Granny-isms become part of family lore

The recipe I was preparing called for American cheese slices, and as I substituted Velveeta brand cheese, I had to laugh.

When I first married into my husband’s family, 33 years ago now, we were at Grandma Berniece Spires’ home in Bingham for the weekly Sunday supper.

Grandma asked me to go “in yonder” to the back porch to fetch a cheese box. I walked down the hallway to the porch and searched the shelves for a Velveeta cheese box, that being the only cheese I knew of being packaged in a box.

They were about ready to send someone to look for me when I returned to the kitchen empty handed. The family had a good laugh as Grandma sent me back again for a cottage cheese carton – you know, a cheese box.

The “hard road” figured prominently in Grandma’s conversations. For several years, I thought she meant Ill. Route 51, but it was the road from Bingham to Ramsey, County Highway 1, that Grandma was talking about.

Berniece was born in Bingham in 1911 as Berniece Meyer, daughter of Ora Theodore and Ina Cole Meyer. She lived in the little village for more than 80 years, and remembered well when the road to Ramsey was impassable at times. To Grandma, it became the “hard road” when it was oiled.

Windows were “windowlights,” and children were “childern.”

Grandma told of the time several of her grandsons threw rocks at the “windowlights” of a vacant house near Bingham. One of the bunch squealed, and her grandsons, following a trip “out yonder” to the woodshed, had to use their allowance to pay for replacing the broken window panes.

I remember being quizzed one day about my family, and replied that I had three “childern” and lived not far from the “hard road.” This is when I telephone Grandma to tell her it was her fault that I was losing my ability to speak properly.

Another granny-ism was the phrase “own” cousin. Coming from the Meyer family of Bingham, Berniece had 35 first cousins, or as she referred to them “own” cousins. All of Grandma’s “own” cousins are gone now, with the exception of Anna Benda of Florida.

It is interesting to think that some of Grandma’s words such as “windowlights” or children being referred to as “childern” may have their root in long-ago days. Very possibly, this is how her mother, grandparents, uncles and aunts used the words.

As Grandma would say, that is something to “study” on.

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