I think one of my favorite holiday memories is the year I got my Ballerina Barbie from my Grandpa and Grandma Searles. I had to be around 10 years old. It was my first and only Barbie.
I still have her and her cloths, safely tucked away and she is still just as special to me.
My grandparents were the perfect example of an old country couple. My gramps still used his outhouse. Their home the "Wallenback Inn" (a historical landmark) never had hot water or a bathtub. My grandma's kitchen cupboards were painted pink (her favorite color). My grandfather came up with the color by mixing paints that he had on hand including his tractor paint (Allis Chalmers - Orange). Monday's were wash day and Gram's still used her wringer washer and hung out her cloths to dry. Fridays were grocery day and they always splurged to have grape soda on hand for us grand kids. They always would have their big meal at noon and dinner was a sandwich. My grandmother never got her drivers licence and they did not have a phone until after my grandpa died in 1991, and my grandma never used it, not once.
Every evening was spent watching Jeopardy and the Wheel of fortune with their daily beer, except for Saturday night.... that was Hee Haw and Lawrence Welk (gag)(stupid bubbles). I did enjoy Hee Haw... Every time I got to visit, I played with my grandmothers button box, it was full of old beautiful buttons some of them had rhinestones and I thought they were treasure, I loved those buttons and at their estate auction, I searched and searched till I found the buttons, someone had removed them from the special box, but I still got my treasures... I think Gram got a kick out me loving something so simple as her buttons.
I was lucky my school bus passed by their house every morning and every morning we turned the corner on to their road, and my grandmother would be standing in the front door with the lace panel pulled aside to wave at us kids. I don't remember her missing a day, even when she felt poorly. I will still drive by now and the shock of her not being in the window, effects me.
They were good people, poor people....but they always had gifts for us at Christmas and never, ever opened their presents from us, in front of us it was always in private. They lived off of the land as best as they could and in their older age, my father and his older brother farmed the land and took care of the animals to make sure they had what they needed and could pay their taxes.
Ive always had such wonderful examples of goodness and not living beyond your means, taking care of your family as time and age changes your role... If I can live even a quarter of my life like my grandparents and my parents, I will feel like I did it right.