REMEMBERING MY GRANDMOTHER
Grandma Budington was, in my opinion, the most beautiful old lady who ever lived. In her twinkling white hair there was not one strand that was not purest silver.
Grandma was probably as fine a cook as was to be found in the State of Michigan and on our cellar stairs were always to be found three crocks, one of sugar cookies, one of ginger cookies and one of doughnuts.
My mother, who was a strict Presbyterian, disapproved of her heartily, but nevertheless depended upon her to run our household, because mother was a business woman who ran very successfully the town's millinery store.
Pagan and Presbyterian had one thing in common, which was Pagan and Presbyterian had one thing in common, which was the love of beer, and they would send me down to the park casino with a large tin pail which I would have filled at the bar and bring back to them in their hiding place.
Grandma had the only set of quilting frames in the village. Thirefore, when a quilt was pieced and ready for quilting, all the old ladies in town would assemble at our house and make use of quilting frames while they drank tea and gossiped.
Grandma had come to Michigan from Albany, N.Y., in a covered wagon when she was a little girl. She had been a true pioneer.
She had three husbands, the last of which was her favorite. He was a very gentle, beautiful old gentleman with a lung white beard, and she revered him.
She was acquainted with farm families up and down the road and It was her custom, almost every week, to go and spend the day with one of them. In those days you did not make calls, you visited.
She had one book which she read over and over again. It was a paperbacked affair and the name of it was "Her Dark Marriage Morn."
In our house were two upstairs rooms, which were Grandma's. One was a bedroom and the other was a sitting room. Its decorations were two colored pictures called "Wide Awake" and "Fast Asleep." There was a whatnot on which were revered objects such as a bottle of water from the River Jordan, and daguerreotypes in conspicuous places of her friends and relatives.
She was acquainted with farm families up and down the road and it was her custom, almost every week, to go and spend the day with one of them. In those days you did not make calls, you visited.
Though of advanced age, she walked long distances to spend the day at the farms of her acquaintances. She was a sturdy old lady.
Down the street from our house was a boy whose name was Cappy Allen. It was his joy to make my life miserable. Every time I went to his end of the block, he would chase me home. Grandma did not like this and brought it to a conclusion.
The last time Cappy chased me home, Grandma stood at our front gate and when,I, a fugitive, sought shelter, she shut the gate against me and said, "Lick that boy!"
1 was more afraid of Grandma than I was of Cappy, so I turned on him and gave him a licking.
She brought me up because mother was so occupied with her business that she had little time for domestic affairs. So it was I learned more from her than from all the schools I ever attended. Her life's span extended from the days when the Indians were still important to the venturesome settlers to the 1890's when Portland, Mich., had become a settled and prosperous community.
Grandma had tremendous self-respect and pride in her appearance and her antecedents. I was the apple of her eye and it would safe to say that she devoted herself entirely to me and my concerns as I was growing up.
Her most intimate friend was a spare and severe Scotch woman, a Mrs. Gay, whose Scotch accent was so pronounced that it was difficult to understand. These two old ladies took me on their excursions, usually to Belle Isle Park in Detroit, where they would find a cozy spot in the woods and settle down for the afternoon.
There may exist today in the world old ladies like my grandmotlier and her friend Mrs. Gay, but I don't know where they can be found. If there do not exist isles of the blessed, to which people as my Grandma go when they pass away, then there is a defect in the hereafter.As I have said, she was a complete pagan, but if the world were made up exclusively of such pagans as she, there would be an eternity of peace and comfort and kindly friendship.