Saturday, December 17, 2011

Secret Santa came to Town!

I am truly enjoying my Secret Bloggy Santa gifts from my mysteriously anonymous Santa! There is a wee bit of dark chocolate left (and no I didn't share! - get your own Secret Santa I say!!) and now I am enjoying two more parts of my gift - LOOK LOOK!!
 I finished "Edge" by Jeffrey Deaver a couple of days ago and since I always have at least one book on the go, even during the busiest times of the year (especially then!) I dove into "Plum Island" from my Secret Santa.  All puns aside it is a "plum" of a book - only 30 pages in and already a DOUBLE MURDER!! Yippee!

What's that you ask? What am I wearing on my feet?? Why, only the coziest pair of hand knitted slippers complete with pink bows! Here, take a closer look...
My gramma always gave me crocheted slippers every Christmas but she died in l986 so that's how long it's been since my toes were this cozy! How did you know Secret Santa??  Not only are my toes warmer but you've taken me back to a simpler time when opening my gramma's lumpy Christmas packages were the highlight of the day. 

My gramma never put gifts into a, she let the lumps and bumps transform the wrapping paper into a lunar landscape that my siblings and I would grapple with trying to figure out the contents. Along with crocheted slippers we would find other little treasures: homemade fudge, a card with a $5.00 bill tucked inside, socks, mittens, the Christmas Lifesavers "book box" (with a whole lot more rolls of lifesavers than you get these days!) and other "homely" items. 

While I'm thinking of my beloved gramma I want to share with you how she managed her money. She lived on the Old Age Pension (OAS) and also a small veteran's pension she received because her husband fought in WWI. Every month she'd cash her cheques and keep the money hidden under a pillow in her bedroom. She'd take out a bit to live on week by week until the end of the month. Whatever was left got transferred into an old purse which was also kept hidden in her bedroom and became her "savings". Then she started over from scratch the next month.

That old purse was her "bank" - like a lot of people of her generation she didn't trust banks and preferred to keep her money close by. When she died in l986 she left instructions for each of her four children to receive a certain amount from that savings purse, in the neighbourhood of $1000 each and left each of her almost 20 grandchildren $100. She also prepaid her funeral expenses. How she managed to save that amount of $$ while living on next to nothing would probably make the most frugal of us look like wastrels! 

I used the money she left me to buy a silver locket at Birk's jewelers in which I keep her picture.

 Ida Belle Catton (nee Gordon) 1891 - 1986
Ida Belle with three of her four children: she's holding the crying face of her youngest, Arthur, while seated in front of her are my Uncle Verne, and my mother - Edith Jane Eileen Harrison (nee Catton).  My gramma's three sons are still living but my mom died from complications of Parkinson's disease in 2000. I looked just like her at that age!

Wow, what a trip down memory lane! I really enjoyed that Secret Santa - thank you!  I guess I do believe in Santa after all!


~Carla~ said...

What a great gift you received, Jane!! And handmade slippers?! Lucky girl! :) Loved reading about your grandma, she was obviously a smart woman! :)

Anonymous said...

What a loving tribute to your grandmom! Mine used to make us slippers also and I miss them so much.

She sounds like strong woman, guess we know were you get it from

Lisa said...

Thanks for sharing your gramma with us. :) She sounds amazing and very frugal.

The Witch said...

What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful looking Grandmother. She was a very thrifty woman just like my Grandmother. They always seemed to do without and managed to save lots of money. Granny also knitted us lots of outfits over the years and really wish I had her talent.
Your secret Santa sure took you down a nice memory lane for you to share with us all.

Sharon said...

I love to read those kind of stories!! Isn't it amazing how much they can save??

Your Secret Santa gift is lovely! I'm afraid mine is a bust...I haven't received anything yet...but I guess there is a few more days, right?

its me, sam said...

Jane, my maternal grandparents gave all 30 plus grandkids a crisp 5.00 bill every year for Christmas until we were 18. I loved getting that money every year! My grandmother did the same thing, had money in the house in a bag ( she did have some in the bank too).

Marguerite said...

What a fantastic gift with a surprise trip down memory lane. Do you not find out who your Santa is?

Johanna said...

Lovely. Beautiful pictures. Sounds like your grandmother was an awesome lady :)

Anonymous said...

those are fantastic! Thank you for sharing about your gramma. My grandparents were similar to your grandmother in how they were able to save from nothing, really. My grandmother always made everyone a pair of mittens, oh how I miss those!

You really just made my day with this post, thank you!

Louise said...

the knitted slippers are lovely, and I loved hearing about your grandma :)