When I began reading essays at Piedmont Community College in Yanceyville, North Carolina, I was struck by the happy place that grandparents, especially grandmothers, play in the lives of the students I meet.
Paper after paper recounts a grandma’s love. Her energy. Her patience. Her whimsy. Her cooking!
So when my daughter Kath announced that my first grandchild was on the way, I began to wonder (and worry) a bit.
What sort of grandma will I be? Will I earn someday a staring role in an essay?
A few weeks ago, Rick Stone brought in his paper. I’m a writing tutor. I have the privilege of looking over essays before the instructor does, with his or her grading pen in hand.
Titled “My Adored Grandmother,” Rick’s essay tells of Anna Gertrude Foster, a “short, little woman with intelligent eyes.” Born in 1923, as the years went by Anna was “blessed with twelve children.”
Rick put down the paper we were studying and spoke: “When Grandma came into the room, even though she had a quiet voice, everyone stopped talking.”
All eyes and ears focused on Anna.
In time, her grandchildren numbered twenty-four, but when you were with Anna, “It was like you were her favorite grandchild. She treated you so special. Her beautiful smile made you feel loved.”
I’ll never be tiny like Rick’s grandma.
I’m far from soft-spoken.
I’ve got a rather crooked smile.
It was like you were her favorite grandchild. She treated you so special.
But that I can try my very best to do.
Even if I have twenty-four.
Guide me, Anna Gertrude Foster!
Photo Above: Anna in the yard of her home many years ago.
Anna in later years.
Rick holding two drafts of his essay.
Anna could cook! Rick’s favorite dish was her White Potato or Ash Pudding, served for dessert. He brought in a cupful, piping hot, for me to taste. Yum. Potato magic!
White Potato (or Ash) Pudding
3-4 medium potatoes peeled, boiled until done, and mashed
one stick butter or margarine
one 1/4 cups sugar
2 drops of lemon flavor or a teaspoon of lemon juice
1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the eggs. Beat until smooth.
Beat eggs in a separate bowl. Add to the potato mixture and beat for one minute.
Put into an ovenproof dish and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the pudding is brown on top.
Store leftover pudding in the refrigerator.
Note: You may need to set your oven on broil after forty minutes to get the pudding to brown.
Thanks to Rick’s mom, Anna Stone, for this recipe, and thanks to Rick for permission to quote from his essay and for the photos.