My Grandma and her memory pills

My Grandma, Mary Moriarty, was a busy woman.  She really DID live on a farm in Iowa and had a bazillion younger siblings. The kids all slept in one room in the upstairs of the farmhouse with nothing but a ventilation pipe from the wood stove downstairs  to radiate a little heat into the room. When they walked however FAR it was to school, she went first to break a path through the snow for the younger kids.  They didn’t have waterproof boots then, either! She married my grandfather and life got a bit easier in some ways – although she was still using a WRINGER WASHER when I was in 6th grade, as I recall.

You wash the clothes and then run them through the two rotating rolling-pin dealies before you go hang the clothes on the line to dry.  Yeesh!   She was a mother during the depression so she learned to save EVERYTHING.  Bread bags, rubber bands, aluminum foil (washed and dried first of course).

She almost always wore a dress – remember housedresses?  Hers were those silky type things.  Always a floral print and usually dark blue as a dominant color. Sorta like this but more dowdy (sorry Grandma) and with a belt around the waist.

She always looked nice – she always had her hair combed, lipstick on (well usually), a dress on, stockings, etc.  She never looked frumpy even when she was cleaning. At least not that I remember. Her shoes were polished and her clothing was well cared-for.  She took good care of herself. Side note – she was about 6 feet tall! Not common in those days!

She gardened – I remember eating beans off the vines behind the garage. She had quite a green thumb! She did lots of canning – but why do they call it canning when it is all in jars? And she loved flowers. Cosmos in particular.

My grandfather died several years before she did, which gave her a nice break. He was, shall we say, a BIT of a tyrant. Anyway, she really blossomed after he died and went places with all her ladyfriends, as she called them.  She played cards and went out for lunch and laughed a lot more. It was sad for her as they passed on, one by one, leaving her as the last surviving member of the group.

She was at my parents’ house once when she was in her 70’s and told us she was taking a pill to help her memory. We hadn’t noticed any problems with her memory, and thought it was simply more evidence of her good self-care.

Never disinterested, we asked her about this – how long she’d been taking it, if it helped, who prescribed it, etc. She thought it was helping, which was great! After all, we didn’t notice any issues, so who knows? Maybe it was the pills! The next question revealed the truth. To the question, “What is it you are taking?” she paused and thought, and then replied, “Gosh, I can’t remember!” and she wasn’t joking!

We all got a hoot out of that and laughed quite a bit, including Grandma! I wish I had movies of her, and more movies of her #1 son, my father – his grandkids would certainly enjoy watching them. He had a great laugh and an even better character.  He and Mom were a matched set! She has a great laugh too!


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