Things That Grandma Used to Say
By Marilyn Mackenzie
I was blessed to have one of my Grandmothers – my Mom’s mom – live with me for the first thirteen years of life. After that, she had an apartment in walking distance to our house for a few years before she went to live in a retirement center/nursing home (her choice).
My siblings were 4, 6 and 13 years younger than me, so they – especially my youngest sister – didn’t benefit as much from Grandma’s wisdom or her wit.
Grandma and I used to spend quite a bit of time baking and having “tea parties” when I was a kid. When I grew up, we had real tea parties at her apartment. I always made sure that if I was passing by Grandma’s apartment on the way home from work or school that I would stop in to say, “howdy” and get a dose of her wisdom (or wit).
We spoke of important things – of love and marriage and having children, and of God and the Lord Jesus. She taught me so many things as a child and as a teen and young woman for which I will be forever grateful.
Grandma also said some of the corniest things. And, oddly enough, my Mother carried them on after Grandma died. Mom said those same corny things herself, until she forgot them and most other things, after my Dad died.
“What kinds of things did Grandma (and later, Mom) say?” you ask.
When I was acting a bit “puffed up” or proud or “too big for my britches” (or is that breeches?), she would say, “Well if it isn’t Lady Jane Grey off the pickle boat.”
Weird thing to say, huh? But I never really wondered about Lady Jane Grey until later in life.
Wikipecia says that Lady Jane Grey was the ruler of England for the shortest time of any monarch – either 9 or 13 days, depending on what day is used as the beginning of her reign. It is also said that she was one of the most learned women of her day, and a committed Protestant who was later regarded as a martyr.
Knowing that now, I wonder where my Grandmother got the phrase “Lady Jane Grey off the pickle boat.” Today if people use the term “pickle boat” it is in the context of having just fallen off the pickle boat or having not been informed.
Obviously, if Grandma was teasing me about being puffed up and proud, she wasn’t telling me that I had no clue. Or was she?
The other interesting thing to note is that Grandma had only about a 7th grade education, and she mentioned it often, since it bothered her. Would she have read about Lady Jane Grey in those school years? Or did she read about her later? I wish I had thought to ask her about that phrase way back when.
Another phrase she used a lot was something she said after I had been at school or at a friend’s house. “You’ve been gone forever and a day.” That did make me feel special and loved and missed.
And, Grandma taught me not to cuss. But she did have her own way of cussing. “Sugar on two sticks!” was her favorite phrase for those times when she was perturbed.
What fond memories to you have about grandparents?
What strange things did they say (or do)?