Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

My Great-Grandmother, Katie

My great-grandmother stood all of 4 foot ten. She was a farm wife who gave birth to nine children and raised all but one to adulthood. She was known for her ability to heal. Whenever a woman in the area was having a baby, or whenever anyone was sick or hurt, the first thing said was, "Go get Katie."

When my great-grandparents were too old to farm, they moved to a small house in my little hometown. My grandfather, without fail, visited each and every day to chat and to make sure that they had everything they needed.

Katie was known for her cooking. A favorite family quip was that she could pull enough food out of her tiny icebox to feed an army-- might even have enough for second helpings. Age and infirmity meant that Katie had to use two canes to walk, but when spring came each year, she would plant a huge garden: she'd poke a hole in the soil with one cane, push the seed into the hole and tamp down the dirt with the other.

She was very secretive with her recipes-- none of which were written down. My mother, who was fascinated with cooking, would have to hide herself well from Katie's sharp eyes in order to watch and commit the recipes to memory.

I have a small cracked plate that used to belong to Katie. The pattern is a garish orange and navy blue on white, but that small plate survived travel in a Conestoga wagon from Ohio to Illinois. By the time of her death in the late 1950s, men were traveling in space.

I salute you, Katie, and all other mothers today. So much of what you do goes unsung.


  1. Lovely tribute, Cathy! I wish I knew the history of my great-grandparents as well as you.

  2. I enjoyed reading about Katie! It is amazing how our great grandparents lived and how strong they were. Beautiful tribute!

  3. What a lovely story, Cathy! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  4. How nice to have a picture of your great-grandmother and to share it with lus. Happy Mom's Day!

  5. A beautifully written, moving story. My eyes are a little misty. You have a wonderful feminine heritage.

  6. Great post, Cathy. I liked reading about your great grandmother. I am also fascinated by the picture. I love old b/w pics. Don't know why, I just do!

  7. What a nice tribute to Katie - I imagine you inherited some of her spunk!

  8. That's a charming story, Cathy. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  9. Molly--Sometimes I think I know too much because I left out a lot about Katie.

    Missy-- Thank you!

    Kay-- You're welcome. I'm glad you liked it.

    Harvee-- I've never been a mom (except to fur kids), but thank you!

    Margot-- The women in my family are definitely interesting! LOL

    Louise-- I love photos from that era. They've always "spoken" to me.

    Kathy-- None of the women in my family lack spine. I'm the wimp in the bunch!

    Susan-- You're welcome!

  10. What a wonderful tribute! I just lov the picture too.

  11. Kris-- I'm going to go through some of the old photos I have and scan them in. I love them, too.

  12. What a lovely post! Personally, I could never understand why women need to be so secretive about their recipes. I love it when someone asks me for a recipe -- and gladly give it. But then, I can't say I can whip up something from nearly nothing either (but my husband can).

  13. Kim-- No one could ever figure out why she was like that about her recipes. All they knew was that they wanted to eat whatever she cooked (she was a marvelous cook), so they just let her be! LOL


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