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?

A Hornet’s Nest: The Bishop and My Shoes

They were gathered in a circle when I walked in. Call it naivete or being preoccupied with my classes, I was totally unprepared for the conclave of bishops, school administrators and other assorted male authorities that greeted me on entering the conference room at Lancaster Mennonite School where I was part of the English faculty. Yes, I had walked into a hornet’s nest indeed:

Bishop: Hello, Sister Longenecker

S. L.  (weakly) Hello

Bishop: We have called this meeting with you to discuss some matters that relate to the standards of this school and your manner of dress.

What! . . . This is an ambush.

S. L. Oh . . .

Bishop: Yes, you are familiar with the contract you signed last year when you were hired for this position.

S. L. Well, yes . . . .

Bishop: In it you agreed to uphold the “Rules and Discipline” of the Lancaster Conference of the Mennonite Church.

Christian Doctrine_cover_150_med

S. L. Yes, I recall. . . .

Bishop: You remember also there is a statement about the wearing of the plain cape dress.

S. L.  No comment . . . listening intently

Bishop: We have noticed that you are embellishing your dress with a collar and fancy button, which seems entirely unnecessary and certainly not a good example to our students.

Marian_LMSchool

Bishop: Also, you have been wearing another dress made of red material as well.

S. L. Now completely aghast . . . I want to disappear. Well, I do have a dress like that but the fabric has very dark shades of red, not very bright at all.

Bishop: And your shoes — the rules state that “ . . . dark footwear is the best expression of modesty and nonconformity for all our sisters,” and we hope that you will comply.

S. L. Looking down at my shoes, I see a black, patent leather shoe with a tiny bow and kitten heels. Dear Lord, this is getting very bad—I’m not a nun, but even I know that black patent leather shoes don’t really reflect up!

The Principal: To me, they look like dancing shoes.

S. L. Dancing shoes–gulp!–I don’t know even one dance step! Dancing is forbidden. It says so in the rule book.

Somehow the meeting concludes with no doubt some meek promise of compliance from me.

Fade to black . . . .

My Life in Shoes

Marian_Shoe Drawing_5x4_300med          blackshoes

Shoe drawing, circa age 10         Bane of the Bishop  1962

brownshoes           redshoes

Break-out Shoes   1965               My style now – red and shiny

What emotional connections, positive or negative, do you have with a item of clothing in your past? Tell us your story.