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Monday, April 7, 2014


For those who know I'm waiting for my first grandchild to be born--Not Yet!  This post isn't about me, but rather it's about MY grandparents and grandparenting in general.  When I was born in 1950 my father's father was 65 and his mother was 53.  We called my grandfather Papaw.  This is the only photo I have of him with me in it, taken when I was probably 2½....

We called my grandmother Mamaw.  I do not have a photo of her with me as a child.  This one was taken before my time in late 1946 with her four grandchildren from her marriage to my grandfather....

On my mother's side there was only my widowed grandmother who was 47 when I was born.  She was called Grandma Rozgony when this photo was taken of her with me and my mother.  I was almost 3....
Grandma Rozgony married again 3 years later so we started calling her by her new last name...Grandma Spencer.  I do not have any photos of me with my step-grandfather.

Until I was 11 we lived a 4-hours' drive from my fraternal grandparents and a day's drive in the opposite direction from my maternal grandparents.  After age 11 everything reversed when we moved north and were 3½ hours from my mother's parents and a 13-hour-day's drive to my father's (and yes, we'd leave early and not stop till we got there!).  I remember visiting the set of grandparents that lived the closest often and only seeing the other once a year.  But the frequency of visits never made that much difference as far as our relationship was concerned.  Whenever we visited there were always a number of cousins about so I was just one of several children.  The only individual attention I remember getting was the one time I remember Mamaw braiding my hair for me.  That's not to say my grandparents didn't give me attention, but that is the only time I remember getting it....except the time I got in trouble with Papaw for backtalking!  And all the times I let the screen door slam--he noticed me then!

How times changed by the time I had my children.  My father died before my boys were born, but my mother lavished her attention on them on her twice yearly visits to us (she'd fly up from Florida) and our every-couple-years' visits to her.  She'd send them notes in the mail and talk on the phone to them.  We called her Grandma Gilleylen....
My mother passed away at age 73 when my boys were 15, 12, and 6.

We only got to see Ken's parents about once a year, alternating visits here and there since it was a 12-hour drive.  The lower left photo are the two youngest sons with their Grandma Schultz about 3 years before she died....  

One of the reasons we did not make the trip to their house very often was because of all their antiques and do-dads.  Our boys were constantly being reminded by their grandparents not to touch anything.  Their visits to us, however, were much more relaxed.  Grandma would read to the boys while Grandpa Schultz told stories about his growing up years.  He played cards, gardened, and built snowmen with them....
Ken's father passed away at age 83½ when the boys were 22, 19, and 13, and his mother at age 91 when they were 32, 29, and 23.

I've been thinking about all this because I'm 63 and Ken is 67.  When this granddaughter who is about to be born is 18 we'll be 81 and 85 and even older for subsequent grandchildren by their 18th birthdays.  We are an hour and 20 minutes' drive away--much closer than I ever was to my grandparents or my children to their grandparents.  This will be a whole new experience for me with no prior examples of how it should be done.

But I have my own ideas.  I've been collecting books, videos, and toys for years and envision playing with my grandchildren....

Outside we still have the boys' tree house and swing set and have plans to build a playhouse for the little ones....

Since all 3 sons live in the same general area we'd love to have "cousins camps" here at the house on weekends and during the summer--campouts with campfires in the yard, excursions to the many historical sites in the area, tubing on Antietam Creek, swimming at Greenbriar Lake.  And, of course, numerous tea parties and picnics!  I've even dreamed of taking older grandchildren to foreign countries. 

Whether we'll live long enough and be in good-enough shape remains to be seen.  In the meantime, my grandchildren will have the scores of photo scrapbooks, and now my Blogs, to remember us by.  If I've forgotten to tell them the stories about their father they'll be able to go to the scrapbooks or view the many movies we took of our boys growing up.  I hope this will at least allow them to know us in ways I never really knew my own grandparents--nor my boys their grandparents.  

As for what I'm to be called?  I'd like to be called Grandmama, if only to distinguish me from my own grandmothers and my children's grandmothers.  What do you think?  Does it sound outdated? What about Grandma Cathy?  

If you are a grandparent, what name do you go by?  Do they call their other set of grandparents by the same moniker?  What are some of your favorite activities with your grandchildren?

And the BIG question I'd like to ask is, will you be annoyed to death with me for posting a million photos and telling you every little thing my granddaughter is up to?! 


  1. Cathy, I thought when I saw your title you would be making a big announcement! Those babies come when it's time and I guess it's not time yet. If you wish to be called Grandmama I think that's what you should be called. It's endearing and it looks like you are going to take your role very seriously! My husband and I have always loved being grandparents. When we became grandparents almost 19 years ago ( I married young and had a baby a year later) I was not ready to be called Grandmother. My nickname that my Dad gave me as a child is Boo, so that is my grandmother name. My husband is called Bear by the grands. I would love if share all about your granddaughter. What kind of Grandmama would you be if you didn't? I think since you live close to your children it will be wonderful to be involved with her. Our first grandson lived in our town the first 6 years of his life and then his parents moved to New Hampshire and took him away. We were devastated! LOL We decided that would not keep us from seeing him at least once every quarter. Needless to say we have many frequent flyer miles. This fall he will begin living with us as he attends college. Our other grandsons live 50 miles away and we see them all the time. You are going to have so much fun--I'm excited for you! ♥

    1. Thank you, Martha Ellen, for telling me about your grandparenting experience. Cute names you two have! Who knows, the way children mispronounce words we may end up with names we never dreamed of! ☺ We've been married 45 years so we could very well have had grown grandchildren by now. How wonderful that your grandson will be living with you while he is in college.

