Breakfast with Momo

by Stefani on 10-September-2007

Momopopo

Our recent trip to East Texas has brought so many memories of my great grandmother to the forefront of my mind. At this moment, there’s an old Adam’s Almond Extract bottle, filled with red dirt, on my kitchen windowsill. That’s how much I miss her and her home. I need her dirt, the dirt that used to get under my fingernails when I played in her yard and helped in her garden as a child.

My boys were so astonished, as they always are, by the quality of East Texas dirt. First of all, it’s RED. And second, it’s DIRT! Not rock, DIRT! In Austin, if you dig a half inch down, you hit rock. Many of our roads are carved through feet upon feet of it, which really, is a sight to behold. My guys were thrilled beyond measure though, just to get to dig.

Anyhow, I have been wanting, for some time now, to make a family book about my Great Grandma, my Momo, with my boys, like the one we made about Pop, but it has felt kind of overwhelming. There are just so many things about her that I want my guys to know. I haven’t really known where to begin.

It’s kind of happened organically though. Luke wanted a sewing project, so we settled on a small quilt.

This is his handiwork:

Luquilt

Um, okay, so, it’s a little abstract, but I love it. More importantly, he loves it. He was very proud, even more so when I suggested that we use it to wrap our bread at dinnertime.

I told him that he comes from quilting stock, and showed him this picture of my Momo making our wedding quilt:

Quiltjpg

We looked at all the tiny handstitches on that quilt, as well as one she made for me when I was little. She made them for all her kids, each of her 12 grandkids and her great grand kids too. She was quilting well into her 80s.

I started showing my guys some old photos of my Momo:

Bonnie_and_clyde_2

Car

That’s her in the swanky black dress, with her arm draped over the wheel. That’s my Popo beside her. I think that the shadow on the ground was her brother taking the photo, and the other woman was his girlfriend. Super cool, weren’t they?

I told my fellas all about what a good cook she was. She used to greet us with enough food to feed a small army. Tamales, cornbread, turnip greens, black eyed peas, chicken and dumplings, tea cakes, fritters.

“What’s a fritter?” they wanted to know.

So of course, we had to make some.

Fritters

In case you aren’t versed in the art of the fritter, it’s refrigerated biscuit dough, flattened, with a dollop of jam (fig preserves in this case), folded over, sealed with the prongs of a fork, and then fried and dusted with powdered sugar.

I was not prepared for how the smell of them sent me reeling. If I closed my eyes, I could have been 8 years old in my Momo’s kitchen.

We put one of her quilts on our picnic table, brought out her old china (which gets prettier everytime I see it), and had a breakfast of fritters, photos and stories.

Photos

I told them how my Momo named cows, how she had this laugh that shook her whole body, how she loved to dance and how she had these closets that connected her bedroom to the guest bedroom… so good for hide and seek. I told them how she didn’t have a refrigerator until well after she was married. I told them how she loved to play Trouble, and Rummy Q and Uno. So then we played Uno and ate more fritters in her honor. She would have liked that, I think. I can almost hear her laughing.

dianeinjapan September 10, 2007 at 7:25 pm

What a sweet story, and a great little quilt! Boy, I know about that red dirt, and fritters, too–mmmm!

Tara September 10, 2007 at 8:30 pm

My grandmother is Momoh. Crazy coincidence, huh? My grandparents live in West Texas (Lubbock) and I adore their house, the smell, the sound of the screendoor, the things that have been there my whole life. I love going to their house and am sad that my daughter won’t get to experience it like I did.

Sarah Jackson September 10, 2007 at 9:25 pm

What a beautiful, thoughtful post. I love the old photos – we have those all over the house of all of our grandparents. And those fritters! Yum!

mountain mama September 10, 2007 at 9:28 pm

I loved this story and I loved looking at the old pictures of your Momo and Popo.. I esp love the young one of them standing, above the car picture.

