Posted by: patwogan | October 29, 2008

My Grandma Hudiburg

After Grandpa Hudiburg died in 1940 we moved to the old Home Place across the road from Grandma Hudiburg so my folks could keep better track of her health which wasn’t really that good.  It was at that time that I really got to know Grandma. 

After George went to college, I began to spend the nights at Grandma’s house so she wouldn’t be alone.  Grandma told the best stories.  We would snuggle down in bed and I would ask her to tell me a story.  Now Grandma’s stories weren’t little namby-pamby stories.  They were sometimes true stories of murders that had taken place in Montgomery County and ghosts that still walked and haunted the site of their murders. 

When I say we would snuggle down in bed, I wasn’t kidding.  Grandma had a big feather bed and heavy home-made wool quilts..that’s right..quilts, plural.  When you go to bed in a feather bed, you sink down into it.  Add to that a couple of heavy quilts and there was no way a person could turn over or wiggle around.  Snuggle down was all you could do.  The house wasn’t heated at night.  No plumbing to freeze up so it really didn’t matter.  The wood stove was in the dining room and the fire was “banked” at night which, I think meant  a process so it wouldn’t go completely out and was easily re-started in the morning.  So it was necessary for the quilts to be on the bed so we were a little bit warm. It would definitely be cold enough that you could see your breath.   

Grandma’s nighttime ritual involved removing her cotton stockings and wrapping one of them around her neck.  She then pinned it with a safety pin so it would stay in place.  This was to keep her throat warm so she wouldn’t catch cold.  She also had rheumatism as it was called then.  I imagine it is what we call arthritis today.  To combat the pain of that she used Absorbine Jr. liniment.  I rubbed it on her back and she rubbed it on her arms and legs.  It smelled very mediciny.  We both wore flannel nightgowns.

 

 

 

 

After we got all snuggled down, I would ask Grandma to tell me a story.  None of the murderers in her story killed people in a subtle way.  There were ax murders who left bloody handprints on the door sill.  There was a man who killed his pregnant wife and small child and then put their bodies in a barn and burned it.  He said his wife had left him, but the police found unburned shoes and bones in the ashes of the barn.  There were lynchings and drownings and other gory tales of death.  There were also a lot of ghosts in Montgomery County apparently and Grandma knew about all of them.  I loved her stories.  After a story, I would cuddle up to Grandma and go to sleep, always feeling perfectly safe in that big bed with her.  I know these sound like strange stories to tell a kid, but Grandma knew what I liked.

Every morning Grandma would make pancakes for me and also for the dogs.  Sometimes they were made with cornmeal and buttermilk.  Grandma was a really good cook, not fancy, but good home cooking comfort food.  I loved the dog pancakes.  Sometimes we would have oatmeal for breakfast or country cured ham and eggs.  Another breakfast treat was fried mush with syrup. 

I wish I had known more about Grandma’s childhood, but somehow it never came up.  I have studied my geneology since I was grown, and know a little more about her background.  I do know she had suffered a breakdown of some kind after the birth and death of a child who was born and died between my Aunt Bess and my Father.  That was also something she never talked about. 

It’s funny how many questions you can think of after no one is there who can answer them, isn’t it?

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Responses

  1. Usually we are afraid to ask for fear of hearing how much luckier we are now than they were then. Also I think we know we are lucky to have all the memories we already possess and do not want to know about sadder times. I am enjoying the stories and looking daily. Had Crystal read one of mine and she was critical of my failure to pay attenyoion to speel check

  2. Its so true. There have been occasions I wished I could call granma or grandad for advice or stories of the past. I think its facinating. Thank you pat.


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