d just let nature take its course : ) Wonder if you could cut the broke leaves off down near the bottom of the plant and hopefully more would grow?

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    b. Ruth
    June 12, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Was goin’ to ask Granny or Pap or you Tipper,
    My squash plants got several broken stems the other evening during (what has now been recorded as a 0-F tornado by the National Weather Service, which means 80 MPH winds), bent the plants over as well. I wonder if I could cover the hollow stems with platic wrap and put a rubber band to hold them so the next rain or insects will not crawl down into them and rot the main stem and kill the plants…I was sick as my squash plants were just beautiful and full of blooms and baby squash! Did either of you’all ever hear of it?
    Thanks Tipper

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    rebecca brandt
    May 4, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    you should be puttin these songs on CD’s and selling them thru your site.

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    rebecca brandt
    May 4, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    love this site. These are my peoples people

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    April 28, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    So many posters talk about snow cream and it seems most think it is a mountain folk kind of thing. I never saw a mountain until I was grown but we had snow cream. We too were very poor and so a special treat made with such simple ingredients was wonderful. My parents were older when they had kids. Sometimes friends thought my mother was my grandmother. Anyway, when two of us were arguing, my mother would say,”the pot can’t call the kettle black”, which meant both were equally guilty. If you were thinking of doing something to get back at some one the words were ” don’t cut off your nose to spit your face” which meant you will be sorry. Thanks for all the delightful reading. I didn’t really have grand parents and it seems I missed a lot.

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    April 24, 2014 at 10:17 am

    I have been looking for someone to sell me some fresh cow’s milk for about 35 years. My neighbor and dear friend owned a dairy farm and was not allowed to sell the milk to individuals due to government regulations. No matter how hard I begged, he still refused. Imagine my excitement when my daughter’s friend sent me a gallon. I immediately started the “clabber” process to make my butter. I left the jar on a table in my sunroom for about 12 hours, where it was about 75 degrees. The cream never separated as I remember it did when Mom made butter. I still tried to churn it. Since a churn was not available, I used a Pampered Chef pitcher that has something similar to a churn’s dasher. After 15-20 minutes of churning, I got less than 1/4 cup of butter. What did I do wrong? Did the plastic container prevent the milk from clabbering? Mom used to say the milk was ‘blue john’ when it was ready to churn. Have you ever heard it called that?

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    b. Ruth
    December 9, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Now that we have that “hard rock candy” recipe, I was wondering if?
    Does Granny or any member of your family or you have a good recipe for fruit cake? I really don’t want one that takes the whole dried or candied friut stand. LOL Maybe one with, our Appalachian fruits, candied cherries, dried apples, and Black Walnuts…You know one that doesn’t weigh a ton and is not dry as toast!…I remember my Aunt in Canton making one that would melt in your mouth…not dry or heavy but moist with bits of fruit and nuts in it…I thought Mom had a recipe but the ones I have found were like mine, too full of candied red, green cherries, pineapple, etc. etc. and not enough liquid to make it moist…I know, I know that most folks loaded those dry cakes down, (especially here in the South) with Brandy or Rum…but I want one that is moist without the strong stuff!
    Thanks Tipper, Your friend and hungry Christmas treat gooroo!

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    b. Ruth
    November 10, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Does Granny have a recipe for Hard rock candy…Maybe the one that is in long sticks, then snipped in bite size pieces and rolled in powdered sugar (to keep from sticking) recipe….

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    b. Ruth
    November 9, 2013 at 8:02 am

    I don’t know what made me think of this…Maybe it was looking out the window and seeing the frost on top of the green truck, or the leaves on the Hickory that were gold last Monday and are now a peanut butter brown…LOL
    I also so some smoke rising from the bottom of the hill, I guess someone that way has a fire in the woodstove.
    My Grandmother would make me peanut butter toast on a wood fed little black stove…To this day I am not sure how she did it. For every time I got thru the dining room to the kitchen, the toast was sitting in the pan on the stove. I never once caught her cooking/baking it. She loved it fixed this way and thought I would too, as children love peanut butter…and I did. I have tried to fix it here in my electric stove, but cannot! I had the most unusal flavor but good, sort of like roasted peanuts but with toast…I was too young to think of asking her how she did it or if there was a special recipe for it…Lost forever only in my memory!
    Thanks Tipper,

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    October 3, 2013 at 5:37 am

    My great grandmother, aka “Granny” was to me the strongest person I have ever know. As a child she was amazing to me. She was sweet and kind but defiantly not a women to be messed with. I remember the old house where she lived as if I where there yesterday, the back room full of mason jars, the old gas heaters and the front porch was the gathering place on a warm summers day. The saying that I remember most was “heavens to mergatroy”, when something upset her. I miss her everyday and I dedicate this to her, Sadie Salome Smith 1915-2005

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    Eldonna Ashley
    September 29, 2013 at 7:31 am

    My Grandma W. had lots of sayings. My favorite: If anyone did something that she disapproved of she said, “We’ll, I guess they’re just as happy as if they had good sense.”
    She cooked a big hot meal for dinner at noon. Leftovers would get “het up” for supper.
    The time between dinner and supper was called “evening.” EXAMPLE: Bill came came by this evening, but he wouldn’t stay for supper.

    • Reply
      April 3, 2019 at 9:30 am

      “Het up” Being told not to get het up.
      Meaning “Don’t lose your temper.”
      South West Scotland expression.
      That’s ma hame.

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    JJ Lewis
    September 2, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Well Tipper, here I am blogging about one of my Grannie’s when I was trying to find a recipe for Pear Preserves like hers! I am so excited with this site….it DOES make me GRIN from ear to ear! I was blessed to have three Godly Grannies and have such good memories of each one. As I sit here watching my chickens scratching around in the garden, I think about my Great Grandma (though we said, “Grandmaw”) living ON the Blue Ridge Parkway, (they sold some of it to the WPA when they were building it….)Her “Outhouse”…was decorated with an old wash bowl and pitcher, curtains on a tiny window, and a Sears & Roebuck catalog along side….the rooster crowing SO early in the morning as I snuggled down under the old feather tick. She would be in the kitchen building a fire in the cook stove. I miss the smells from the wood, her flitters, and bacon frying…oh my – I’m getting real nostalgic here!!! When she would call us in, we would ‘spread’ the table, sometimes ‘set’ was used. It was always on an old oil cloth tablecloth. She was a special woman who loved us and loved the Lord. Everyone knew it too!
    Thank you for this website!

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    June 15, 2013 at 7:41 am

    The whole Blind Pig Gang has fell in love with the music of Pokey LaFarge and The South City Three. The other day the girls were down at Granny and Pap’s, and Pap was listening to their version of The Devil Ain’t Lazy. Chitter said Granny looked over at her and said “The Devil ain’t lazy but Granny is.”

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    Marcie Shaw
    February 10, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Whenever I would act up as a kid my Granny would always say “Now Marcie your Dennis is showing.” This was her way of letting me know that I was being as stubborn and mule headed as the rest of the clan and she was losing patience with me. I love her and sure miss her now that I am a mom. I wish my son could of gotten to know her.

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    Teresa Lynn Menendez
    January 31, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    My Mamaw taught me many things…a lot just by just watching her like a hawk. She’s passed on, but etched in my mind is a picture of her hands rolling biscuits and placing them in the pan like they were fragile as a newborn. I watched those same hands sew (a tiny apron for me!), make medicine, wash clothes, wring a chicken’s neck, and even kill a snake with a brick in her hand. Talk about superheros–Annie Mae Rollins was mine. P.S. I say Miller

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    January 11, 2013 at 7:56 am

    A priceless memory comes to me when I hear the word Granny. Once as a small child I sat in the living room at a large family gathering. Across from me was a very elderly woman who engaged me in a strange conversation about Christmas. I seemed to be the only human in that large group who actually would listen to her. Thanks to my raising with respect to elderly, I sat there and listened quietly to this old lady’s rantings. Frail and thin, her voice was strong with Appalachian dialect. She told me of all the useless gifts people got her each Christmas, and especially rebuked a daughter-in-law who, “never gits me anything I like.” Later on in life, I realized this was my one meeting with my great Grandmother “Gramma Tory”, otherwise known as Victoria Elizabeth Emmarie Ardelia Williams. We children would recite all the names as a proud accomplishment. She was known for being spunky and plainspoken. She raised a large family with a trifling husband, and walked or rode a horse everywhere. Born in 1874, this lady never had a luxury.
    I sat there as a child not realizing this was a Grandmother, and she did not seem to know nor care that I was a Grandchild. A moment in time that still haunts me. Priceless!

