Tag Archives: hard times

Celebration of Quilts, Dump Cake and Hard Times

quilt exampledump cake recipeIf someone in your family hasn’t reminded you of  The Great Depression lately, you haven’t been listening.

I have an quilt that my mother found among some old things and gave to me. From the fabrics, I already know it was made in the 1930s, when everything, including fabric, was precious. From the workmanship, I know it was hastily made. Not all the pieces match. It’s a common pattern, thirty star blocks, predominantly yellow in color. The charm of a handmade quilt is that it’s make-do made art. Since most of us have had to make-do, at one time or another, we know it’s one thing to handle hard times with grace and another to handle them with style. Taking scraps of material too good to throw away and turning them into quilts has to be one of the higher expressions of make-do.

Dump-cake is another example. The recipe that has came down in my family is actually quite good. If hard times include dump-cake, I’m not likely to whine. Of course, the recipe assumes you have a jar of fruit sitting around. Canning your own fruit and vegetables is also an art that not many of us do any more.

My mother is sure we’re all going to have to learn those old skills again. She sees a root cellar in every back yard. Hope not, I like my deck and umbrellas. However, I do have a compost box.

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Filed under Family history, History, Keepsakes, Memories

No One Remembers Her Need

I know a family who handles hard times by referring to them as memories. “We’ve just made a memory,” they’ll say in the face of some new setback. Good strategy. No matter how bad it gets, they’re always richer in memories. 

Cars and Ranches Come and Go

Cars and Ranches Come and Go

In the 1920s, when she was in her 80s, my great grandmother, Sophia, decided automobiles were part of the modern world. A person had to drive to stay in the driver’s seat. With that in mind, she talked her youngest son, my grandfather, into giving her a driving lesson—one of the most talked about events in our family. Sophia, I’m told, was never a woman given to compromise. She was strictly all or nothing. In short, she drove with the same steely stubbornness with which she’d built the family ranch from scratch.  

Full gas. Full brake. Hard right. Hard left. 

 She scared the life out of every man, woman, child and rooster that happened to be around that day. No one has forgotten that morning, even those, like me, who only know it second-hand. Sophia never learned to drive. Supposedly that morning was the moment she knew she was old. Before that, she’d never met a challenge she couldn’t match. However, if she was old, she wasn’t defeated. Instead of driving cars, she bought cars. She bought cars for kids, grandkids, even some of the hired help—anyone she thought she might need to drive her someplace. What they remember is not her need, but her generosity. 

Those of us with less goods, don’t have to be less generous. Ranches, like hard times, come and go. Stories stick. If you have a story, you have something to share. If you have more than one story, you’re rich. If you tell your stories with a largeness of spirit, the world will sit at your knee.


Filed under Family Stories, Funny story, Uncategorized