I loved visiting Grandma Call and listening to her stories. I will share a few things I learned at her feet. She painted a picture in my mind of her father flooding the pasture every winter to make an ice skating pond for her family and friends. I felt I was there when she described her family singing together and visiting with their neighbors while sitting on the front porch during the hot summer evenings. I enjoyed her experiences playing night games with her friends.
When she was young, Saltair was a popular resort built on the Great Salt Lake that families and young couples would frequent. It was 30 or 40 miles from where she lived. When my grandfather started courting her they would ride the old Bamberger Railroad to enjoy a swim in the lake, a picnic, and a ride on the old rickety roller coaster.
She told me about being a farmer’s wife in Wendell, Idaho. I learned about my mother’s birth in the farmhouse and how frustrated she was with grandpa and the doctor. She kept calling for help, insisting the baby was coming, but the doctor didn’t believe her and said, “No Mrs. Call, it will be a little longer,” and then kept talking to Grandpa about pigs.
I learned the details of how my mom got burned and I saw Grandma’s pain and guilt as she described the accident. She carried that guilt for more than 60 years.
From the lips of my grandmother I learned a little about her history and I gained appreciation for my mother’s greatest struggle and triumph. The time spent sitting at Grandma’s feet, listening to her stories helped instill gratitude in me for who I am and for my heritage.
Current research shows that sharing family history with our children helps them connect with their inner self and learn more about who they are. In addition, it helps them develop pride, confidence, self-esteem, and motivation to keep working towards the positive things in life.
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