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    January 2, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    I live in the mountain of East Tennessee (tellico plains) and have also been blessed with many mamaws. While all haven’t taught me things, my great mamaw walker reminds me of your grannies. She was born in robbinsville in 1920 and has passed me plenty of wisdom. She’s an awesome woman who still gets up every Saturday mornin to make her world famous biscuits and gravy for the entire walker clan ( we’re pushing over 50 if we’re all together) my most favorite Sayin is “don’t be like the rabbit who’s been pricked by the entire briar patch” haha. Thankfully we start young where I’m from or my daughter wouldn’t get to grow up with her great great mamaw walker and keep the wisdom flowin through the generations. Glad I stumbled across your site 🙂

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    November 27, 2012 at 11:02 am

    So glad I found your site, as a young’n I spent many a happy summer on my Uncle’s farm (old home place)just north of Weaverville, in WNC.
    Reading some of these stories here takes me back to those times, and how truly special they were.
    Some of my best memories were watching my Granny cooking on a wood stove and wondering how she knew how much wood to chunk in it to get it to the right temp to cook her fluffy “Cat Head” biscuits.

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    October 20, 2012 at 10:23 am

    My “Mama” had two sayings that I’ll always remember but have never heard elsewhere. If we were hanging around in the house on a nice day: “Mess and gom, mess and Gom — all you children do is mess and gom and I don’t have time to clean up after you.”
    And the other, to let us mean she meant business after asking us to do something and we tarried: “You don’t believe cow horns will hook, do you?” A threat that there would be consequences if we didn’t do it NOW. 🙂

    • Reply
      January 29, 2021 at 9:07 pm

      Hi Robert, A lot of time has passed since you posted your comment on October 20, 2012. Incidentally October 20th is my birthday. Perhaps you will come upon this reply. “Gom” is a variant spelling of “gaum,” which means smear or smudge. This fits in perfectly with your Mama’s complaint that she didn’t have time to clean up after you. I love her comment about cow horns. I miss my grandmother terrible and didn’t realize until many years after her death that she and my grandfather were a storehouse of wisdom and rich experience. Thank you.

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    October 15, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    i grew up in nw pennsylvania and remember my gramma making bread and cookies before anyone else was out of bed she said she loved the quiet and couldnt sleep any way

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    October 5, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Hi! I stumbled upon your blog while looking for anyone else that had ever eaten cornbread and milk. I’m from south of Pittsburgh, and could remember sitting on my pap’s knee while he watched Tv, and he’d always share little bites with me. Also, seeing a picture of your grannie just made me think of my own. She had the exact sweater your Granny is wearing, even posed for pictures with her flowers, and I can remember baking with her in the kitchen and wearing those hair caps. I’m not from Appalachia but I know my pap was born in Kentucky. My grandma was born here, but she certainly had her own grannyisms. “Well, hell’s fire!” I had freckles, and she teased me one time telling me that little girls got freckles from standing too close behind a cow! Such a wonderful site, and as many others already noted..brought real happiness to me, thinking of my gran.

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    September 18, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Over the weekend, me and Chitter helped Granny empty some of her old canning jars. Chitter was unscrewing lids and dumping old food while I washed jars in a bucket. Chitter said “Granny this jar looks good are you sure I should dump it?” Granny said “Yes honey that came from a lady whose food I don’t trust.” I said “well then why didn’t you tell her you didn’t need it?” Granny said “well I thought it would be worth the effort of pouring the food out to get the jar.”

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    September 11, 2012 at 11:37 am

    My Granny is my inspiration!

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    Jim Casada
    August 30, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Shirla–I have at least a partial solution for your hornet problem. If you have access to a good long cane pole of the kind that used to be common fishing tools, wrap the little end of it with a bunch of old rags and give them a good soaking of kerosene (not gas!). Wait until it is completely dark and light your smudge. It should smoke like nobody’s business. Stick it up right at the hole into the nest, which will be at or very near the bottom, and let the smoke do the rest. Be sure to wait until full dark, not first dark (if you are familiar with that old mountain term) so all the hornets will be home. That should do the trick, and you’ll know for sure the next day.
    Jim Casada
    P. S. If you fish, the larva of hornets in the making are mighty fine bait.

    • Reply
      July 3, 2018 at 2:06 pm

      yes this works 4 sure did this the other night did not have any hornet spray 2 kill them with.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Shirla-Pap said he didnt know how best to advise you LOL! Unless you waited till cold weather to go after that thing youd be stung all over is what he said : )
    I hope you figure it out-let me know what you end up doing.

  • Reply
    August 16, 2012 at 9:08 am

    I have a question that might be better directed toward Pap. What is the best way to remove a huge hornet’s nest from a pear tree? Everybody tells me it’s the biggest one they have ever seen and it is built about 12-15 feet high. I know the bees will leave when it gets cold, but I can’t wait that long. I am afraid to mow around that area and definitely afraid to pick the pears. Maybe the bees will sting the squirrels when they try to rob this tree of it’s fruit like they have all the others. I hope so! Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.

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    July 9, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    My Mother was borned in 1917,in a small community of Fairview in Scott County ,Va.She was raised by relatives, because her own mother passed away giving birth to her 13th child.Mom gave birth to me, her only child, in July of 1957. I lived her life in the stories that she told me about life in the 20’s 30’s 40’s. How sad that I didn’t write down all the things that she told me about canning. I was looking for a good time to make Kraut, by using the Zodiac signs. I have found sites that tell me the best time is in the third quarter of the moon, when signs are in the head,neck,breast or heart. My cabbage is ready,so I am going to try to process it while the signs are in the head. I will let you know how it turns out

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    Barbara Taylor Woodall
    June 20, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Everyone called her “Granny Lou” because midwives were called granny women. She lived just above our house at pasture’s edge in a small shack with fake-brick siding. Cornfields grew right up to the yard’s edge. A pole fence surrounded the yard to keep out the cow’s manure that she called “cow pocketbooks.”
    I lurked for opportunity to sneak underneath the pasture gate towards her abode to become her shadow all day.
    I would make my way up shaky steps to an old screen door. Its holes were plugged with wads of cotton from aspirin bottles and favored a snowy Christmas card. A fly could have kicked it down and come on in. I grabbed the thread-spool knob and entered into the presence of my guardian angel.
    Her moon-shaped face and sharp cheekbones radiated with love, touching lives like pure dew on tender petals. A silver bun of shiny hair rested neatly on the top of her head, held in place with small, white hair combs. She only let it down at night to wash and comb. It always smelled like Listerine. Words of wisdom and the law of kindness were in her mouth.
    A homemade, tattered dress reaached downwards, touching the tops of dusty shoes with holes cut in the side to ease ailing corns. (Did you know angels get corns?) Tan, knee-high cloth stockings were held in place by elastic garters: she was against “bareleggedness”. Light blue eyes, like pools of flashing water, were beginning to dim as she sat in a wooden chair struggling to thread needles. “They make these durn things smaller every year. Somebody peeped through my ‘specks and stole the strengthoutof them”…..
    While in her company, I felt like the only person on earth who mattered…..

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    June 11, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Dearest Tipper,
    Just “lucked-up” on your website when searching for “pickled beans”. Would love to know where you’re from.I live in a little town called Sylva, NC. (western NC). My Appalachian roots run deep; raised by my precious granny who passed just over a year ago. What a wonderful woman she was! The Godliest woman I’ve ever known.She, at 95, was still my very best friend in the whole world. I learned so much from her, but realize I should’ve grasped even more. Boy, do I miss her! She was a “old-timey holiness” Church of God. She would wrap her hair up at night in toilet paper to keep it looking pretty. She’d say and do the funniest things, but nothing ever ugly. The only time I ever knew of her saying anything at all “out-of-the-way” was once when she got aggravated and said “shit,shit shit”! I still laugh about that. Just wanted to tell you I’m very excited to find you. Gonna’ try my hand at some ‘pickled beans’. I know an elderly gentleman who has been wanting some and I’m not sure how much more time he has here on earth. I just pray I can get them done for him before our Heavenly Father calls him home. Thanks again and may God richly bless you.

  • Reply
    June 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I came across your site while researching how to preserve squash. The stories about the grannies took me back to canning with my second mother in law, she taught me more than either of my grandmothers, one died while I was young and the other lived too far away. But Mawmaw showed me not only how to preserve almost all garden produce but also how to quilt and sew and a multitude of other skills that kept her family safe, warm and fed during the hard times.

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    April 30, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Lord help (one of my grandmother’s sayings) I could write a book about my Grandma Cecil. She was in the middle of five boys, so grew up thinking she could do anything they could do. She loved to tell stories. She told of picking cotton to support the family, leaving the baby at the end of the row, and pick down one row and on the next row would pick her way back. She told of making dolls for her girls out of scraps and that her only cash purchase one year was a 9-cent crochet needle. Many a warm summer evening was spent rocking on her porch as we shelled peas and told stories. She put a hammer in my hand and taught me to fix things. Nobody could fry chicken livers the way she could. She could laugh in a big bellied whoop and yell “shit-fire” when she got mad. She was the strongest woman I ever knew, and she taught me so much. I sure do miss my grandma, only she never liked to be called that. She always insisted on “Cecil”.

