Friday, October 16, 2009

(Funny) Dreams from My Grandmother

While going through suitcases and boxes full of Grandma's photos, many from the 1930s, my aunt and I happened across poetry written on the back of shopping lists, humorous compositions scrawled into a stenographer's notebook full of financial notes, and more treasures that revealed to me a woman whose sense of humor I did not fully appreciate.

The first page of the stenographer's notebook does not bear a date, but records the "original cost for land" at $300.00, the "lumber to build house" at $1,000.00, the cost for "sinking the well" at $80.00, the cost for "plumbing (material and labor)" at $100.00... if these are the figures for the home that she and Papa built, I can infer the date is sometime around 1947 or 1948.

The second page breaks down every inch of over 2,000 square feet of lumber needed for a project (building the house?), and on the third page, she copied a humorous tutorial on living on a budget:

How to live on $15 a week

Whiskey and beer: $8.80
Wife's beer: $1.65
Meat, fish, groceries: ON CREDIT
Mid-week whiskey: $1.50
Life insurance (wife's): $0.50
Cigars: $.0.20
Movies: $0.60
Pinochle club: $0.50
Hot tip on horse: $0.50
Dog food: $0.60
Snuff: $0.40
Poker game: $1.40

This means going into debt, so cut the wife's beer.

A Google search revealed that Grandma did not author this funny piece (I found a variation on a postcard), but she clearly found it entertaining enough to copy it down.

Preliminary searches have not revealed the authors of poetry found written on the back of a shopping list (don't forget: butter, eggs, shortening, corn, cucumber and Friskies):

'Twas two years ago when he asked me to wed
But I refused to leave my feather bed
So we parted, with a nary a sneer
But since, I've shed many a tear.
So to all you young girls, I leave this advice:
Get you a man, and don't think twice!


We've been wed for many a year
With many a heartache,
And many a tear;
But I would not exchange
My home in The Sticks,
For you and me
Just seem to click.

Again, I don't know if these were humorous writings Grandma came across and wanted to remember, or if these poems were original compositions of her own. Either way, I'm grateful to have the opportunity to reflect on them, and to learn about things she treasured.


  1. Too cool - you brought me many chuckles this morning - what a rich treasure you found! Thanks for sharing :-)

  2. It's wild, the things you find in people's attics... :)


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