Childhood Memories Friday: What to Do at Grandma’s House

Childhood Memories Friday

Many of my childhood memories involve spending time at my grandparents’ house a few hours away. I don’t remember a lot of visits when I was little; more when I was maybe 12 and older. What to do at Grandma’s house? I was too old for a basket of toys, but too young to join in with the adults.

Magazines & Letters

I remember reading magazines there. A LOT of magazines. To this day, when I see a Reader’s Digest, I think of my grandma’s house. I became intimately familiar with Joe’s spleen, lungs, and more. I read a lot of real-life adventures. And I always hoped that the mini book at the back would be a good one. There were often a big pile of Good Housekeepings too — I loved the advice columns. Oh, to be an adult facing such issues as what to do when your sister didn’t invite your young kids to her wedding!

At my grandparents', 1969

At my grandparents’, 1969

Another pastime was to read letters from my mom to my grandma. Back in those days, letters back and forth were the main means of communication, and my grandma always kept the letters in a letter-holder in her dining room. I loved grabbing a few and reading them. There was something spy-like about reading the mundane bits of my family’s life in secret! I read many thing I knew, and a few I shouldn’t have seen (but not surprisingly, still remember).

You’ll notice that most of my doings involved reading — probably not a surprise. I have always gravitated toward the written word.

Photo Albums

I also liked to look through my grandparents’ photo albums. These were frequently the kind where you arrange photos on a page and then settled a clear sheet over them. Now those albums have been revealed as being awful for preserving photos, sadly. One thing I remember thinking as I paged through these albums was how odd it seemed that old people took so many photos of flowers. Seriously? You went on a trip and took pictures of the plants? This seemed so boring. Yet lately I have found myself grabbing my camera to take photos of garden plants and flowers. The circle of life, I guess.

Do you remember time at your grandma’s house when you were a child? What did you do there?

6 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: What to Do at Grandma’s House

  1. Times with my grandmother were some of my favorite memories. When she lived near us, I often spent the night at her house. We’d eat, clean up the kitchen, then go to bed and read. 🙂 In the one house I remember, she had two twin beds in her room, on opposite corners, and we’d read and then talk and check in with each other a bit, then read some more. I’m sure we must have done other things, but that’s all I remember. Well, I also remember listening to the adults talk when there was anyone else around – a favorite pastime until my mom would tell me to “go out and play.”

    I also took a few trips with her. She had kids in TX, LA, and AL and would often take some time in the summer visiting each one. We used to call her the Galloping Grandma. 🙂 A few times I accompanied her on those trips – I felt very special.

  2. This post has brought back many memories. I particularly enjoyed the picture of Grandpa. With him having been ill for so many years, it’s almost hard to remember a time he was so straight and tall. Since that picture was taken in 1969, that would have been shortly after they moved into that house, following the fire of the old farmhouse. And it makes sense, because Grandma put so many more things on the wall above the piano as the years went by. But the clock always remained as the centerpiece.

  3. I loved loved loved going to Grandma Kamman’s house in Holland. The rare times I got to stay overnight was a taste of heaven! Food was always good. I remember their salmon patties! I’d sleep upstairs in Aunt Lauretta’s bedroom, with her. I can remember once I brought my friend Eloise Buse along and we both spent the night.

    Then I LIVED in Grandpa & Grandma Schulte’s ambling farm home, with my parents. I have tons of memories of Grandma Schulte. I could write a lot about her! She made yo yos and connected some for curtain tie backs. She must have sewn well because weekly she & Grandpa went to Huntingburg for groceries. Their visit included a stop at Virgil & Geneva Elshoff’s home. Virgil was Grandma’s son from her first marriage. Weekly she brought home a stack of clothing that needed to be mended. Grandpa Schulte would bring me a Clark Candy Bar.

    I hope my grand children have fun memories spent with me.

  4. My paternal grandma lived in Chicago so I never visited her. My maternal grandma lived one block from us until we moved to a different house when I was 13. So I got to see her and my grandpa all the time. One thing I remember is going to visit them when I got home from school. My grandma baked homemade bread nearly everyday. Her house smelled wonderful. She would give me a slice of bread with real butter on it. And she always sprinkled some sugar on it!! I would take it out to the front porch and sit on the porch swing with my grandpa. A delicious memory!

    When my grandparents wanted to talk about something they didn’t want us kids to know, they would talk in German. I wish they would have taught us words in German, but they didn’t. I don’t know if they could read or write it, but they sure could speak it.

  5. What wonderful memories I have of my maternal grandparents, John and Dora McLaughlin! The families of all three of their children gathered at their home on Sundays after church for an old-fashioned home-cooked Sunday dinner. The afternoon would be spent with lots of talking and laughter, card playing, and the young cousins hooping and hollering in the back yard. I absolutely loved to climb the cherry tree out back, and I delighted in staying up there as long as I could even when Grandma taunted me to come down before I got hurt!
    For one week every summer, my cousin Larry and I got to stay at our grandparents house. What a fun time that week always was. I got a kick out of the telephone party line that Grandma used to eavesdrop on. Her ring was 2 longs and 3 shorts, but she also knew the rings of her closest friends and neighbors, so sometimes they all chimed in on the same 3-way conversation. Grandma loved her radio soap operas like Lorenzo Jones that I would listen to along with her. Grandpa often drove me to my piano lessons in Huntington on Saturday mornings, and I still love him for that! My childhood was filled with very loving grandparents and happy memories. How I would love to eat one of Grandma’s chicken dinners with mashed potatoes and gravy, noodles, etc. once again. Her cherry and apple pies were to die for!

  6. Loved reading your memories! My grandma lived just across town so we got to visit her often. Her kitchen smelled the best of any I’ve ever been in. Of course, she was a wonderful cook. I remember beef and noodles and hot buttered corn and salads, and the large buffet when we went to dinner there with my cousins. We might get to sit a Grandpa’s desk and draw on pieces of paper with a pencil. He had a funny eraser that you could bend every which way. They had dark wood built-in cupboards in the dining room, one of which held a box of “toys” – old purses, a telephone, Avon bottles… She had a candy dish with chocolate stars. In the living room she’d let us pound on the old upright piano, and along with the modern TV there was a furniture-style radio standing against the wall. She put her doilies on the arms and back of every chair and the sofa. So many lovely remembrances! She had the best popcorn balls at Halloween and the best fudge at Christmas!!

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