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    April 15, 2012 at 11:00 am

    My mammaw said a body was “as poor as a snake” or “as fat as a pig”. I am not sure if anyone ever fit right in the middle!

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    Earl Barber
    March 17, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    After I got married for the first time, just before my 19th birthday, my new wife and I lived at my parents house.
    My new wife had a tendency in warm weather to dress rather skimpily in hot pants and halters. My mom disapproved.
    One day she said to my bride, “Honey, if you ain’t one, don’t dress like one.”
    Words of wisdom that served me well decades later as the father of a daughter. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica Puckett
    December 26, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    My granny grew up in a home where her father was a southern Baptist preacher. She never had much of a formal education, she never had a drivers license. But, that woman had more wisdom in one finger than 10 women of today’s time. She taught me about the Bible, she taught me most of the good things I know. She taught me about “mountain medicine”, some of which I still use today, like putting tobacco on a bee sting. She never cussed, saying things like “danged ole billy to h-e- double hockey sticks”. She was always singing. I still see her singing in the kitchen cooking in an old iron skillet. One of the few fancy possessions she owned was a silver plated tea set. As a little girl, I was so cherished by my granny I was allowed to play with her silver tea set. We had tea parties often, sometimes on the porch in the summer. She would make up stories for me as we drank our “tea”. Then she would sing, always singing, with her beautiful voice. Now, I have my granny’s tea set.Perhaps someday I will drink tea with my grand daughter on my porch, telling her stories of when I was a child. Though God did not give me a voice like my grandmother’s, I still sing. I sing the old hymns she sang, I hum them when I cannot sing. I miss her so much. How blessed I was to have been loved by a granny who was so beautiful inside and out.

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    Kathy Ferrell
    December 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Glad to find your blog! W.V. girl here!
    When someone made a mess, my granny would say, “Gom & Smollick, Smollick & Gom, that’s all you’re good for!”
    She would refer to women of questionable decency as “sluvant” (an adjective). Apparently meaning both slovenly and cheap.
    She was raising 12 kids during the depression, and so rarely got any treats herself. She once thought she could slip off to herself and eat a candy bar. Just as she unwrapped it, all the little children popped up from all corners of the house. In frustration, she exclaimed, “If I had a chocolate-covered dog-t***, there’d be half a dozen young’ns wanting a bite!” She was a funny woman.

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    Ed Ammons
    December 4, 2011 at 10:19 am

    My mother, when I was fibbing and she knew it and wanted me to know she knew, would say Psssst!

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    November 6, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Granny has gone black walnut crazy this fall. She has been cracking like crazy, storing the nuts in the frigerator on the porch. She’s even kept track of how many walnuts she got off of her tree-I’m pretty sure she picked up every one of them : )
    She told me the other day “The Lord has truly blessed me with Black Walnuts.”

  • Reply
    Monica Cochran
    November 6, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Mary Jane (Tipper), thank you so much for paying tribute to Granny (Gazzie). I think of her almost daily as I have several photos of her and I hanging on my refrigerator. She was one of those people who just oozed with love for everyone. I thank God for her influence in my life.

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    Peggy Elaine Rickard
    November 4, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I don’t know how I found this but I am happy I did. I have Appalachian roots also. I live now on an Indian reserve in NYS and I love to have a place to go to on the web to bring back my memories of down home.

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    September 21, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Our Grandmothers were both Salt of the Earth Women who put up with husbands who meted out various forms of abuse that still didn’t keep those wonderful women down. They bore it all, as well as the children of those men, with strength and grace.
    They worked hard to keep a good home, they were good mothers to their children and were good grandmothers to their grandchildren.
    The one thing I remember most about them that sticks with me still is their lesson to – “Always leave a place nicer than you found it.” I work to do that to this day, and I believe if everyone did, the world would be a better place.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    August 31, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    I couldn’t help but comment on this one Tipper. You described my two grannys to a tee. They taught me so much in my lifetime, including quilting, dipping snuff, which made me sick as a dog. I miss them so much today but their legacies live on in my heart and mind…Susie

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    August 8, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    My granny on my Momma’s side was a little country woman from upper NE TN area with long to her waist gray hair that she kept braided and rolled into a bun on the back of her head. When I was 12 I was taller than her. She probably stood about 5′. Granny was 93 when she passed away after a year long sickness and bedfast with alzheimer’s. I was 17 and it devastated me. To this day, I still think of her and that can of Bruton snuff she kept tucked into her apron pocket. She was never without an apron on or a pair of stockings she kept rolled and tied at the knees with another piece of nylon. Ever once in a while, I smell Bruton snuff in the air and no one here dips the nasty stuff. I wonder if Granny is visiting and saying Hi. I can still see her praddling away in the kitchen on her old wood cookstove frying me a cornbeef sandwich with mayo on toast. Still a favorite of mine the some years later (I’m 42). I don’t remember my Dad’s Momma (Maw) as she passed away a year after I was born. How I miss my Granny. She now has 7 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren just from me. I am thankful that I know I will see her again one day in Heaven when we shall meet again. Thank you for the opportunity to share about my granny and I apologize for any typos as tears are now welled up in my eyes thinking of her.

  • Reply
    July 28, 2011 at 8:51 am

    My Mamaw’s quilt frame hung from the living room ceiling. My sister and I would play under the quilt as she sewed, looking up at the patches of color. She always said you need at least one blue room in your house. So I always have at least one blue room! I looked it up to see where this came from, and it comes from the early Colonists….blue was the most expensive paint, and so only one room was usually painted blue, the one you showed company. I don’t know if this is Appalachia, but it should be, as she never lived anywhere other than the mountains!

  • Reply
    July 11, 2011 at 12:23 am

    WOW! What an awesome website. I was trying to remember how my grandmother would make leatherbritches and was doing some searching on the internet when I came across your site. I found what I was looking for and it all came back to me.
    The best times of my life were riding the tractor with grandaddy and helping grandmother make biscuits, cobblers and stringing green beans.
    Today I live on a portion of their farm and am truly blessed! Everyday I think of them and keep their picture on my wall.
    We live in beautiful Turtletown, TN. My husband always says the next time he moves it will be in a pine box!

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    July 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I love your posting about Granny. I had two wonderful grandmothers who made lasting impressions upon my life. They were very much like your granny.

  • Reply
    May 22, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Granny is always worrying about Chitter and Chatter eating enough-they are skinny girls. Last week Chitter went down to visit Pap and Granny-as soon as she stepped in the door Granny started trying to feed her some of their leftover supper. Chitter said she wasn’t hungry-but Granny just kept on telling her she should eat. Finally Chitter said “no Granny I’m not hungry I just ate some goldfish.” Granny said “Lord child don’t tell me you’ve been eating goldfish!” Of course Chitter was talking about the crackers-not the fish : )

  • Reply
    Connie C
    May 10, 2011 at 4:57 am

    God blessed me with 2 wonderful “Grannies” both of which are in Heaven now. I also was born and raised in the Apl Mtns of NC between Asheville and Boone. Childhood memories of Granny being called on to teach how to salt Kraut correctly or her famous Pickled corn or pickled beans and corn. While my other granny was known for her salt brined pickles and her 10 layer apple stack cake at christmas time. I am now wanting to carry on those taught traditions and I am also getting ready to start me a small farm.
    Thanks for your wonderful blog and may GOD bless and Keep you and yours.
    Connie C

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    March 17, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Well, my boys mamaw, my mom, is the epitome of Appalachian wit and wisdom. Still says things like “warsh,” “ye,” “yonder,” and “I reckon” among other great dialectual jewels. I record these words in a book about Appalachian words and dialect and attribute them to the family member who I heard speak them.
    Mamaw Mode’s sayings: “It’s better to have a canopy over your bed than a can of pee under your bed.” “If you ain’t got nothin good to say about somebody….say somethin bad.” Someone called once and wouldn’t say anything when she said “Hello.” She said hello several times, finally got frustrated and said, “Speak ass, your mouth won’t.” I fell out of my chair.

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    Joe Mode
    March 16, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful mamaw, Mamaw Davis who was born in 1915, Granny Mode who was born in 1905 and passed at the age of 93, a great grandmother, Granny Bowers, who was born in 1898 and passed at the age of 90 and another granny, Maw Davis. They all had an impact on me, especially Granny Mode. She used to say, “Cold hands, warm heart, stinky feet and no sweetheart,” among other things.
    Mamaw Davis had an outhouse and when it was too cold, dark, or rainy to go outside we got to use an old JFG Coffee can, which was known as the “pee can.” I miss her Horehound and Peppermint stick candy. I don’t think she ate anything other than pinto beans and cornbread. We ate so much pinto beans at her house that they became known as “Mamaw Beans.”
    It was an honor to have known them all and to have been able to interview all of them regarding our family history. How often do you get to hear stories from someone born in 1898?

