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Granny Wilhite

Granny Wilhite was my favorite grandma. She was a queen in my eyes. I guess when I'm asked to write about something special in my life she always comes to mind. As I'm sitting here writing this I have tears welling up in my eyes of thirty-three years. You see Grannie Wilhite died when I was in the 8th grade. I'll never forget that day because I was at volleyball practice at Junior High on Vesper Street when my mom came into the gymnasium where we were having practice to tell me of my Granny's death. I was only 13 years old. I didn't have long to have my Grannie around! Sometimes, I think that really isn't quite fair because she still had so much life to teach me about.

I remember the good old days with Grannie on the farm. She had chickens, kittens, lilac bushes, wonderful sorghum molasses cookies, good home cooking, and a really cool old farmhouse. I was the youngest of all the grandchildren because my dad was the youngest. He came along when Grannie was already in her 40's. Both my Pa and Grannie spoiled him because the others were grown and gone. He and his brother and two sisters were all close though. I never knew my pa because he died the year before I was born. I'm told he and I would have been the best of buddies.

However, being the youngest grandchild by a lot of years, I was really spoiled by Grannie Wilhite. When I would visit her on the farm, she would take me down to the chicken coop with basket in hand to help her get fresh eggs, and then she would give me some of them to bake my mudpies. Well, to this day I love old baskets and have amassed quite a collection of old egg baskets. Grannie would also give me real sugar to use in my concoctions.

I would play for hours out by the well in the warm sun baking my special recipe mudpies. I would use water from the well and then mix them up on the old wire rack by the tree in the yard. There they would stay for hours baking in the sun. What I wouldn't give to be back in that old yard by the well baking my mudpies. Grannie also had lilac bushes & peonies growing in the yard. On a warm, spring day you could smell the sweet fragrance of lilac in the air, and I loved to pick big bouquets of peonies for her. I guess that's why I've always like lilac colognes and sprays. I bet you can't guess what types of flowers and bushes are growing in my yard now that I'm an adult?!

When it came to disciplining, my Grannie would never let my mom or dad get on to me while she was around. She always stuck up for me, and I felt so loved and protected. I'm a lot like my Grannie because we both save(d) everything. You would never see her throw away anything that she thought she could possible use for something else. I'm the same way! My nickname is "pack rat." I truly am because I just keep accumulating stuff that should be tossed out. But I can't throw things out because I see value in most everything.

Grannie was a very sentimental and passionate about all her treasures. I do believe she probably had every fragrance of Avon that ever was made. That's because everyone gave her a bottle for Christmas and her birthday. Grannie also had a lot of miscellaneous treasures. I remember how much I love to play Barbies at Grannies because she would let me use absolutely anything-including her breakable treasures like teacups and plates. I had the best Barbie set ups anyone ever did see because nothing was off limits to me. I remember on thing I couldn't touch, and it was a hula girl on the back room porch. The only reason I couldn't touch it was because it was my dads when he was younger and he told me not to mess with it. Guess what? I now own my own hula girl that bobbles back and forth just like the one on the old back porch.

I remember being sick with colds a lot as a little girl. Grannie would yank open my nightgown and rub down my chest with Vicks. I must say that it really worked because I would quit coughing and fall asleep. I slept with Grannie when we stayed with her. You have to understand my granny's physical make up. She was an old, farm woman who was just as short as she was round. Grannie had a very strong hands and her bellybutton stuck out. I guess that was because she had four babies in her lifetime and developed a hernia. She wore old dresses and aprons. I rarely saw her dressed up and one of the few times was at her funeral in 1979. Sometimes, Grannie even wore a bonnet or a scarf on her head. I remember as I turned into a young preteen that I loved to fix Grannie up with makeup and curl her hair. I think I put every fragrance of that Avon cologne all over her. One time, I even burned her head with the curling iron but she never said a word about it!

My Grannie Goodens, as we all called her, made the best sorghum molasses cookies ever! They were soft and chewy in the middle. She would let them sit and cool out on the front porch in an old fruitcake tin with soldiers on it. When we would arrive in Harrisburg, Missouri to visit her she would hand me the tin for first choice. We've all tired to make the cookies like her but on one can because she would measure by memory. She never did write down her recipes. They say I come the closest, but still they're not her sorghum molasses cookies. Oh by the way, I have a soldier tin just like the one Grannie used to serve us those wonderful sorghum molasses cookies in, and I serve my cookies from the same tin.

One last thing about Grannie is how she talked with her hands, Everytime she would get to talking and get excited, then those hands would get going too! They say that I talk with my hands like my Grannie. I'm so proud every time someone says, "that you're like your Grannie Wilhite." I will forever hold a very special place in my heart for this dear woman-my Grannie Wilhite.

~Author: Terry Lynn Holstrom~
Blue Springs, Missouri

Terry Lynn is a grade school teacher in Missouri. She is a wonderful person and an inspiration to her students, family and friends. She is very well liked in her classroom, as well as, outside of her classroom. There needs to be more teachers, like herself out here to teach and care so much for children. Terry's teachings of today to her students are preparing them for their future.

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