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"Grand" Memories - Life Lessons Learned from Grandparents - Part 1 in Series Plus Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Updated on March 13, 2013
Granddaddy & Grannie Mooney with me in the middle on one our family visits to Oklahoma around 1954-55.
Granddaddy & Grannie Mooney with me in the middle on one our family visits to Oklahoma around 1954-55.

Grand Memories of My Grandparents

When I started on my adventure of being a Gramma over two years ago, I had no idea it would be a journey in which I would have so many reflections of my own grandparents. I realized how important they were in molding me into the woman I am today. By the time my grandson joined our family most of my friends and many of my extended family had already started on their “Grand” adventures. I finally understood why they where always bombarding me with pictures and stories of their little treasures. Now…it was payback time. I found, to my delight, all the accolades I had heard about being a grandparent really where true. I will have to say these experienced Grands have been patient with me as I share about Brody’s, or what I like to call him, my Happy Roustabout, latest whatever.

Grandparents really are important people, especially to those little “Grands”. When a grandchild lights up and runs to embrace you with all their energy and enthusiasm, they are showing the world around them this “Grand” is just that … Grand! That’s how I felt about my own Grands too.

I have countless memories with both sets of my Grands. Because of logistics I spent much more time with my Dad’s parents, Grandma and Grandpa Cunningham. We usually lived within a few miles of them. Until I was about 9 years old they lived just down the road, less than half a mile. Mother’s Dad and Stepmother, Grannie and Granddaddy Mooney, lived across three states, a long days drive, so we only saw them about once a year.

My Cunningham Grands lived in a big 2 story white house in the country. The house set on about three acres of manicured lawn with a pecan tree lined drive way. There was a pecan grove and in the fall when the pecans where falling it was always expected that the grandkids would help with gathering those little gems. Grandma would give us a bucket or sometimes a burlap or paper sack. If we where lucky, she would let us borrow her pecan picker-upper gadget, that she used. She would always say “your Grandpa got that thing for me to save my old back and knees from hurtin’ so”. Whether we where allowed to borrow Grandma’s gadget or not we would diligently work at filling our containers, because we knew those pecans where a must for her wonderful chocolate chip cookies and banana nut bread. It seemed the cookie jar was never empty at Grandma’s house. Whenever we’d visit it was just a natural thing to head for that cookie jar, after of course, the exchange of hugs which the Grands always insisted on.

My Mooney Grands where very different and lived in a small town in Oklahoma. I only knew about life in the country and playing in the dirt and such. Visiting with them in town was very different than my country life. We would sit on the screened in front porch and speak with neighbors as they would pause when they walked by. I remember it being cool on the front porch in the evening after supper. There was a narrow concrete walkway to the front door. For some reason I liked lying on that concrete and gaze toward the sky as the sun was going down. Granddaddy would asked me “So what are you planning in that pretty head of yours, Patricia?” I have no idea what was going through my head. Whatever it was I’m sure it was important to my child’s mind at the time. What I do remember, is how at peace I felt as I lay there on that cool concrete walkway.

With both sets of Grands there where wonderful memories made in the kitchen and Around the Table. Grannie Mooney was blind and had been since she was a teenager. It was always a marvel to sit and watch her cook in her kitchen. You would never have realized she was blind. She knew where every thing was and really did not like anyone messing around in her kitchen. When it was time for cleaning up after the meal she would let others help but she always put things away. On the other hand, Grandma Cunningham was always glad to have anyone help in her kitchen. And if you weren't helping with the meal she would want you to sit at the table and talk with her. When it came time to clean up I always got stuck with the drying. I don’t know how but Grandma somehow managed to get more dishes and pots and pans dirty than any cook I’ve ever shared a kitchen with. And, there was no leaving anything to air dry on their own.

There where only five granddaughters and I was the oldest. I suppose all of us cousins help Grandma make her wonderful Chocolate Chip Cookies. Among my collections of recipes I have her recipe for those cookies and it’s written in her own hand. Over the years I’ve made them many times but for some reason they are just not as good as hers were. It must have been that special Grandma’s touch. Or maybe my recollection of those famous cookies is slightly clouded with all the warm memories made in that bright yellow kitchen … on Cunningham’s Corner.

Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe written in her hand. Found this jewel in one of her recipe boxes I am blessed to be in possession of.
Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe written in her hand. Found this jewel in one of her recipe boxes I am blessed to be in possession of.

Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sift together & set aside 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt

Combine then beat until creamy 1 cup shortening (Grandmas told me she used half Crisco & Margarine), 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon water

Beat in 2 eggs. Add Flour mixture and mix well. Stir in 12 oz. package chocolate chips & 1 cup pecans.

Drop by spoonful onto cookie sheet and bake at 375 until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing.

Serve, if possible, while cookies are still warm. Add a glass of cold milk and visions of childhood will fill your memory banks.

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    • profile image

      Charlotte 4 years ago

      If I had to guess what the difference is between your cookies and Grandma Cunningham's...fresh eggs!

    • PaisleeGal profile image
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      Pat Materna 4 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

      Can't believe I never thot of that Charlotte... Will keep that in mind next time I attempt them ... It's been years since I've tried them ... One of my cousins says hers are as good or even better than Grandmas... Thanks for reading the article ... hope you enjoyed it.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What a wonderful story. I really enjoyed reading this and I'm sure the cookies are delicious.

    • PaisleeGal profile image
      Author

      Pat Materna 4 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

      Just Ask Susan... thanks for the warm sentiments. Your comments are most appreciated. I was truly blessed with a childhood filled with good memories!

    • Mom Kat profile image

      Mom Kat 4 years ago from USA

      Beautiful story & eloquently told. Fabulous job!

    • PaisleeGal profile image
      Author

      Pat Materna 4 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

      Mom Kat... thanks for stopping by reading my story today.

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

      What a nice tribute to your family and thanks for sharing a cherished family recipe with us. I have a some recipes from my great grandmother in her handwriting that are neat to have.

    • PaisleeGal profile image
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      Pat Materna 4 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

      Kris .. thanks for the reading my story .. when you get the chance there are others about my Grands ... I did a series of 3 ... Hope you enjoy them too. And thanks for joining my following.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Beautiful read, thanks for sharing that. ^

    • PaisleeGal profile image
      Author

      Pat Materna 3 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

      Jackie ... thanks for the warm fuzzy and for reading my little story about my Grands!!! Hope you get a chance to check out the others in this series.

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