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    Eva Kroells
    March 3, 2011 at 7:46 am

    I like both, your mother and your grandmother. I also had a lovely grandmother, who taught me nearly everything, because my parents had to work and I stayed with her. Knitting and fairy tales, Bible, hymns and jokes. She liked to tell me stories from her youth and small poems and songs she had learnt as a child.She passed away when she was 92 and I was 42. It was a tremendous loss. Greetings from Germany, Eva

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    Sue (now proud to be a Mema to 2 generations
    March 1, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    great website — I’ve had a grand time reading and listening to the music. I was blessed with grandmothers and great-grandmothers, all unique. Thanks for the nice walk down memory lane.

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    February 7, 2011 at 1:40 am

    Your Granny sounds like a wonderful women to know. They are so full of knowledge and interesting stories!

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    January 31, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I walked down to Granny and Pap’s last night to take them something. When I left I had 2 pieces of fried chicken and a hoody pocket full of candybars. Where else can you go to visit and come away with love, chicken, and candy : )

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    January 27, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    I lost one of my grandmothers just 2 months ago. I read these posts with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face.

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    January 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    This morning Granny bought Chatter and Chitter some discounted Christmas Candycanes. On the way home Chatter told her she’d pay her back if she wanted her too. Granny said “No most people don’t know it but I celebrate Christmas everyday.”
    After we unloaded Granny’s groceries and I was shutting the door, telling her bye, Granny said “Merry Christmas” and I said “Merry Christmas” and laughed all the way to the car : )

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    January 6, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Sure hope Granny is feeling better, bless her heart! So much of what she says and does reminds me so much of my Granny Mandy. Just want you to know that Granny and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

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    January 3, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Granny hasn’t been feeling well the last week or so. She has a mechanical heart valve-and takes blood thinners. Pap thinks her blood is too thick or to thin-they never seem to get it right. But Granny doesn’t want to go to the doctor-she feels so tired she doesn’t want to clean up. But she did tell me she was going to fix her hair-cause when she fixes her hair she can hear her mechanical heart valve and make sure it’s still working : )

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    December 18, 2010 at 7:36 am

    I’m in Canton,NC-come to have Christmas with the Pressleys. Before we left Granny told me to come by her and Pap’s house. When I got there- only her and Pap were there but she still said “come in the back room with me.” When I did she gave me some money for each of us for Christmas-she thought we might need it while we were in Canton. It remided me of when I was little-and Granny Gazzie would take me and my brothers into the back room at her house one at a time and give us our Christmas present from her-it was 2 dollars, some stick candy, and some orange slice candy. If I close my eyes I can still feel like I’m standing in that cold back room-you had to step down to go into it-and they kept the door shut to help heat the front of the house.

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    December 14, 2010 at 7:29 am

    We’ve been snowed in for 3 days. Of course I didn’t go get groceries like I should have before the snow. We have plenty to eat-just not the exact thing my 2 picky girls want to eat. So yesterday they braved the cold and snow and walked to Granny’s thinking she’d have Sunday Dinner-but she didn’t cook her usual spread. Granny called me while the girls were still there asking me what we needed. I said ‘we don’t need anything-we had a big pot of chili for dinner-it’s just the girls are too picky to eat it’ Granny said ‘but what are these poor girls going to eat?’ Even though I told her we had plenty-Granny sent the girls home with a load of food-including a whole ham!! Granny is the best : )

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    December 6, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    It made my heart sing to see that picture of your Gazzie wearing a hospital style hairnet. My Granny always wore one when she was cooking her apple butter cakes, chicken and dumplings or salmon fritters. So many of our holiday pictures of her feature a hairnet just like the one you show here.

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    November 3, 2010 at 2:30 am

    Thank you for starting this conversation. I have enjoyed reading everyone’s stories while listening to the music in the background. I do not have much to add about my grammaw, except that I remember her singing and I was completely caught off guard when Rock Of Ages started playing because I remember her singing that one. Thank you for bringing back some fond memories!

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    September 15, 2010 at 9:40 am

    My paternal grandmother, Mary-Elizabeth was probably the greatest woman I ever knew.
    She was a school teacher and in the DAR and she was our family’s history-keeper. She could tell you all our ancestors names, who they were related to, how they got here, what was important to them.
    She was raised on a sheep farm in Preston County, WV. She knew pretty much everything about everything. She always made buckwheat cakes and whole-hog sausages and fresh applesauce, and you could smell them as soon as you came in the door. At Christmas, she’d grind up some candy canes in it! She also made apple dumplings with whole apples in pastry and she’d pour fresh milk over them while they were hot.
    I was adopted, and didn’t look like them (I’m half Greek and they’re Scots-Irish)and would get looks -she always defended me, and told people, “she’s my granddaughter, cuz I said she is.”
    She would call us all skin-flints and ask us if we’d “done our lessons” (homework). She’d tell us about how she would ride a Belgian horse to school with her brother and sister and how her students didn’t have shoes, and how they’d write with coal.
    She stuck by me through some really horrible times in my life. After she passed, I fell asleep while driving my car late at night. I felt a foot on my foot – pressing down on the brake. And I heard her call my name til I woke up. When I did I was going about 90 miles per hour and was about 3 inches from another car’s bumper.
    She had such dignity and grace, that I don’t think city women could ever have. I try every day to be a little more like her.

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    September 10, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Reading this sure brings back so many nice memories.granny always made her food from scratch she didn’t have hot water she heated water and cooked with a wood cook stove,my fondest memories was getting to spending the night with her, when ya pulled up and got out of ya car you could smell spices and fresh butter where she was cooking and i loved her homemade applesauce cakes.and tatter soup with cornbread and a big garden onion.or pintos and fried tatters, she grew most of her food and canned it did not waist anything she raised cows and hogs and chickens made her own butter, and milk,cheese and buttermilk, even to makeing lyesoap whitch i hated haveing to help her make lol never got to meet my greatgrandad for he died when my grandmother was a kid and maw may never remarried i can remember her perserving meat with salt, she worked hard all her life she was a good christian woman who did the best she could with what she had never complained always smileing she’d say girls be greatful for what ya have and never take anything for grantitt for the lord will provide what ya need always.
    she had several huge tin tubs and she’d heat water up on that wood cook stove fill one tin tub up for bathing and the other for washing your hair. her fammous saying was make sure your tail end is clean for ya never know when ya got to go to the doctor she had alot of saying as well like low and behold, or for petes sake,funniest thing i ever saw was my great uncle comeing in drunk and her takeing a hickory tee as she called it whitch was weeping willow limbs braided together and wooping him sober with them for comeing home in that shape after she had told him he had better not lol. she always took us kids out into the woods showed us what was edible and what wasn’t lord how i miss’s funny how those days seemed so much easier she was a poor woman but happy and things sure did not seem as complicated back then ya made do with what ya glad to of had that sweet woman in my life what a blessing she was so strong willed and when she had to spank ya she’d get to feeling bad and instead of saying i’m sorry she would pour a cup of coffe and put a spoonful of butter and crummble a bisquit uo in it bring it to ya with a spoon and say here eat this and walk out for years i never understood why she did that and i was talking to mother one day and it came up and mom said that it was just her way of saying im sorry i’d give anything to still have her in my life today its such a shame my children missed the oppertunity of her being in their lives. but boy she sure was my role model i wouldnt trade one day i shared with her for anything.

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    August 30, 2010 at 8:39 am

    My Gram also had many sayings,most I have forgotton now,but I remember her saying for washing dishes was giving them “a lick and a promise” and “whoop the dickens out of ya!”

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    August 30, 2010 at 8:13 am

    My “gram” lived on the border of Ohio and Kentucky,then moved to N.Y. when she married. She used to fry up salt pork for me,wilted lettuce with bacon grease,fresh green beans with bacon grease,and many more”treats”.Her apple pie and choc.chip cookies were the best! She said when she was young she never wore shoes,had smallpox and never had one scar from it! She also told me about the black racer snakes they had back home that would actually chase you! She was very protective of her children and grandchildren,a great person,full of wisdom and I miss her greatly!

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    Tom Caudill
    August 23, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    My Granny Mandy is such a character! She is the best cook to ever come down the pike, sorry Mom! My Mom is a good cook, buy Granny Mandy just has a special touch that can’t be taught. I still look forward to Sunday dinners, the biscuits, homemade gravy and the world’s best apple pie. Granny Mandy’s funny sayings or “Grannyisms” as we like to call them could fill volumes!Just the other day when she caught my finger in her mixing bowl, she let loose of one of my favorites: “I’m gonna stomp a wart on you!” I love her dearly and have to laugh because I am now in my 40’s!

