My Grandma Buffam was an amazing woman. She had eight children, including two sets of twins – my dad being one of the twins. We did not live geographically close to my grandma, so my memories of her are from the visits she would have with us – and the packages that would arrive in the mail – full of new hand sewn clothing, or quilts that she would make for us – I still have a quilt she made and sent when I was 5 years old. The quilt is well worn because we actually used these quilts as blankets and not as show pieces as they may be thought of today.
There is much to say about her – resourceful and resilient – she raised a family both in the city and on a farm and during tough financial times. She lost her last two babies (second set of twins) when they were just a few days old – a very difficult time for her. She was a wonderful cook – and taught my mom so much when my mom was first married. She was hospitable and generous – always had an open door policy and all were always welcome for dinner – my dad tells stories of people coming in and out of their home – and I have heard dozens and dozens of stories of how the Buffam household was where the party was – everyone always wanted to be invited. It was always homespun – it didn’t have to be fancy in order to open your table to more guests – everyone was always welcome to join just as they were – she would always just set another place at the table.
Grandma baked, and sewed, and gardened, and canned and preserved and did all of those things that Martha Stewart holds dear. And she passed these things on to her children and in turn her grandchildren, although I don’t think for a minute we do what she did as far as domestic pursuits.
She was married to my grandpa, a minister – and back in those days there was not salary enough in that job to be able to keep a house and a family going – and thus the farm that helped to subsidize the household income. My dad tells farm stories – in fact it is a bit of a trademark for him – we were raised on these stories – we would beg for him to tell us a new farm story at bedtime. There are many friends who have heard these stories, and whose children have heard these stories – and there was always a lesson in them it seems – or at least my dad always found a lesson in them!
My grandma was a liberated woman for her day – a school teacher and a leader – she was strong – and didn’t let any grass grow under her feet – and she was straight forward – she would tell you what she thought.
My dad tells the story of Aunt Belle – she lived with them for a time period when my dad was a youngster. She would help grandma with the twins when they were born – her focus was on my dad and grandma would focus on his twin sister Gladys. Aunt Belle was also a tell it like it is woman – family trait I guess – didn’t have a soft spot for spiritual things as did my grandpa and grandma. But she was always surrounded by it. My grandma would finish a task and say “thank the Lord that is done” and Aunt Belle would say “thank the Lord nothing …you did it yourself” – and my grandma would respond “Aunt Belle….there will come a time when you will want to thank the Lord too”. I’m not sure if she ever did or not but I’m sure you could not live with my grandparents for long without having a real sense of their beliefs. When we were cleaning out my parents home we came across a pair of mittens that belonged to Aunt Belle – in fact I think she knit them.
I brought them home and in this very cold winter have been wearing them. They are the most interesting mittens – they have a thumb and an index finger! I love that they belonged to Aunt Belle!
My Grandma was very creative – and started to dabble in oil painting – in fact she so often would bring her paints and canvas when she visited and we would have so much fun not only watching her, but she would set us up with canvas and paints and teach us to paint! What fun! I can still remember the smell of the oil paints and it brings such great memories! I loved painting with her – it awoke the spark of creativity – or fed the flame of it! Thank you Grandma!
I have a few of my grandma’s paintings in my home – and love the fact that not only were these painted by her – but they were also in my parents home for a time as well. I know – I love my traditions!
This is a painting that she did especially for me – I love the colour of the background – and guess what – flowers – who would have thought!
The best thing about my grandmother’s oil painting? She began to do this later in life – what an inspiration – it is never NEVER too late to take on something new and to follow a passion! Thank you Grandma for inspiring me! Beautiful!