All of a sudden, looking at the young pixs and then seeing the old pixs I had a moment of clarity– old people were young once, too. I mean, I KNOW that, but how they must feel, their minds still thinking they are 30, 40, 50 when they are really 80+ and maybe how frustrated they may be when no one takes notice of older folks. No one takes the time to listen to their stories and their memories, before they’re gone, forever. Thank you for this post. It touched me in a way I didn’t expect and I can’t seem to stop the tears. xo

Anne September 10, 2007 at 10:25 pm

This is a great post, and I love his quilt. Can he help me with mine?

Ellie September 10, 2007 at 11:58 pm

Thank you for giving me a simple moment of remembering my own Mum – it seems so long ago that I last saw her, smelt her, heard her laugh, watched her dance, tasted her cooking (bread, date scones + ……).
Such a lovely breakfast for your boys. The quilt that Luke made is beautiful, such a wonderful idea to use to keep your family bread warm.
Thanks for making my heart smile, and tears well in my eyes.

Teaque September 11, 2007 at 4:47 am

So naturally you managed to connect with me again. This of course brought up thoughts about my own grandmother. One who I never knew well enough or have enough memories of. Something I have tried my best to remedy with my son and HIS grandparents. I feel that bond is like no other.

Diane September 11, 2007 at 5:14 am

Oh, beautiful. Wasn’t she somethin’…

Sarah September 11, 2007 at 5:58 am

Thank you for sharing her with me too. What a nice way to get up today.

Randi September 11, 2007 at 6:14 am

Making homemade doughnuts brings my grandma back to me. I remember her frying them up and letting me eat as many as I wanted, which of course gave me a stomach-ache!

Ahhhh, memories…

kirsten September 11, 2007 at 6:30 am

holy cow, those b/w pictures are amazing! what a pretty lady!

Lisa Clarke September 11, 2007 at 6:53 am

What a wonderful (and touching!) way to share a little bit of who your great-grandmother was with your children. They’ll remember this experience more vividly than mere storytelling, I’d bet. You got me all misty-eyed this morning. *sniffle*

Lara September 11, 2007 at 7:23 am

wow, so true on the red dirt. i’m from north of crockett (tyler area) and the dirt is deadly red. we keep shoes there (at my mom’s house) so we won’t ruin our “city” shoes. strange thing was when i went to hawaii they had the same red dirt! thanks for your blog…i’m going to post a few grandma memories too.

dana September 11, 2007 at 10:57 am

I would have liked to know Momo. She sounds amazingly chic . . . yet warm and comforting like a grandma in the movies.

I just sooo love your blog.

dana September 11, 2007 at 10:57 am

I would have liked to know Momo. She sounds amazingly chic . . . yet warm and comforting like a grandma in the movies.

I just sooo love your blog.

Grace September 11, 2007 at 11:08 am

oh, my, there can’t possibly be a dry eye out there after reading this post! Luke’s quilt! To die for! Those pictures of your Momo, so young and pretty! And quilting your wedding quilt! Oh, my! I have to stop now before the full-on bawling starts. And all these exclamation points! So sorry!!

brit September 11, 2007 at 2:00 pm

a post about quilts…you know how i LOVE that! i love these history’s you are writing. I can’t wait till my babes are old enough for these projects!

this post also reminded me that I owe you an email about some books.

Chris September 11, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Love it. It’s so wonderful you’re bringing your loved ones alive for your boys so they can know them too.

Shelley September 11, 2007 at 5:30 pm

Lovely thoughts, lovely memories, lovely Momo.

Don’t you feel she was right there with you today?

Steph September 11, 2007 at 9:18 pm

They were quite the lookers, very stylish. And Lukes quilt? Super styling!!

erin September 12, 2007 at 12:29 pm

i adore luke’s quilt and your stories about your momo.

supa September 12, 2007 at 5:21 pm

here roundaboutedly via sewmamasew.

1. bandana pants? brilliant.
2. this post in particular struck a chord. i loved it.

Lara September 14, 2007 at 11:01 am

for some reason my comment is listed as being by Lisa Clarke but it’s really from me, Lara. Must have gone to your page from hers! oops!

Lara September 14, 2007 at 11:03 am

I give up, for some reason now my comment on my comment lists me as “Supa”. uugh. sorry everyone.

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