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    August 12, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I love reading all these stories!
    I’m named after my father’s mother, my Nana. She was born and raised here in WNC, and she’s never left for long. She’s the third youngest of 11 children. From what I can tell by stories she and my great aunts have told me, she was a bit of a wild child 🙂 I love hearing her and my Great-Aunt Eula Mae talk about their dates. At 16, Nana would go out with my 25 year old future Papaw, but her parents, Granny and Other Papaw (there are several Papaws), wouldn’t let her unless my aunt came. So Nana, Papaw, my aunt, and whatever “goober” friend Papaw brought would go out each Friday, and according to my aunt, Nana and Papaw would be’ canoodling’ while she and the goober friend sat there awkwardly. Hearing she and my aunt tell this story makes me smile each time.
    Nana always says she hasn’t seen me in a coon’s age, and that my hyper little sister is wild as a wombat. She’s got an irreverent streak too: the middle of nowhere is “out past where Jesus lost his sandals”. 🙂

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    July 26, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Down the road there is a tree that is leaning out into the road-not really in the way-but when it finally does fall it will be in the road. Granny told me this morning-everytime her and Pap go by it-she tries to get him to stop and let her push it on over-cause it might hit somebody’s car when it does fall : )

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    July 26, 2010 at 11:09 am

    We had a hum dinger of a storm last night. When I picked up Granny this morning to take her to town she said “did it storm bad at your house last night?” You can see our house from hers : ) I said “Well did it storm bad at yours?” Granny replied “it sure did” : )

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    July 26, 2010 at 12:13 am

    My grandma has some cute funny words she uses like “Hotdog”, when somethings good. And some others that I can’t think of now. But my grandmas a tough woman and one of the closest people I can talk to about God. Shes the one who’s teaching set me on my way to knowing God. Although we’ve not always have gotten along, I have to admit I love her. I have so much respect for her.

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    July 12, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    My Granny was the best, she had so many sayin’s I would not know where to start! One that does come to mind because I must have frustrated her was “Lord have mercy upon my soul!” Always said when something was wrong! Another thing she would say if she found something that you had not….”if it had been a snake it would have bit you!” She also told me there was a dead man under my bed….it was pretty dusty! 😉

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    July 9, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Sounds like you had a wonderful Grandmother!! I’m glad you’re enjoying the Blind Pig!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

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    July 8, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Oh my goodness. I am so happy to have found this site. I think of my Grandmother often. She could cook like nobody else, she also played the piano (only hymn tunes), I still love country, hillbilly gospel, and she saw angels. I didn’t think much about that when I was young, but now I know how special a person that is.

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    May 19, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Day-Lord…but this brings back memories. Been gone a long long time, but looking for a price of land now somewhere up shooting creek way. Living in the shadow of chunky gal mountain has influenced my shape.

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    Erin d
    April 20, 2010 at 2:34 am

    My great granny- granny duff- was quite a character. I can remember riding with her daughter, my nana, to pick up granny duffs necessities -snickers and chewing tobacco- She kept a coffee can by her bed to spit in. I also remember how she could never say my name right. She’d say “I can’t speak it”. But I didn’t care as long as she shared he’d snickers.
    My nana was funny too. She never let anybody run over her and she made dumplings like little clouds sent from heaven.
    There was always veggies in the garden in summer and a deer hangin from a tree in fall. I’ve sampled turtle, snake, rabbit and squirrel and they all taste like chicken!

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    Hopey Whisperwind(Pen Name)
    April 17, 2010 at 2:19 am

    We love your website! Oh how we miss them thar mountains up yonder. We wanted to personally send you a message and let you know that this was delightful visit. My wife and I are Authors as well and just finished our book, The River Called Silence, set against the backdrop of a fictional, Appalachia valley town, Cool Ridge. The music and all, remind us of our journey climbin’ the mountain!

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    April 10, 2010 at 1:17 am

    So many wonderful memories of my grandmothers. My dad’s mom hated killing chickens – didn’t like ringing their necks or just chopping off their heads, so she’d stand on her back porch and shoot them in the head with a .22. That woman was a dead shot! I just assumed everyone’s grandmother shot chickens. One memory I wish I could relive is having a piece of her freshly baked bread, still warm, with churned butter and homemade chokecherry jam. I’ve never had anything that tasted better.
    My mom’s mom was totally opposite. She was a flapper. Nana was the first woman in her small town to bob her hair, wear a short dress and smoke in public. She played jazz piano and loved to go dancing with my grandfather. She lived with us most of my life, and every afternoon would have her booze and news – a “highball” while watching the evening news. Mornings saw her walk into the living room, dressed to the nines, makeup on, jewelry on and posing, saying, “Well, what do you think?”
    When my husband and I eloped and didn’t tell anyone for 7 months, she figured out what was going on, but didn’t tell a soul. My husband and I were going to college, but 500 miles apart. I would be in my room, studying, becoming very frustrated, and actually throwing my books. Everyone else would be in bed, and Nana would call down, “Honey, why don’t you come up for a highball and a cigarette?” I would, we’d talk, and I’d go back down and study, far calmer than I had been. I miss them both very much.

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    February 26, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Man I remember Mamaw so many ways. She loved me like no one else. I remember first time we harvested Chickens. I was holding one in each arm like pets. Mamaw takes one in each hand and rings the necks. then that night we have fresh yard bird and veggies from her garden along with her home made Chocolate pie. Man I miss Mamaw

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    January 4, 2010 at 11:14 am

    This morning on the way to school, Chitter told Granny she dreamed a copperhead bit her. Granny said “oh Lord you better be careful this coming summer” as she knocked 3 times on the car window. I guess if there’s no wood around glass works too : )

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    December 11, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Great site! How many of us are better people because of the love of our Grannies? My grandma, who poudly called herself a “Pennsylvania hillbilly” did a thing she called the irish wash; she would strip a bed, then turn the sheets head-for-foot and put them back on the bed. Anyone else know of this?

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    November 30, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Oh,yes, we make snow cream in Texas, too, when it snows. If it snows.
    The story about drinking water from a tin dipper brought a memory of my grandma, who kept a wooden tub in the kitchen for the drinking water. If you were thirsty, you went to the bucket, took down the dipper from the hook on the wall, and got yourself a drink. Then, you replaced the dipper on it’s hook.
    My kids would be mortified. They get a new glass every time they get a drink!

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    November 25, 2009 at 9:52 am

    It’s exactly 9:47 in the morning. Granny just called and ask me to come eat dinner (lunch). She has turnip greens with turnips cooked in them, pinto beans, cornbread, and gingerbread cookies in the oven.
    There is no way I can eat a meal like that this early in the morning-I’m just now finishing my 3rd cup of coffee. But boy am I lucky to have her and Pap or what : ) Honestly-they cook like that everyday-and I’m always invited to eat. Yep life is good.

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    November 15, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    neat site. I grew up canning and picking blackberries and making blackberry pies with my grandmother too.
    she’s still around but sadly my grandfather, who was full of “isms” both of west virginia and unique to himself

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    November 11, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Chitter has had a bad chest cold. Granny says she knows exactly how she caught it. About a week ago Granny seen Chitter running around in a tank top. According to Granny-it is too late in the year to be running around without a coat on-even if it is 70 degrees.
    Today me and Chatter walked down to Granny’s to eat dinner. We’ve had the remnants of hurricane Ida sweeping through-and it has dumped several inches of rain on the area. Me and Chatter took our muddy boots off on Granny’s porch. Granny had a fit-said we’d catch our death of cold for going around in our socks : )

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    John Dilbeck
    November 11, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Hi Tipper.
    I love this page of Grannyisms.
    I never knew my Mom’s mother. She died just before I was born, but I heard a lot of great things about her.
    My Dad’s mother lived in Benton, Tennessee when we lived just south of Atlanta. We would visit her several times each year and it was like going back in time for me.
    She didn’t have running water and there was a “little house in back of the big house” that I hated to go into.
    My granny was a great cook and had a woodstove most of her life. I still remember the wonderful turkeys she would cook and the delicious cakes she would bake.
    When I was a youngster, she came down to visit us and we all went to Stone Mountain. She was in her late 80s or early 90s and we all hiked to the top of the mountain. She beat all of us to the top!
    She was a kind woman and I don’t remember her talking very much. She was a great listener, though.
    I miss her.

