Grandma baked the best chocolate cookies one has ever had. She also let me wash these chocolaty treats down with seven ounce ‘Seven-Up’. Soda was forbidden at our house, so this was a special refreshment. Grandma was a strong independent woman whose generosity was huge. She ran the local church kitchen with authority. My memories of my grandfather are few but his deep gravely voice was fondly remembered. He passed and the house my grandma lived in suddenly became too large for her alone. She decided it was time to move to the ‘Matilda Brown Rest Home’. This was no ordinary ‘Rest Home’. It was beautiful, exclusive, and close to our house. I was allowed to ride my bicycle by my self to the Matilda Brown palace. It was barely over a mile but it seemed like a long journey.
My grandma seemed happy in her new home. There were lots of activities to experience. They always held events to draw us children to participate. When we visited, grandma would shower us with gifts. Clothes, candy, a couple of quarters which in those days bought a handful of chocolate bars and a special gift would be given to us. This special gift was a big bag filled with one ounce jelly packets. At first receiving a bag of jelly packets was a little disappointing to our young minds. A stern glance from my mother signaled us to be grateful and thank Grandma. We found out that every morning our Grandma would take several packets of jelly from the breakfast table. She would save them and gift them to us when we visited.
I grew to like and appreciate this peculiar gift. I had a special fondness for the strawberry flavored jelly. When we ran low it was time to pay a visit to Grandma. Why did Grandma save these packets? She surely could afford to buy any jelly or jam she desired. I later came to the realization it was my Grandma’s way of showing her love. She grew up during the depression and later experienced war rationing. Jelly was a treat and you did not want to waste this extravagant condiment. Her nature was to take care of others and to share was her demonstration of love. When ever I go to a restaurant and have a strawberry jelly packet I fondly remember this time. Grandma I love you.