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GRANDMA ANNIE (standard:non fiction, 984 words)
Author: MarshaAdded: Mar 15 2002Views/Reads: 1927/1186Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
She lived through the great depression without getting depression. What was her secret?


There seems to be an epidemic these days of depression. Everyone I talk
to, complains of feeling listless, lethargic and sad.  As I wonder 
about the cause of this twenty-first century phenomenon, I'm reminded 
of stories I've heard about my great grandmother. 

Her name was Annie McManus, and she struggled through a difficult life
raising twelve children of her own and two grandchildren.  She watched 
two of her offspring die as children and two as adults with cancer, and 
she worked to support a sick husband who was twenty-two years her 
elder. She survived  the great depression, yet those who knew her claim 
that she was never depressed a day in her life! How could that be? 

Maybe she was too busy surviving to think about feeling sorry for

She came to this country from Holland as a child. After she married, at
the age of 13, her parents returned to Holland without telling her.  
She fed her large family by raising animals and a big garden.  She also 
took in boarders and cared for the elderly and sick. She sold homebaked 
goods and ran the little post office for extra money. It was always 

Annie who volunteered to entertain traveling preachers and live-in
teachers. She cooked on a woodstove in a house that was so cold the tea 
kettle water froze during the night if she didn't get up and stoke the 
fire. She could see the snow outside through the cracks in the walls. 

Annie had no phone, no electricity, no running water, no shower, bathtub
or indoor toilet!  There was no television to watch for relaxation in 
the evenings. In fact, she didn't relax in the evenings. That's when 
she sewed the family's clothes and knitted sock, mittens, hats, and 
scarves for her brood. