For 100 years, today was my Grandma Hansen’s birthday. She was born in 1900, and died in 2000, so there was never any doubt how old she was. Oh, the changes she saw in the 100 years she lived. As a child, I loved to listen to Grandma Hansen’s stories, both true and make-believe. She was a grand teller of fairy tales – The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Little Red Hen, Jack and the Beanstalk – and she loved to dramatically embellish stories of her younger years – from Indians, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and one room school houses to the tale of how she and Grandpa Hansen eloped to the Little Brown Church in the Vale. (They didn’t tell a soul they were married for months.) We were all mesmerized when Grandma started to spin a tale of days gone by.
So on this day of memories and love of country, my Grandma Hansen stands out in my mind as one of the individuals who truly made America great. She made my life pretty wonderful, too. And she most certainly taught me how to tell a good story.
A Tribute to Grandma Hansen
May 26th, 1990
By Sherrie and Becky, her granddaughters, on her 90th Birthday
Stepping back to yesterday –
Daisies strewn along the way.
Treasures in the chicken coop,
Racing ‘round the driveway loop.
Mousey ~ mousey’s in the house,
Hankies stuck in Grandma’s blouse.
Hanging clothes out on the line,
Bleeding hearts and dandelions.
Finding eggs beneath a hen,
Memories from way back then.
Grandma sitting on her stool
Telling tales of teaching school,
Peeling apples, scrubbing faces,
Pansies put in little vases.
Making dolls from hollyhocks,
Darning all our worn out socks.
Pin curls glistening in her hair,
Corsets, baggy underwear.
Raking leaves and burning piles –
Memories of Grandma’s smiles
Cousins staying overnight
In Grandpa’s bed, all tucked in tight.
Oatmeal, sweet dough, chicken pie,
Hiding while the dishes dried.
Silly plays between the trees,
Picking berries, bumblebees.
Stories told again and again
“Who will help me?” said the Little Red Hen
“The sky is falling” – the games we played,
Memories of Grandma’s ways.
Pictures on the piano top
~A growing family ~ a “bumper crop”.
Her calloused hands and Godly heart
Inspired us each, right from the start.
Time goes on, and now it seems
So long ago ~ those faded dreams
But each fond memory has a place
In every heart ~ in every face
Our love for her ties us together –
Memories live on forever.