1. My mother and mother-in-law. Both very different women, but great role models in their different ways.
My mother was the brownies-in-the-oven-after-school type, which I know not everyone was blessed to have. She was a fabulous cook and baker, and supper was amazing almost every night (except when liver was served). As I've mentioned before many times, she was also a wonderful seamstress who made many, many of my dresses, jumpers and skirts over the years. (I've got a whole post about that in the works.) Our house wasn't pristine, but it was comfortable and decently neat. I'm guessing the photo below was from Easter in 1960 or so.
With seven kids, my mother-in-law baked multiple loaves of bread a few times a week and sometimes an entire loaf would be devoured before it cooled, according to my hubby. He and his siblings remember with great affection certain foods that she made. She's still with us, in her 90s, but not cooking much any more. She was more of a casual housekeeper and thought nothing of spending the day swimming or hiking with her kids rather than spending it at home. That's my mom-in-law at right below, along with her sister Alice -- another delightful lady! Photo from a few years back now. I know I have better ones, but this was the easiest to find.
2. My grandmothers couldn't have been more different, but they were both a blessing in my life. My maternal grandmother lived next door to us and I was in and out of her house all the time as a child. It was spotlessly neat and clean, even the guest rooms, and she was also a wonderful cook and baker. She was a homemaker par excellence (and her aprons always matched or coordinated with her dresses!) but she was also an astute businesswoman and always dressed up to go to town. In the photo below she looks harried and a little sad. She was widowed in her early 50s.
My paternal grandmother was a snappy dresser and it seemed as if she always wore heels. When she occasionally stayed at our house, I remember hearing her tap-tap-tapping around overhead. She was a practical nurse and lived in a succession of different apartments or rooms in my childhood, so when we visited we would often take her out to eat or to visit relatives. She usually looked quite glamorous and I often thought of her as looking like a fairy godmother. She always got us nice new pajamas for Christmas and she sent the interactive type of greeting cards for kids that included an extra like paper dolls or a maze or puzzle. I have found one that even had a magic slate incorporated in it. That's her below with another grandchild, I think. For sure it is not me.
My husband's maternal grandmother died the same year we were married, (if I'm not mistaken, and I may well be) but she was a delightful country woman through and through and I learned much from her. She enjoyed cooking and I copied many of her best recipes. She used to make a simple but fabulous cream cake and frost it with a sort of maple fudge or penuche frosting. Scrumptious! I can almost taste it. (Below, she is sitting with my hubby -- with whom she shared a birthday -- and his two older brothers.)
My paternal great-grandmother was elderly, living in a little upstairs apartment, when I was a child. This older photo shows that she was pretty proud of her chickens back when my dad was growing up.
My maternal great-grandmother usually looked rather sad and serious, but below is a rare smiley photo of her. This was taken at my grandmother's farm. I remember her, barely.
My aunts were terrific role models and they all blessed my life in different ways. My aunt Joanne was definitely my favorite and she made the biggest impression on me. That's her below with my cousin Gary and my brother Tim. She was a busy mother of six but always had time to spend with an older niece. She was a wonderful mother and aunt and a fantastic grandmother, always sending care packages to her grands and sisters. Her oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are legendary in our family.
4. My own experiences as a mother and grandmother are still ongoing, obviously. I am one of those very rare women who doesn't enjoy the baby stage. Once they are potty trained and can hold a conversation, I do much better. By the time they get to what I call the golden years -- roughly between age 7 and 12 -- they are pretty much just plain fun.
There's my sentimental Friday five! Hope you enjoyed it!
And a very happy Mother's Day to all!