Grandma’s Life Lessons
Inez Michael Brumbaugh
Several have asked about reading my essay “Grandma’s Life Lessons” which I entered into the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Women’s Issues Essay for the state contest. This submission was entered in the family category and placed first in the state division. Details are at https://www.dailyadvocate.com/2023/03/24/stewart-wins-dar-state-essay-in-family-category/.
The essay follows in the blog below. I’ve added photos to the story for interest and visual content, but the actual essay is the story only and no photos. Please follow the AWTHS blog guidelines and share from this site and story as written. The story is the property of writer, Annette Stewart, and also property, for the essay portion, of the National Daughters of the American Revolution.
Additional story features added include the following: Grandma attended a one room school house on Alt. Rt 49 East halfway between Rt 49 intersection and the village of Arcanum. It was called Nealeigh School and sat west of Gordan-Landis Road. She lived at the corner of Gordan-Landis Road and Hollansburg Sampon Road and would have walked approximately 2 miles to school in the early 1900’s. After marrying Delbert Brumbaugh, Grandma lived on a couple of different farms before settling down to Karr Road where my mother, Betty Brumbaugh Sease, was raised. In 1950 Grandma and Grandpa moved to Arcanum on East George Street and she lived here until around 1992 moving to Greenville shortly after the Arcanum tornado.
Several generations have lived on this Monroe Township farm which is mentioned in the essay: Grandma and Grandpa Brumbaugh, my mom Betty Brumbaugh Sease with her family, which included my dad Dale Sease and siblings Fred and Shanda Sease, as well as myself. My own family was also raised here, the Stewart’s, including children Rachel and Kenneth. Rex and I continue to live on and farm the homeplace, the same farm as in the story. More details in the essay story.
DAR Essay Written by Annette J. Stewart
Grandma’s Life Lessons
The person who has inspired me most in my life, besides Jesus Christ, is my maternal grandmother, Inez Brumbaugh.
Grandma was born in 1904 and she lived thru a lot of the world’s recent history: The great flood of 1913, the sinking of the Titanic, and many wars-World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam Conflict. She witnessed the birth of many modern inventions and advancements such as automobiles, farm equipment, methods of housekeeping, telephones, television – an endless list of changes. I really wish I had asked more about these things. In retrospect, I have come to realize now why she inspired me back then and even more so today.
Grandma died in 1995. It is hard to fathom that she has been gone for 27 years. As I look back and reflect on her life and our relationship I remember these many lessons, a variety of principles she taught me which helped to shape me as an individual.
Grandma was 55 years old when I made my appearance into the world in 1959. Two years later she would lose her husband, my grandfather. Despite her loss, Grandma was a strong woman who continued to live in town in the same house in Arcanum. She owned and managed her farms, put out a big garden which she hand spaded every year, mowed her grass with a non-electric push mower, cooked, cleaned her house, painted, attended church and ice cream socials, and ran around with her “lady friends” as she often called them. She would drive her big maroon “machine” as she called it, all over town and to Dayton or the farm. Being approximately 4’9” she didn’t let her small stature keep her from driving. Instead, she found a good use for her old phone books or catalogs, stacking them in the driver’s seat so she could see over the dashboard. Her big Monte Carlo took her everywhere, phone books and all!
I would stay with Grandma at her house overnight occasionally, especially during the summer months. My special memories were of Grandma making fried chicken and mashed potatoes. At breakfast she always ate cooked oatmeal and would put a huge spoonful in the cat’s bowl for her pet kitty which was a huge black and white Maine Coon. Another favorite food was her canned pears out of the old antique cupboard in the above -ground cellar and homemade sugar cookies from the old family recipe. Often, we would eat uptown at the small corner restaurant or go visit some of her friends. I enjoyed coloring, playing with my friends in town, going to the public library and in later years going to the newly opened public swimming pool! Grandma would grow green beans in her garden and would can them in the Conservo canner. Along with red beets and tomatoes. I loved her cooking and realized healthful meals were a good choice. When I was later married, she would often remind me to, “Take care of your man,” simply put “Don’t forget to cook”.
Grandma owned our farm where I lived growing up and I am honored to own it today! Often, she would come down to help my mom and me with our canning. That tradition carried down after I married and lived on the same farm in the same place. All three of us, grandmother, mother and I, would be peeling whatever came from the garden or orchard and preparing them for the canner-tomatoes, applesauce, peaches or pears.
When I first got married, I was a novice gardener, and Grandma helped me plan my first small garden and make sauerkraut from the cabbage. I wish I had learned better as I have a hard time getting it to ferminate like Grandma did! She inspired me to keep the old traditions like cooking, canning, gardening, sharing flowers and seed, but also to try new things and recipes. Today I have her “Old cookbook” which was a small writing tablet with hand written recipes and ones cut from newspapers and magazines which were pinned to the page. In keeping with the new ideas, Grandma did enjoy shopping and buying new clothes. However, that is one idea that didn’t stick with me like some of the others, although my daughter inherited her love of fashion.
Grandma always did her laundry and had a clothes line in town which she used to hang laundry out to dry. Today, I still hang laundry out and always think of her old but thrifty ways. This was another inspiration!
Grandma inspired me with her relationships. She had many friends and took time to visit and go places with them, often doing the driving herself. Sometimes I thought Grandma was being a little too bossy or nosey when she told me to talk to another family member about an issue-to try and work it out. Later I realized that it was for the best and we should try to communicate and work out issues or misunderstandings. This is a concept I try to instill today which I feel if more people followed there would less problems and relationship issues. Perhaps fewer damaged lives, marriages, and family issues would result. That was back in the day before counseling sessions or mental health was even mentioned. Grandma’s “old -fashioned” wisdom showed us she was actually ahead of her time.
Grandma loved her farms and was excited to pass on agricultural living and the family legacy. She was an inspiration to us living through the drought of the early 1980’s and high inflation to keep persevering, working hard, saving money and accepting the challenges of not only farming, but living. She taught me how to juggle a family, life, marriage, career and lifestyle while making a living and enjoying life.
Grandma lived a good life and passed on the family legacy of love, faith, farming and family. Many have been an inspiration through the years but my Grandma Brumbaugh always stands out as an outstanding quiet spoken but spunky woman who loved Jesus, family, life, and me.
May her legacy live on through our lives and families down through the next generations. May our faith be strengthened, may we realize that hard times will come and pass, may we persevere, may we rise up to meet today’s challenges, may we encourage others, may we walk beside those going thru difficult times and dark waters. May we love, live, forgive and extend grace and a helping hand to others: The new bride, mother, fellow worker or volunteer.
May we through our DAR chapters be the type of women and volunteers who extend a helping hand to a new officer or chair; who offer a word of encouragement or a helpful piece of friendly advice. Our world, people, and families need this desperately. My grandmother inspired me and I hope that I inspire those around me! Each of us can be an inspiration.
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