Posted by Gracie Hamilton on 5th Jul 2022

A Soft Answer Turneth Away Wrath

When I turn back the pages of life to the time between 1898 and 1911, I see my paternal grandmother with a lingering smile, a grateful heart, and tears in my eyes.She was indeed the pivot of loving kindness and unselfish giving of our family circle.

I see many pictures.As a four-year old (I was recovering from scarlet fever after six-week isolation on the third floor, my mother bathing me beside a hot-air register), when grandma came in and kissed me as I stood without a stitch of clothes on.That kiss lives on…as warm as the heart from the register.

She was a great mender of little-girl hurt feelings or broken hearts.After a fatal crash of a doll’s head, a brand new one would soon appear.To be with her in the kitchen…a little cake came out of the oven along with the one for the family. On a rainy day...“Go up to my room and see what the mouse left on my bureau!”He always left two pieces of Whitman’s chocolates.Another bright spot in bad weather was a visit to her room to handle the pretty gold locket tucked into a baby’s sock and secured in a purple velvet needle case trimmed with pearls.We opened the locket and together weloved the tinted picture of my grandfather.

He gave her that locket before he left for the Civil War in 1861.

In the early years of this century there were many childhood illnesses.Time after time I was struck down for a week or two or three.However, these were never barren times in our house.Every tray that came upstairs brought a tempting surprise.Even the lamb broth still gives off a special appeal.Picture books, paste and paper dolls on my mother’s lapboard.The whole family joined in these treats.

Then, as I grew older, Grandma wore a black fur cape.When I greeted her with a big hug and kiss on her return from town, that cape revealed a gift of love.Maybe a book by Mrs. L. T. Meads, a Dorothy Dainty Hair Ribbon to wear to birthday parties, or a cake of Colgate’s Cashmere Bouquet Soap.She believed little girls should use sweet smelling soap.(We had Life Buoy Carbolic Soap in our bathroom, my father’s idea to ward off germs.)