Sirens and Sewing Machines

As young girls, Judy and I would spend a week during the summer with Grandma and Grandpa Bessler in Chicago.   Grandma Bessler was a tall woman… imposing… a no-nonsense kind of person.  She wasn’t a cuddly kind of grandma; but Grandma could make magic happen with her sewing machine.  When we arrived, she would take the clothes off our dolls, take the clothes apart and make patterns from the pieces.  She would reassemble the clothes and then make new clothes for our dolls.  It’s not surprising that Judy and I both learned to sew and made a lot of our own clothing as well as clothes for our children.

One of the funny things about spending time with Grandma and Grandpa B, was that every morning Grandma would ask if we had a bowel movement.  If we hadn’t, we got a spoonful of Castor Oil.  We soon learned to answer “Yes” automatically!

I can remember sweeping in Grandpa’s meat market and enjoying our aunts and uncles who lived right there in the same building.  I remember walking down to the corner store for special treats.

Although I loved visiting with my city cousins, I always felt out of place in the city.  There was so much noise and so much traffic.  One of my clearest memories of those visits was lying awake at night… listening.  With no air conditioning the windows were open, and all night long there was the sound of traffic and sirens.  By the end of the week I was ready to get back home to the quiet of the country.  It probably didn’t help that there was a cemetery right across the street!

Grandma was a great cook!  My favorite cookie was her lacy oatmeal cookies.

Grandma’s Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients.  Drop on an un-greased cookie sheet.  Press down with a sugared glass.  Bake for 10 minutes.

You don’t choose your family.
They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”
– Desmond Tutu