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    October 19, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Granny has been worrying about NASA shooting a rocket into the moon. She is sure it will effect our weather. Who knows maybe she’s right : )

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    August 2, 2009 at 10:26 am

    My Grandmother is still alive, for which I am mostly grateful. I realize that this is a luxury that most people do not have. Still, I’ve always been a little afraid & standoffish with her. She has a gift for passive aggression backed up with scripture that only southern women understand. We have never had the type of relationship that left me feeling good about myself after being in her company. While I know that each day she has here on earth is an opportunity to learn more about her and my culture, I tend to keep a safe distance.
    It was her sister, Big Mamma that I loved like a grandmother. When I think about the formal way I address my mother’s mother as opposed to getting to call someone “Big Mamma” it tells a lot of the story. She lived down a then un-named dirt road from us. I passed her trailer on the way to church. (Mom sent all 3 girls every Sunday so that she could stay at home and re-assemble her sanity.) We walked there, more slowly as we passed Big Mamma’s. Often times she was watching for us out her window & would call for us to visit. I remember that she would have black coffee; fresh biscuits & store bought grape jelly. (Store bought jelly was an oddity to me back then.) She would talk to us long enough to “accidentally” make us miss the church bell. It was always our little secret when we laid out of church and spent time with Big Mamma. I swear to this day that I felt God more there amongst the raked leaves and biscuit crumbs than in the brick building down the road.
    I still think about her almost every day. She died when I was thirteen years old. I think she’s often with me & acts as my homing device when the world gets too crazy. I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with her. Then again, maybe that’s not true at all.

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    June 22, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Grandma was [ borned ]in Nauvoo Alabama.
    Chimley was a chimney
    Root hog or die
    Even a blind pig’ll find an acorn now and then
    Zink was a kitchen sink
    Great Grandpa Andrew Thomas Romine had five daughters,three were boys .LOL
    Georgia (george)
    Billie (bill)
    Josephine (joe)
    Eila Mae
    and my Grandma Lily Blanche
    i guess Grandpa wanted a boy.
    oh well i’m sure glad Hattie Cloud Romine had my grandma Blanche.
    Blanche taught me how to make Reebles and their civilized cousins , hand made noodles,
    of course from scratch.
    you get the idea.
    buzz kirschner

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    June 17, 2009 at 7:57 am

    My Mamaw has now passed away but I remember some of the best times of my childhood at her house. When we would come to visit she always had a vanilla cake with chocolate icing made just for me and to this day it is my favorite. I miss her so much but I know she is in a much better place.

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    June 15, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    My Granny was a delight too…full of spunk until she died at age 89. One thing I learned early on…never call her Granny! Anyhow, Grandma was famous for pickles. I remember her house smelling of the most wonderful blend of vinegar and spices (yes…it was an incredible smell…in a great way) when she was pickling. A funny thing she did was in her pronunciation of April…she said “Ape-rile”. I still smile and am trying to make it a habit of mine to say it that way too…

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    June 4, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    My grandma like Marlene’s post never cut her hair her whole life long. She always wore her hair in a bun tucked under her bonnet.
    I remember the toys she made for me. A bottle cap with a hole punched in it with an ice pick and a sharpened country match through it and spun like a top. An old dry corn cob broken in two and three chicken feathers stuck in the pulp of the cob thrown into the air spinning around as it fell to the ground she called a whirly gig. My favorite was an old empty thread spool notched on the edges and a rubber band threaded through held on one side by a broken off match stick… and the other end of the rubber band wound with a crayon… letting the long end of the crayon stick out from the spool when you let go it made a little tractor type of a toy that crawled around the floor. Great fun.
    My Grandmaw would ask me when I told her of visiting friends “were they clever“
    I thought this a strange question. I ask my mom and she told me “clever” was a term used in the old days to mean… did they invite you in to break bread. I guess it meant something like cordial,courteous or gracious.
    Grandmaw had a cure for everything picked right out in the woods. Bitter yellow root made caster oil taste like sugar. If you had a sore throat she would bacon grease a turpentine rag with cream and swab your throat. She made poultices for around our necks and chest. And you know what. I think they really did work.

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    May 2, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Just found your blog. I was named after Dad’s Mom, a fiesty Norwegian immigrant who lived until she was 98. She’d be 126 now! She knit Scandinavian sweaters for others for pin money, her cookie jar was never empty and the coffee was always on. Her faith and love of family were very important. She was a great joker and gave wonderful hugs. It was a toss up as to who was the person with the best humor-Dad or Grandma. My favorite Grandmaism is what she said of my procrastinating cousin “He doesn’t ride the horse the day he puts the saddle on”.
    Mom’s Mom was a very dignified lady who had a terrific rolling giggle and always smelled of fancy perfume. Her name was Viola. The violas in the garden always remind me of her.

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    Sallie Covolo
    April 19, 2009 at 11:04 am

    My granny, (I only had one), was born in 1874. Her daddy was a Baptist Preacher up by Weaverville area, where she was born. She always told us about the Lord.
    She had worn, and gentle hands. She would put my hair in Shirley Temple curls which was the style then. She lived her married life and widowed life in West Asheville.
    We lived with her some, off and on.
    She had some cute and quaint sayings but the one that comes to mind is, “A whistling woman and a crowing hen, will always come to no good end.”

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    March 15, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Last Friday, I took Granny to get her hair cut. When she got into the car the first thing she said was “Now lets be real careful it’s Friday the 13th” Seems Granny’s fear of Friday the 13th is still going strong.

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    boutique de laine
    March 7, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    many interesting stories :)There are many things to learn from older people.always tell us is correct,I know my grandmother because 🙂

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    January 21, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    I had two wonderful grandmothers. My dads mom passed away in 1947, I was nine years old. All her grandchildren and her children called her Ma. When she died I thought my world had ended, my parents, brother and I had lived with her all my life. I loved her so much.
    My moms mom died in 1984, she was 93. We called her grandma. This grandma was loud spoken, and if she thought it, she said it. She was very superstitious and she didn’t want you to do anything that she thought was bad luck.
    Grandma was a hard worker all her life, and had 10 children. I still miss her.

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    December 28, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Grandmother Bennett passed many decades ago but many fond memories include her biscuits made on a wood stove, the kitchen sink pump, her apron, her cozy little figure and the way her life revolved around her kitchen and home.

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    The Tile Lady, Marie
    September 23, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Tipper, I loved this! My great-great grandmother whose picture is on my blog at over 100 years old, and a little 3-year old me on her lap, was alive during the War Between the States. When she became very old, she would always wear several dresses at a time. If someone came by and asked if she wanted to go to town or go visiting she would say, “Give me a minute” and go into the other room, remove the top dress and reveal the clean one underneath, and she was ready to go!
    My Dad’s mother died right before my parents were married, and of course I never knew her. Oh, but I wish I had! I have heard such wonderful things about her–my Dad adored his mother. She had ten children, and the doctor warned her not to have so many (she died in childbirth with the last child, who also died) and when someone would ask her why she kept having kids, she replied “I know I shouldn’t, but they are just so sweet!”
    My mother’s mother was very special to me. She was a real saint on this earth, never speaking a negative word about anyone, always soft-spoken, loving and caring. She worked very hard all her life and never complained and I have always wanted to be just like her. She kept ice cream in her freezer for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and made me a buttermilk custard pie (my favorite) when we came to visit.

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    September 22, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    My paternal grandmother was what I always thought of as the “Cookie Jar Grandma”. My mother and father would take us to visit her and there was never a time that her cookie jar was empty. She kept it filled for the grandchildren. In fact I can remember her trying to send home entire packages of those Grandma’s Sandwich Cookies made by Frito Lay and my mother was very irritated about that because of course we would not eat our dinner. But there were seven of us and I do believe my grandma thought we were denied any kind of sweet treat.
    Her name was Marie Barbara, at least that is what we know. Because she immigrated from Hungary with an aunt at the young age of thirteen or fourteen her name may have been changed to an American version. No one seems to know for sure. In doing research on my grandfather who also immigrated a few years later, both he and his brother changed their first names to an American version. But that is another story for another time.
    Grandma was a small lady, standing only about 4’11” or so. She always, always wore dresses which she made herself and aside from a different pattern on the fabric they all looked the same. I don’t recall my grandmother ever in pants. To me this would not have been my grandmother. She had the greenest thumb you can imagine. Her flowers and plants inside the house and outside were amazing. I can remember taking her to the cemetary on memorial day and we would gather huge armfuls of her peonies to place upon the graves of our loved ones.
    Although she was a good and devout Catholic, she had a little quirk in her that makes me laugh. She never drove a car so relied on people to take her to run errands. Whenever, we would take her to an establishment that had plants, be it a farm store or grocery store, she would pinch off a chunk of the plant to take home and root. I don’t think the woman ever had to purchase an entire plant. She was so successful at rooting and growing these little stolen pieces that she didn’t need to. I guess she did not think of this as stealing….just borrowing a little piece.
    She had a very thick Hungarian accent and some very old world ideas. Once I took her to church and as we were driving past houses in her neighborhood she spied a young man in shorts mowing his lawn. She said to me “Look at that feeltee ting wearing short pants”. I asked her why she thought that was horrible and she told me that “his feeltee harrry legs” were showing. She apparently thought that was quite disgusting and all men should hide their harry legs. It is a wonder she had ten children if she was so against those hairy legs.
    I really only have warm and wonderful memories of my grandmother. She could make the most wonderful Hungarian dishes and never had a recipe written down. She taught me one Christmas how to make home made noodles in the middle of the table using no bowl or utensils. She told me it was all in the feel of the dough as to how much flour you added to the eggs she had cracked in the center of a well in the flour. The same was for kneading the dough. It had to have a certain look and feel about it before it was ready to roll out and cut into noodles to lay out and dry. Some time I may document just how she taught me even though it took more time than the short cuts that I use now.
    She kept a totally spotless home and I can remember feeling so warm and loved while there. Do you have a wonderful memory of your grandmother?

