Friday, December 9, 2011

Grandma's Christmas tablecloth

Because my parents were very young when I was born, I was blessed to grow up with a great-grandma.  Her name was Minnie Eudora Bottoms King.  Isn't that some name?  She told me a story of meeting a man whose last name was Butz and she said "I know how you feel."  Said she was teased in school by other students for having the last name Bottoms.  I called her Grandma Minnie.  My mother's mother was Rosie the Riveter , working in a factory in downtown Indianapolis while her dad served in the navy.  Her Grandma raised her part-time.  My mother called her "Granny."  My Grandma Minnie was known for her home-made chicken and noodles.  Wherever she went, people asked her to make them.  I'm proud to say that this is true of me as well.  I've made chicken and noodles in Indiana, Tennessee, North Carolina and Maryland. 
Grandma was known as a great story teller.  Again, I follow in her footsteps with this trait.  I love a good story.  Not all agree with me.  Just as Grandma did, I already repeat myself and tell the same story over and over.  Some tire of my stories.  Oh well. 
After a meal, Grandma Minnie would push her plate forward and bring her hands together, clasping them together before her.  I grew to call this "assuming the position."  This is when, through out my lifetime, I would sit up a little straighter and pay rapt attention.  I knew Grandma was about to tell a story.  Oh, the stories she told!  Of setting up house-keeping in Illinois with a team of horses.  She and Grandpa never drove- always took the bus.  I said "you never had a car?" in an incredulous voice.  She said "well, no child, first of all, what good is a car?  What could it do for us?  A team of horses could help us farm!"  Years later, I would be the one to drive to Terre Haute to fetch Grandma back for Christmas.  She lived at 1923 First Avenue.  The house is still there.  It looks very small to me, now.  She told of being a cosmopolitan working woman and working at Sears Department Store in lingerie in downtown Indianapolis.  She always had a twinkle in her eye and bragged that she had heard it all and nothing we could tell her would shock her.  I don't think I ever saw her wear slacks.  Maybe at the very end of her life when she became painfully thin.  She always wore a dress and stockings and shoes with a little heel,  beads and earrings.  She had this crazy cackle (which I am guilty of as well).  She always smiled and never complained.  She was a strong influence on my mother and myself- who we both are today. 
One day mother asked me if I would like to have her Granny's Christmas tablecloth.  Without hesitation I accepted.  A story found here tells some of the history behind such tablecloths.  This particular cloth is seamed together.  When I asked my mother about the seam, she said "it must have just came at the end of the material and they pieced it together- that is how it was done back then, nothing was wasted. 



ceramic snowman I made years ago in ceramics class

I like using old things.  Especially in the kitchen.  I've used this tablecloth every year since my mother gave it to me.  I like to run my hand over the material and think about Grandma's hands.  Think about the stories that were told.  The conversations that my family had sitting at a table dressed with this cloth.  I think about the Christmas dinners when Grandpa would have a box of corsages for every woman in attendance from babies to old ladies- everyone got a corsage.  This tablecloth is Christmas to me.

14 comments:

KleinsteMotte said...

Well you have a similar mind set as I do. Sadly my stuff got taken by the folks who cleared the house after our fire in 2008. I had even embroidered two, one for each daughter.
What remains are some doilies made by my auntie and a spring table clothe from my mom. But best of all are our memories. So far they seem to be still intact!

Donna said...

Cheryl,
Oh, I love this! How thrilled she would be to know you have and enjoy her tablecloth. One of the anchors of our friendship is our affection for old things and particularly family things.
I enjoy time to "play house" with my old things; to switch things up; care for them; use them.
All these years and I never knew of your Terre Haute connection. (I graduated from Indiana State and Terre Haute is the city nearest where my in-laws lived so spent LOTS of time in Terre Haute.There was a period where we went shopping there at least once a month on Sunday afternoons.)
I have a grandmother's special tablecloth. It was always put on mom's kitchen table on Sundays. It wasn't Sunday without the special taupe tatted tablecloth. When we divided things, I handed it to Tim because he remembered it. When I was preparing for Ben's open house, I asked to borrow it and Jeannie told me to keep it. I love that tablecloth. It is the essence of Sundays home on the farm of my childhood. Mom didn't have lots of variety in things but of the nice things she had, they indeed were special to me.

Brian Miller said...

nice...love how this evokes such memories for you...i would use it as well just for that...and i love a good story....

ArtyMarti said...

What a treasure to have something this old, and know the back story. Your Grandma Minnie was the type of person that made America great--self reliant, historian, and humorist.

TARYTERRE said...

What a sweet, sweet story. You now have this lovely heirloom to help celebrate her memory at Christmas. Treasure it and keep it safe. Take care.

Karen said...

What wonderful memories..and such a nice heirloom piece to have and to USE!... loved this post.

My grandmother always wore dresses, heels, pearls and even an apron when cooking, which she did marvelously, besides being a career woman, back in the day when that wasn't popular.

Chatty Crone said...

Isn't it wonderful that something so beautiful recreates beautiful memories too? sandie

Kris said...

Cheryl, what a lovely story of your sweet Grandma! I too was lucky enough to know my GREAT Grandma, and well. She lived to her late nineties, and like your Gran, always wore a dress, with black heavy shoes, and hose, and a cardigan sweater, held together with a decorative clasp at the top. She was Southern ,and was a gooood cook. I have many of her linens and quilts today. I love to use them, and think of her. Clara Eliza Wright. Not nearly as stunning a name as your Gran, but good, solid, just the same. Love this bit of your history, my friend!!!! Thank you for sharing it. What a treasure that lovely tablecloth is!!!

Rae said...

What a wonderful and sweet story. Too often children don't bother to listen to those old stories and it is a shame. It' nice you have some lovely memories of your grandmother to share.

Sandy, Sisters of Season said...

Such precious memories . . . how special too. Your great grandma's name was too cute. Minnie was my mother-in-laws name also. The Christmas table cloth looks like its in good condition still. Hold on to it dearly, that is something you can pass down to your grandbaby. Enjoyed reading this posting. Sandy:O)

Rosemary said...

How wonderful for you to not only have such vibrant memories and the colorful tablecloth but to know that you inherited many of the traits you admire!

Reality Jayne said...

Hi....I am a newby to your blog. I am from Indiana too..Crumble Town, IN. I like your retro tablecloth. I love carbs...like C and Noodles. I will be back

Heidi said...

That tablecloth is so beautiful!What a treasure!...Have a great week!...Heidi

Victoria Mische said...

You are really sweet for using that table cloth in every special occasion you have! I know those stuff has sentimental value on you so you will treasure that thing as long as you live and for sure, you'll also pass that table cloth into your children or grandchildren.

I just wanna share one of my bookmarked chair covers store I recently encountered. It's a discounted store with lots of great and quality items!

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