Christmas at Grandma's House by Jennie Monk

Written by Jennie Monk, born 1912. Her family came from Nebraska to Cope, Colorado, 1915-1916. They lived about four miles northwest of Cope. This story was donated by Marion D. Monk, Yuma County Coordinator

Christmas brings me back to my childhood days spent in eastern Colorado with my three sisters, a brother and my good parents.

A mile away lived my grandpa and grandma Oman, who were a big part of our lives. They moved to Colorado in 1916 and bought a ranch with a long, large house. The story was told that the former rancher, Mike Hassig, was a well known cattleman. He would move a homesteader's shack and added on the original four-room house, two rooms downstairs and two upstairs. With three more shacks added on it made a very big house. The original house was used as a front room on the east, the two upstairs were bedrooms. The first addition was used as a serving and bedroom. The second addition, a former schoolhouse, was a dining room with a battery radio, large heating stove, a big table, lots of chairs and a big rocker where grandpa sat most of his life as he had rheumatism. The east addition was the kitchen, with a kitchen cabinet, cook stove, table and two chairs as well as a bin for fuel and hooks to hang caps and coats.

It was in this house that we were treated to the best foods that money could buy - and they had money. It was there that I first tasted olives, grapefruit, and anchovies which I didn't like. I wish you could have seen the feasts we enjoyed there with all our aunts, uncles, and cousins, twenty in number, and we could all sit at the long table. Grandma always did the cooking and was always ready to greet us from the shed next to the house with "Merry Christmas." On this shed there's a large bell that brought hired men to come to a meal. It's still there and was to stay as long as there's a home there.

Outside were lots of corrals, a dipping vat, chicken house, privy, well house, and a large storage water tank. Also, they had an orchard with mulberry, cherry, and pear trees.

We each got a gift from grandparents and aunts. One fall grandma Oman had a pair of red mittens in a sewing basket, and she was constantly knitting on those red mittens. We always wondered why grandma never finished. When Christmas came, every grandchild received a pair of red mittens.

The first doll I ever received I got from grandma Oman.

We talked to grandma and grandpa with crank telephones at each house, connected by a barbed-wire line. No other phones were on this system.

I wish everyone had grandparents like I had !!! Jennie Monk - 2002

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These pages are © 2002 & 2008 Lee C. Zion