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    September 21, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    I recently talked about my grandma on my blog. She was born in 1897 and has long since past away but I will always remember her. I carry her in my heart and in just about everything I do. She gave me the world of quilting and I’m eternally grateful!

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    Carolyn A.
    September 19, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    My grandmother Carrie (Dad’s Mom) was a Creek Indian Maid that my grandfather fell in love with. He wanted to marry her the next time the preacher came through Harrisonburg, VA, but Grandmom said she would not marry him unless it was in a church. Grandpop called his brothers, and together they built the church that my grandparents were married in. They are both gone now, but their last farewell was in that same church. Now that’s what I call true love!

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      Sherry Thacker
      January 5, 2021 at 4:44 pm

      Harrisonburg is the closest “big city” to where I grew up in Mt.Jackson, Va.

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    September 18, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    I have many fond memories of my grandma (my mother’s mom). We all lived up a holler and Grandma just lived 2 houses down from us. She made the best applesauce stack cake and we went berry picking all the time. She couldn’t stand to see the berries go to waste. My older cousins told me she was very superstitious. She loved to sit out on her front porch and watch everyone go by. Every summer on her birthday all the family would come and have like a family reunion in her yard with all the food and fixins. We’d take group pictures in front of her snowball bush.She’d always say she probably wouldn’t live to see her next birthday – she lived to be 92. She never had an inside bathroom and I remember her complaining when they put running water in the kitchen. The bucket of cool well water kept by the back kitchen door was wonderful. I could go on and on.

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    'Cousin Dwayne'
    September 4, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Hi Cousin, I see another one of our cousins has been here, too. Hello Monica, been a long time.
    I was thinking about Granny the other day, and I remembered that she only watched one channel on television. She never changed the channel because she was convinced that if you changed the channel that you would break the tv set.
    I also remember the old wood stove in the kitchen (wonder whatever happened to it). You could go into Granny’s kitchen at anytime and open the upper doors and reach in and get a warm biscuit, and nobody else ever made biscuits like Granny.
    I am old enough that I remember Granny’s house before she had running water. I remember when the pump was dropped down into the well so she could have running water put into the kitchen and finally get an indoor toilet. Before that, you had to go to the outhouse in the back (down near where she would have somebody try to plant a garden). I guess I was might have been in 2nd or 3rd grade (how old would that be???).
    And I remember how Granny loved having as many of her grandbabies around as could be there (and we have quite a large family). Everybody would be there, kids playing all around the house, grownups sitting on and around the front porch. You could go to Granny’s house anytime and sit and ‘visit’ and it seemed how nothing else mattered.
    Oh, how I miss those days.

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    August 25, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Tipper-I love your website!!! What a fun place to visit and dream about our 2nd home there in the mountains. As you know, I am a friend of your Mom’s (Granny). She’s my “best buddy” and you’re right. She’s a real fun and interesting lady to be around. I’ve learned so much about canning, planting, mountain folklore and history, needlework, old timey ways of doing things and so much more. Your girls are truly blessed to have their Granny and Pap. I know you all are very proud of them both. We count ourselves blessed to have known you and your family these past 11 years. I also had a really special grandmother (she worked at the local school in the lunchroom and also as a janitor).She was the kindest, sweetest lady on earth. The school (grades 1-12) dedicated their School Annual to her one year, they all loved her so much too. It was considered quite an honor!!! I went to her house every chance I got … fed the chickens, helped milk the cow, make the butter, gather wood for the wood stove in the kitchen and yes, had the experience of using her old outhouse. Never heard a harsh word out of her mouth or a bad word about anyone. Guess the worst she said about someone was if she called them a “salty dog”! She had a hard life. My grandfather died when she was pregnant with their 9th child and she’d never worked a day in her life. Talk about hard times.

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    August 25, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Tipper-I love your website!!! What a fun place to visit and dream about our 2nd home there in the mountains. As you know, I am a friend of your Mom’s (Granny). She’s my “best buddy” and you’re right. She’s a real fun and interesting lady to be around. I’ve learned so much about canning, planting, mountain folklore and history, needlework, old timey ways of doing things and so much more. Your girls are truly blessed to have their Granny and Pap. I know you all are very proud of them both. We count ourselves blessed to have known you and your family these past 11 years. I also had a really special grandmother (she worked at the local school in the lunchroom and also as a janitor).She was the kindest, sweetest lady on earth. The school (grades 1-12) dedicated their School Annual to her one year, they all loved her so much too. It was considered quite an honor!!! I went to her house every chance I got … fed the chickens, helped milk the cow, make the butter, gather wood for the wood stove in the kitchen and yes, had the experience of using her old outhouse. Never heard a harsh word out of her mouth or a bad word about anyone. Guess the worst she said about someone was if she called them a “salty dog”! She had a hard life. My grandfather died when she was pregnant with their 9th child and she’d never worked a day in her life. Talk about hard times.

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    August 22, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Granny Jenkins was the best. I think of her often. It’s wonderful to hear all the memories of her. One thing that I will always remember about her is that she was a great hostess. She loved to make sure you had something to eat and drink. I learned to eat at her house. Breakfast at 8:00, dinner at 12:00 and spper at 5:00 no matter what. Meals were always family style. I look forward to seeing her again.

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    Julie Curtis
    August 17, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    I’m a 1952 baby, born in South Arkansas. I had a Granny who was prim and proper and a MawMaw that hunted and fished with the men! I loved them both dearly. Granny taught me to sew and was so patient with me. Both of them were great cooks, and to this day I cook things I remember them making. Lemon meringue pie, fruitcake, biscuits, cornbread, coconut cake, mmmmmmmmm. I thank God for both of them. My only regret is they didn’t live to see my children grow up. Mawmaw died before they were born, and Granny died when they were 8 and 11. They can barely remember her now.
    In South Arkansas we always made snow icecream. When it looked like it was going to snow Daddy would put some Pet milk in the fridge and get it real cold, although he usually didn’t tell us just in case it didn’t snow. We would put a pot or a dishpan where they would fill up with snow. He then mixed in some sugar and vanilla with the Pet milk and poured it over the snow we collected. Sometimes he let us put some food color in it!

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    Dwayne Jenkins
    August 1, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Hey Tipper, it’s your Cousin Dwayne. I wondered the other day, when I saw you, if anybody still called you Tipper. I was good to see you and see how much both my Aunts that were there, are looking like our Granny.
    I remember sitting on Granny’s front porch and waving at EVERYBODY that went down the road. It didn’t matter if you knew them or not, you waved.
    I remember playing under the tree in the front yard and making mud pies and then putting them out in the sun so they would bake.
    Do you remember how Granny used to dry what she called ‘fruit’? They were actually apple slices that she would lay on a table out in the sun so they would dry and then she would make some dessert with them.
    Of course there was always canning time. If it was time for kraut, when you got to her house, she would give you a dishpan full cabbage to chop with a ‘chopper’ (made from a ‘Pet Milk’ can that she had burned the rim off of to make it sharp). If it was time for green beans, you got a ‘mess’ of them and broke them up so she could can them. When it came time for apples and peaches, everybody had a knife and we all sat around peeling, slicing (and sometimes eating) the fruit to help Granny, so she could can the peaches, and make applesauce and apple jelly.
    I have so many memories of Granny and I hope I can share as many as possible.
    Gotta run for now.

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    July 17, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Granny is an early riser-but lately she has been driving me crazy. Calling by 10:00 a.m. each day to let me know lunch is ready if I’d like to come down and eat. God love her-but I can’t eat green beans, mashed potatoes, porkchops, cornbread, cucumbers, and tomatoes at 10:00 in the morning.

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    July 5, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    My Grandma always made me feel loved.She said we where a pleasure to be around. I spent as much time as possible with her. She owned a hardware store. I would dust & clean for her.

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    June 30, 2008 at 9:37 am

    just bookmarked your blog, i like it.

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    June 29, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Mamaw was a good church-going woman and one Sunday when I was about 4 and visiting, she had invited the preacher for dinner. Sunday dinner was always fried chicken, fresh vegetables, and biscuits. She made the most wonderful buttermilk biscuits.
    We were on our best behavior…had said the blessing, gave the preacher the choice piece of chicken and was doing our best to be seen and not heard.
    The preacher kept asking for the biscuits to be passed. No one else heard him except me, the plate was too heavy, so I picked a biscuit up and threw it at him!
    Normally Mamaw was very even tempered, but on this day she grabbed me up and I got a spanking!
    And if I’ve heard this story once, I’ve heard it a thousand times!

