Gramma Learns a Lesson

| 8/25/2014 2:08:00 PM

Tags: Olden Days, Dance, Consequences, Haying, Renee-Lucie Benoit,

Renee-Lucie BenoitTimes have changed, my friend. Some things have changed for the better. Some things would have been better had they stayed the same. The point is we can’t go back in time, but we can remember what was and that gives us pleasure, peace and contentment. Also sometimes the stories about the past can teach us how to live our lives correctly in the present.


Gramma Frieda, my mother, me and Gramma's father, William

My Grandmother Frieda was quite a storyteller. I remember sitting in her kitchen in Watseka, Illinois, and she would tell me stories about “the olden days.” Through her stories, those days would come alive for me, and I could see them in my mind’s eye. I knew that Gramma was a girl with a lot of life in her. Maybe she got it from her father whose nickname was “Wild Bill.” Her mother was just the opposite. Isn’t that the way it goes sometimes? Marriage partners who offset and complement each other’s personalities. Mother Tina was the firm disciplinarian. Father William was playful. His photo doesn't show it but trust me, he was.

One story Gramma told me was of an escapade that cost her dearly. She never forgot it, and one day she told me what happened. It was haying time on the farm. Everyone had an important job to do because the hay had to be put up swiftly and correctly. The winter feed was dependent on it. If it wasn’t done right, the hay would spoil and then not be good. The women working in the kitchen – cooking all day preparing a big breakfast and dinner – was integral to the men working in the fields. It was a team effort and everyone worked hard. Lunch was called dinner then, and it was the biggest meal of the day. Supper was light. Everyone was tired at the end of the day. The day might last well into the evening. If the hay was ready to be mowed and shocked the men were at it from sun up to sundown.


9/3/2014 10:08:35 AM

Renee, what a fun story to know, to share with us, and to pass down the generations! My father was born in 1900 and Mom in 1901. I, too, had to be Mom's helper and always thought the men had more fun! Mary, again, from Old Dog, New Tricks.

8/29/2014 8:26:20 AM

Renee-Lucie, yes indeed times have changed. I'm old enough to remember haystacks and was part of the crew to build them. It was right before the baled hay came on the scene. Although we didn't haul the hay on a wagon we still stacked the hay for winter use in the haystacks in the hay fields. After the hay was cut and raked into rows, an attachment on the front of a tractor would be used to gather up the hay and deposit it in what was called a stacker. A stacker was a wooden lift that would lift the hay up on top of the stack. My job was to run the stacker and I got pretty good at it for only being 11 or 12. Yes, those experiences have crafted me into who I am today. It was a great time to grow up on the farm. Have a great grandma story memory day.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!