10 Ways My Grandma & I are Alike (or Unlike)

Grandma Longenecker with niece and maid-of-honor Evelyn ("Honey")
Grandma Longenecker with niece and maid-of-honor Evelyn (“Honey”)

10 ways I’m like (or unlike) my Grandma Longenecker  

1. She started fancy and turned plain. I reversed the cycle, plain to fancy.

GrandmaPortrait

2. She always wore black laced-up shoes with heels to do housework. For me, it’s tennis shoes in winter and sandals in the summer. No heels in the kitchen.

3. She never voiced criticism about a person (except once). I am an exception to her rule.

4. She wished to have prettier hands. I love the compassion and service her work-worn hands reveal.

5. She never learned to drive. I passed my driver’s test on the third try.

6. She never watched television. I’m a Downton Abbey addict.

7. Her sewing machine was rarely silent. Mine has been stowed away in favor of a computer.

8. She shoveled snow in Pennsylvania. I now live in Florida sans snow…

Grandma in sun-bonnet shoveling snow in Pennsylvania, 1950s
Grandma in sun-bonnet, skirt,  and apron shoveling snow in Pennsylvania, 1950s

9. No one left her house without a garden snip or a tasty morsel from the table. I seem to have the same sharing habit. So does my sister Janice!

Home-grown kumquats and soup mix
Home-grown kumquats and soup mix for a recipe from sister Janice

10. Grandma loved knee-slapping humor. Sister Jan remembers she even fell off a chair once overcome by gales of laughter. I don’t need an excuse to laugh either.

One of her pincushions - I'll never part with it!
One of her pincushions  I’ll never part with

Question Mark w border1_1x1_300

What habits or preferences have been passed to you from a relative?

What other similarities or differences have been passed between the generations?

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14 thoughts on “10 Ways My Grandma & I are Alike (or Unlike)

  1. I loved the comment about her hands and the different ways you viewed the evidence of hard work. Often the traits we would like to change may be the attributes that others admire the most about us.

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    1. Yes, those traits make us unique–and more useful than we may imagine. Thanks for the insight. I never thought about it in those terms before. Thanks, Traci. Keep those students in line today!

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  2. I too can vividly picture the shape, size and forms of my grandma’s hands. I carry her name, somewhat hidden, as Esther, my name and her name, is my middle name. I say to her now, “I love you,” even though I never said such words to her when she was alive.

    It began in my 50’s, noticing how I am connected to history, especially family history. My grandmother, in her latter years, sat in her rocking chair by the window, with a table/desk on wheels before her, and she made notebooks of clippings and important articles that she copied by hand. People would drive from far and near to come and talk to her about family connections and memories.

    Some of my grandma’s notebooks have come to me, and I am dwelling now over the history my grandma tended. Currently I am making an accurate-as-possible spreadsheet of all burials in the church cemetery, using the data kept by my grandmother Esther, her sister (my great aunt) Eunice, her daughters (my aunts) Hazel and Rachel. I’m enjoying passing on the ‘great work,’ begun by my ancestors, now in a new format to be shared with ‘the world’ on “find a grave.”

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  3. People like you and me (mostly women) are keepers of family history, adding on to the chain of artifacts from our ancestry. I love that you are “dwelling now over the history my grandma tended” by creating a spreadsheet of all the burials. I predict that you will do something special too with her notebooks of clippings and articles. We are so lucky to have scanners and computer programs to preserve and pass on.

    It’s also interesting that our fore-bears found it hard to say “I Love You.” I never heard those precise words growing up very much, if at all. Stiff German upper lip? Yet I knew I was loved. Now when I talk to Mother on the phone, we always end our conversations speaking those words to each other.

    Heart-warming story: Thank you, Dolores.

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  4. Sounds as if you are quite different from your grandma, keeping some of her best qualities and leaving behind the others. My paternal grandmother loved to garden and live in the country. So do I. My mom was a hard-driving achiever, and I’m afraid I inherited that trait and drive myself too hard. I looked like my paternal grandmother, except I inherited the short height of my maternal grandmother. Do you look like your grandma, Marian? I can’t tell in the photos.

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    1. No, I don’t look very much like my Grandma Longenecker, in complexion or in features, but I hope I have inherited some of her best qualities. Actually, I look more like my mother’s side of the family, the Metzlers. It’s always nice to see your smile in my corner, Elaine.

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  5. Marian – I love the compare-and-contrast list you provided in this post. With this description…

    “Grandma loved knee-slapping humor. Sister Jan remembers she even fell off a chair once overcome by gales of laughter. I don’t need an excuse to laugh either.”

    …you and your grandmother are women after my own heart!

    You asked, “What habits or preferences have been passed to you from a relative?” I’m not sure if it’s cultural (Scottish) or familial, but I’m frugal (not cheap, but frugal). It’s been said that Scots are so tight we can squeeze a nickel ’til the buffalo poops! 🙂

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  6. What wonderful memories of your grandmother, Marian! One of my grandmothers always had fits with my short fingernails. Hers were immaculate and pleasingly long; mine, because I was a tomboy and played sports, were always short. And now that I’m often found at my computer, they’re still short!

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  7. Your grandmother, Marian, and my grandmother AND my mother would have connected immediately and enjoyed each other immensely. All but one of your examples fits one or both of my beloved ladies. My grandmother was Pennsylvania Dutch, not Amish but Brethren, and I never heard her voice a criticism about anyone. That did not mean she trusted or accepted everyone; she had a way of standing quietly in front of some folks and not moving, preventing them from gaining access to her home or her family or neighbors, but she didn’t speak verbally against them. My mother didn’t openly criticize anyone, either, but she was the master of calm, specific questioning that was agonizingly effective.

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  8. Well, Marylin, we are both from Anabaptist heritage, which includes some branches of the Brethren, I believe. I love your stories of how the behavior of our maternal relatives mesh, especially the details. Though I don’t know you very well, my guess is that you are very like them. Thanks so much for posting!

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