Disclaimer: I do not know much about this Moses Lake of which I write. But what I do know, and what I have experienced is memorable and sweet.
My grandparents moved to Moses Lake, Washington after I had already grown. As such, I do not have memories of childhood visits to Gramma and Grampa at Moses Lake. But my own children do! They refer to the two as
“Great-Gramma and Great-Grampa in Moses Lake With a Boat and Not a Dog”. Yes. That is their full title in our home.
The children have memories of road trips, across the state of Washington, to Great-Grampa and Great-Gramma’s home on the lake.
Memories of playing with their great-grandparents at the city park and playground.
Memories of boating and swimming in the Moses Lake, itself.
Memories of the local waterpark.
And searching for local fruit stands selling cherries and Walla Walla Onions.
The children have memories of the slip-n-slide Great-Grampa set up for the grandchildren on the grassy hill between the house and the lake shore.
And memories of sitting on the dock Grampa built, watching the fish jump in and out of the water at twilight.
While preparing grape-soda pancakes for the children’s breakfast during our last visit, my Gramma told me some of her own memories.
One, in particular, from her time serving as a missionary in the Philippines with my Grampa:
None of the Filipinos missionaries had ever heard Mother Goose or Grimms fairytales so it was easy to come up with lots of those that had really good morals that I connected to missionary work. “The Princess and the Pea” was a good one about being sensitive to the feelings of others. I used “The Little Red Hen” to teach about hard work and industry. Aesop’s Fables are worth their weight in gold!!
Gramma told me stories about raising 8 small children:
I am “queen” of recycling leftovers, as well as following the old adage, “Use it up; wear it out – make it do, or do without”. When I was pregnant with the first 3 babies, I had no money for maternity clothes. So I took my mothers old skirts (which she generously gave me) and made smocks out of them that I wore over my old skirts, which I had cut holes in the tummy for room for the baby!
She told me stories about raising older children as well:
I love to tell stories – also movies! When Uncle Trent got home from his mission, he bought a used car that burned a quart of oil every hundred miles. I worried about him driving that car all the way to Provo, so I went with him! I honestly don’t know how much help I would have been in a crises, but it made me feel better! Anyway, we told movie stories to each other all the way down. One of my most fun trips!!
Gramma has always been one of my favourite chefs:
One morning, when the children were young, I decided to fix everyone a fried egg for breakfast. My frying pan only held 4 eggs at a time. I got distracted and overcooked the first 4 eggs. I knew the children would never touch hard fried eggs. I slid them out of the pan onto a plate, and proceeded to put 4 more eggs on to cook. And then, of course, I did the same dumb thing – overcooked those eggs as well. After the children left for school, I looked at those hard eggs and knew I couldn’t waste nearly a dozen eggs – even if they were a little crispy on the bottom. I had the bright idea to make a spice cake out of them (the crispy pieces reminded me of nutmeg!). So, I put all of the fried eggs in the blender, added milk, flour, sugar, oil, baking powder and spices. I blended it all together and then baked it. The cake looked good when it came out of the oven. I frosted it when it cooled and planned to serve it for dessert. Unfortunately, it didn’t get cooked through! So, not to waste anything and having a creative nature, I scraped off the frosting and put the cake back in the blender along with a bit more milk, soda and cocoa. Everyone likes chocolate!! I didn’t have any trouble getting rid of that cake!! I reused the frosting, too.
My Gramma and Grampa Holmes have 8 living children, and one child that died and was buried in England, when the family was living abroad with the Airforce. Susanne was her name. A few years ago they were able to have Susanne’s remains moved to a burial plot in Washington, where she is today, and where my grandparents will be buried someday.
Gramma and Grampa have 38 grandchildren, and 72 great-grandchildren. Gramma has given a hand crocheted afgan to every one of those great-granchildren, at birth. With the neuropathy in her hands getting worse, she was in too much pain this past year to hand crochet another afghan. So, one afternoon, she put me in the back of the car, and, with Grampa at the wheel, we drove to downtown Moses Lake where she and I picked out the color and stitch for a shop in town to make Baby J‘s blanket.
There was a shooting at the local jr high school in Moses Lake, twenty years ago. Three people were killed that day, in that small community. Grampa took us past the school on our way home from the afghan shop. Gramma told me that instead of the incident filling the citizens with fear and anger, the residents of Moses Lake have only come more closely knit, and more welcoming to all people.
Likewise, my grandparents have seen hard times, pain and even tragedy in their lives. But they too have only grown closer to each other, and have ever remained kind and serviceable to those around them, and faithful to their God.
Gramma was for many years the pianist/organist at the local church in Moses Lake. And when she wasn’t able to play on her own anymore, my Grampa would sit with her on the bench to support her and turn the pages for her.
Because of the neuropathy in my feet, I cannot feel the sustaining pedal on the piano. So I put my foot on the pedal and Grampa puts his foot directly behind mine, to keep my foot from sliding off the pedal. It works pretty good!
“Buffy”, he calls her. And “Dear”, she him. I can hear their familiar voices in my mind, even now.
I’m so grateful to my grandparents for their love for each other, and for us. For their sacrifices for family, church, and community. They continue to care for me – in letters, in conversations, and even in prayers. And they’ve made such sweet memories for my children during our visits to Moses Lake.