"Grandma was also the queen of clipping coupons. She made a family event out of cutting them from our daily newspaper and the special Sunday supplements so she could maximize the double and even triple value on certain days. We'd go off to the grocery store, coupons in hand, and there were days I thought the store would have to give us back money! Her frugality taught us to be thoughtful about finances and to understand the value of money."
Cindy always sat in the front of the cart because she was the baby, and I got to stand in the basket because I was the "big" girl. Grandma navigated her way up and down the aisles in search of the best bargains and biggest savings. She taught me which foods were pantry staples, which ones were there for pure comfort, and how to combine the two to make the ordinary extraordinary. She always allowed us to pick one special item for ourselves... Because we were allowed one special treat, Grandma taught us to choose wisely."
"Another great adventure with Grandma were our trips to the Salvation Army store. As a child I never owned a stitch of clothing that wasn't secondhand. Grandma made it an event to find the world's greatest treasures buried in the boxes lined up on the floor and on top of the shelves against the back cinder block walls of the store. We always found fantastic deals so we could buy more with our money."
"She loved to buy us "princess dresses", old 1940s and '50s evening gowns made of satin and tulle, which were ideal dress-up clothes for my sister and me. After we selected our dresses, we got to rummage through the costume jewelry and accessories, picking out all of the ornate and glamorous things we needed to complete our outfits."
"Our dress-up days were the best days of all. Grandma let us play with lipstick and paint our fingernails and toes. While we were playing, Grandma would thoughtfully lay out our pretty matching outfits to wear the next day. She dressed us in short white socks with lace around the top, which matched our patent leather Mary Jane shoes."
"Dinner was between five and six in the evening. The meals I shared with Grandma growing up weren't fancy, but they were always special. When I asked why the meals were so yummy, she told me that love was her secret ingredient. After dinner Grandma allowed us to have an hour of party time during which she turned on our favorite Alvin and the Chipmunks record. Cindy and I would dance and sing along with the songs as loudly as we could. As we settled for the evening, Grandma read us bedtime stories and scripture every night before we went to sleep."
"Saturday nights were extra special. My grandma's sister-in-law and best friend, Aunt Betty, always came over for a wonderful evening spent listening to big band records, watching Lawrence Welk, and eating warm toasted strawberry Pop-Tarts, one of my absolute favorite treats. We were allowed to stay up an extra hour and sleep with her in the big bed, Cindy on one side of Grandma and me on the other. We'd fall asleep listening to Bible stories that aired on the transistor radio."
To be continued....
~excerpt taken from Made From Scratch: A Memoir by Sandra Lee