New York woman recalls delicious, simple breakfast made by her grandparents on their family farm
When I was a child, my parents would take us to spend a week with our grandparents who lived about 100 miles away on their family farm. Their home was a very large farmhouse without modern conveniences. We enjoyed our visits there. Grandpa always made us oatmeal for breakfast, but he would start it before he went to bed. He would fill a double boiler with the necessary ingredients and place it on the back of the old wood stove, where it cooked slowly all night. In the morning Grandma would make the most delicious little oval-shaped muffins to go with the oatmeal. We never forgot those wonderful preserves that Grandma and Grandpa worked together to make. Our mother used to try to copy that simple breakfast, but it never was as good as it was at Grandpa's house.
Grandpa had several cows, a horse, a few pigs and chickens.
He grew tame berries of all kinds. We would eat them to our hearts' content. Mom was always afraid we would eat too many and get sick, but we never did. We'd hunt for the little harmless grass snakes that hid in the stone fence along the dirt road, then we'd run like crazy if we saw one.
It was so much fun until bedtime. Grandma and Mother would walk with the lamp ahead of us to the third floor, which was the attic. It was filled with the usual things. There was a bed with a feather mattress that was only used when we came to visit. My sister and I always had to sleep there. After they heard our prayer and tucked us in, they'd leave, taking the lamp with them. If we were lucky, the moon would shine through a very small window. We'd lay there in the dark thinking all sorts of scary things. One night I was awakened by someone trying to pull the blankets off of me. I yelled to my sister to wake up. She was awake. We both started screaming. Dad and Mom came running in with a candle.
"What's going on in here?" Dad wanted to know.
"Someone is pulling the blankets off of us," I cried. Our parents started to laugh, and told us to sit up. We did and found that we were facing each other. Somehow I had gotten to the bottom of the bed. The harder I'd pull, the harder she'd pull. We almost succeeded in scaring each other to death.
Massena, New York
Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.
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