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    Fishing Guy
    June 29, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Tipper: My granny was very special to me, being the first born boy child to carry on the name and heritage. Being named after my grandfather certainly helped. I remember them as very kind thoughtful people and I would ride my bike across town to visit them. Oh the memories of the past are so sweet. Granny would bake small loaves of bread especially for me to eat.

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    June 27, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    My grandmother was 4’10” tall and part Native American so she had the characteristic coal black hair and high cheekbones. Grandpa wouldn’t let her cut her hair (they married at 16) so by the time I was a little girl it came to her knees and she kept it in a little knot down by her neck. She saved rainwater to rinse it when she shampooed and would sit in the sun combing it until it was dry. She made me macaroni necklaces and wrote wonderful poetry. When my own children were small they would get a big fat brown envelope from her once in a while with stuff she thought they would like – pretty pictures torn from magazines, the fronts of greetiing cards….never stuff that was bought but always things that would catch the eye of a child. She never lost her child-like spirit and seemed to be able to think like children knowing just what was wrong when one was crying and just what would make one laugh. I miss her still.

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    May 7, 2008 at 11:57 am

    I just read your post about snow cream and almost died!! When I was about 3-4 we were poor, white trash poor, and I remember one christmas when we didnt have alot for a dinner it started to snow and my mother took all of us outside with plastic bowls and told us to get as much snow as we could in the bowls. She then made snowcream. It was so good and we felt so special. I will never forget that…aint it amazing how when your poor you dont know it, love always makes you feel rich!

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    May 7, 2008 at 12:52 am

    Hi Tipper, thanks for the visit to my blog. Bill is doing very well now and looking forward to eating something, anything with teeth instead of soup, yogurt and puddin’. I remember staying at my Granny Elizabeth’s for days on end sometimes in the summertime, drinking out of the old aluminumn dipper at the well in their back yard. That was the coldest and sweetest water I’ve ever had to this day! One particular memory I have is of her teaching me to make old fashioned gum out of melted parafin. I caught her stove on fire! We picked apples and cherries off her trees and baked pies together. She made the prettiest pies. She’d cut ornate leaves out of crust and make a pie top of nothing but leaves. Beautiful and delicious!

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    April 5, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Over the past several days, we have been having spring thunderstorms in my area. I was reminded of Granny’s warnings about lightning that she shared with my brothers and I when we were little. According to Granny you can’t take a shower, talk on the phone or run water when it is lightning. You also can’t flush the potty or stand by a window. And, you should make sure you have shoes on-real shoes-even in the house-because if you don’t it will attract lightning. Granny had so many warnings about lightning that my younger brother and I started making up our own. Like-don’t stand on one foot and open the frig it will attract lightning or don’t cross you right arm over your left arm while crossing your left leg over your right leg cause it will attract lightning (obnoxious I know). Silly or not Granny lives by her “lightning rules” and if you happen to be with her in a storm she’ll make sure you do too.

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    Jennifer in OR
    March 30, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    I only knew one grandmother, my mom’s mom. (My dad’s mom was the one from Appalachia but she died when my dad was small, maybe 10 years old.) Anyway, my Gramma T., I just loved her and was so lucky to have spent a lot of time with her, and we even lived with her for a while. When I didn’t feel well, she would send me to bed with a glass of warm milk. She always said “The world is going to hell in a handbasket,” and when she got old she called all her grandkids “Annabelle” for lack of remembering names!
    I learned hospitality from my Gramma. I heard many stories of her writing to soldiers during WWII, and after the war, so many came to see this woman who so graciously sent them comforting letters. She took several soldiers in to her home for a season as they needed, and some became lifelong friends. This is how I have some “adopted” cousins.

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    March 26, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    i had both my grandmothers growing up…”gramcracker” was my dad’s mom and “nanabanana” my mom’s. one was from the praire and the other an immagrant from finland. i miss them both…they both had so much to teach and say, from such different backgrounds.

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    March 26, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    My dad’s mom we called grammy Zo. She would make hats out of newspaper to keep the sun off of her when we were down at the creek swimming and or fishing. She would always come home with her pockets full of pretty rocks.

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    March 25, 2008 at 8:55 am

    my dad was 59 when i was born, so my nana passed away when i was just 12. my grandmother had died many years before i was born while my dad was on a two year stay to germany. he met a woman while he was there and knew she was the one for my grandfather. this was way back in the 1920’s, so he couldn’t just “call” granddad. he had to write to him, to tell him about my nana. well granddad got on a train to los angeles from idaho where he was a wheat farmer, got on a ship to europe and ended up in germany where he met bertha mueller. he brought her home and married her. she had long, thick braids that she used to coil at the nape of her neck into this darling bun. i always thought when i was old i would have fat braids like nanas and i would put them up during the day. my hair is thinning and i’m only in my 40’s!! my braids would look like a little turd on the back of my head! hardly anything my grandchildren will be pining for in their golden years! they were married for almost 50 years when he passed away at 99 years old, and she died just 4 days later – we think of a broken heart. she made the best bread i’ve ever tasted. she never lost her german accent. she could never have children of her own, so it was fortunate for her and for us, that she was in our family. she bottled all of her own fruit and vegetables. she lived in “town”, but spent a lot of time on the farm when she was younger. the thing i remember most about her was just that she was always busy! she was constantly doing kind things for other people. cooking dinner for someone who was sick, taking care of granddad, but whatever it was, it was with a smile on her face. she taught us that there is always, always, always something to be grateful for. and right now, i’m grateful for my nana, and for how she took care of my granddad, and the rest of us for all those years, with fat braids at the nape of her neck and a smile on her face.

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    March 22, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    I love this blog and the granny stories. I never knew my grandmothers, and feel I was cheated of something wonderful. However my mother was similar to some of your stories. I never tell a bad dream before breakfast. Mother said it would come true.

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    March 19, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    This is so great. I absolutely love old people and all they have to say and teach us. My grandchildren call me MaMaw as well.

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    March 19, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    One of the best memories I have was going to visit my mamaw and all of my cousins would be there. Mamaw had this feather bed that you just sunk into and there would be like 10 of us in that bed with about 20 quilts covering us up. I never felt so safe and warm as I did in that bed.

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    March 19, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    2 Quirky things done by my girls Granny:
    1.When she comes to visit she makes sure to leave by the same door she came in. Its bad luck if you don’t.
    2.She never tells her dreams before breakfast. If you do-they will come true.

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    March 18, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    My ma is a classic, definately a keeper.. she is one of those throw together cooks, and if you ask her whats in it, she’ll reply ‘a pour of this and a pinch of this etc’never measures anything, she is the bestest cook and her apple pie is better than anything i have tasted ever (must be the custard powder she puts in the pastry.. the pastry melts in your mouth! I am still lucky to have my Ma, she is 86 this year!

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    March 10, 2008 at 11:15 am

    My gramma was the matriarch of our family. She was a school teacher and wife of a baptist preacher. She was a strong personality and didn’t put up with foolishness. She was the best cook on both sides of the family and I’d never tasted food of any kind as good as what she served when we visited her and my Grandpa. I can never get my tomatoes to taste as good as the ones she grew–I’ve tried many tricks and suggestions over years and nothing works. Guess she had the magic touch. She could make things grow and thrive and I like to think I am a better person knowing she was a big influence in my life…

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    March 8, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    One of my earliest memories of my Mamaw is a snowy day I spent with her when I was about 6 years old. Mamaw was going to make Snow Cream for my brother and me. I remember her gathering the snow and explaining to me the first snow of the year was posion, but since this wasn’t the first snow of the year it was o.k. to eat.
    Snow Cream is simply a bowl full of snow with a little milk, sugar, and vanilla mixed in. I would guess it started out as a poor man’s icecream. I don’t know if Snow Cream is a recipe relegated to Appalachia or if it is widespread. If anyone knows about it or has an experiece of their own with Snow Cream please post it. I would love to hear about it.

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    February 26, 2008 at 10:33 am

    I loved both of my grannies like crazy. They were remarkably different and remarkably wonderful. One lived in an old house way out in the country. The same house my mom grew up in. She had an old apple orchard, a huge vegetable garden, horses, a pond complete with a beaver den and a killer sense of humor. I loved, loved, loved spending time with her at her house. My other granny lived in suburbia, took a walk every morning and every evening rain or shine, always had snacks and cocktail hour around 5ish everyday and took every opportunity to teach me something. Whether it was “How do you spell silo?” Or, “What is the name of the plant growing there along the highway?”, Granny always had some lesson to teach. I miss them both.

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