    2. Absolutely loved seeing the old photo's Cathy! The one of Papaw in 1946 was David, Jim, Bruce and I think Kenny too. But who is the baby on Mamaw's lap? As for what you want to be called. I chose simply "Grandma". My step-grandchildren call me Grandma Sandy. My biological grandson, Cody, calls me "Gramma". and he calls my daughter-in-laws mother "Nana". Some of my friends grandchildren call them "MeMe" (spelling?). You could never make me tired of seeing your grandchild's post them frequently!! You are going to be a WONDERFUL Grandmother:!!, Love Sis

    3. Hi Sandy! I only see 4 chilldren in the photo with Mamaw. ☺ I've always thought that was Bruce on Mamaw's lap. Ronnie is the little boy in the back. Thanks for all the possible names for grandmother. We'll have to see what she is able to say. Grandmama is a mouth full!

  2. That flew away while I was editing it. I know you are eager for this grandbaby to arrive. And life will never be quite the same, wonderfully so. We have the old fashioned names of grandma and grandpa and only live ten minutes from our grandchildren. But when a week goes by that we don't see them I get quite lonely for them. They can have busy schedules even as toddlers. Your husbands grandmother looks so much like mine and your stories are similar to mine. I guess that is just how it was back in those days.

    1. Hi Dotsie, your first comment came through but I did publish it since you rewrote it ☺ Thanks for telling me of your experience. I feel excited about being a grandmother, but because it doesn't feel at all the same as becoming a mother I don't quite know what to expect. Being a mother felt very natural to me, but being a grandmother seems unreal because my grandmothers were so old by the time I was old enough to remember them ☺. I think it might be because I hardly have any gray yet. Maybe once my hair turns gray I'll feel like a grandmother?!

  3. What a tease, Cathy! When I saw the title of today's post, I thought "At last! The baby is finally here..." But even though there's still no baby news, this was a great post. You were not kidding when you said you've been stockpiling toys and books, and that a service person thought you were running a daycare center. Oh boy! I think it looks like a children's store even more than a daycare center. What a stash! Your granddaughter is going to LOVE coming over to your house. You go right ahead and post as much as you want about all your grandkids. In the first place, it's YOUR blog and you're talking about YOUR life. So of course you're going to talk about grandkids - they'll be a big part of your life. Secondly, to me a blog should sound as though you're chatting over coffee at a friend's kitchen table, and if we really were, of course you'd be talking about your grandchildren. Besides I can't think of better company than little kids. If I ruled the world, I see to it than little kids [and dogs] ruled the world.

    PS - I was lucky in grandparent dept. The only one I never knew was my mom's dad who died when she was 15. But the others I had for a long time. My maternal grandma died when I was 27, paternal grandfather when I was 32 and paternal grandmother when I was 48. Even had a great grandpa for 3 years, and his wife, my Irish immigrant great grandmother, lived to be 96. I remember her so clearly - a mere 5 feet tall with snow white hair and sparkling blue eyes. And most of the time I knew her, full of beans.

    1. ☺Yes, I AM a tease whenever I think I can pull it off without getting someone mad at me! Thank you for letting me know you won't get annoyed with my grandbaby chatter. ♡ I agree about the company of little children. I taught preschool-age Sunday School for several years and think that's that the best age ever! I always feel the most comfortable with that age when it comes to people....I think that's why they gravitate to me. I'm always getting smiles from children I don't know when I'm out and about. What you had to say about your grandparents made me realize I didn't mention how old I was when mine died, which is curious to me since I mentioned how old my children were when their grandparents died. Papaw died when I was 10, Mamaw lived to be 103 so I was 50 when she died. Grandpa Spencer (my step-grandfather) died when I was 16 and Grandma Spencer died when I was 38. I had one set of great grandparents I got to meet. They were Mamaw's parents. I was 7 and 9. I never got to meet Papaw's father who died in 1947. It amazes me to think that he was born during the Civil War--my great grandfather! Makes me feel very old.

  4. Just wanted to let everyone know that Olivia June was born tonight just after 9:30. She weighed 8 lbs. 7 oz. and is 20 inches long. Mother and baby are doing fine.

  5. Hey! Wonderful, wonderful news! Many congratulations to Grandma and Grandpa Schultz! And of course to the new Mommy and Daddy, and Grandma & Grandpa on Mommy's side as well. So happy for you all. I'm sending you a virtual bouquet of violets [which always make me think of babies]. Does Olivia look like anyone yet? Is she being called Livvie? So cute. Blessings and all good things for your new little pudder!

    1. Thank you Janet. They plan to call her Olive! Everyone agrees she looks like her father so far, who looks like me except for my nose. He looks a lot like me and my father, except for the nose, but I think Olivia/Olive might have gotten that. Each of our sons have different features of ours, so no one looks exactly like us. One interesting fact! Olivia was born on Michael Learned's birthday! And of course, she played Olivia on the Waltons. ☺

    2. Here's hoping "new" Olivia will be very much like Olivia Walton! A fine role model for any girl. And hope there'll be pictures soon too!


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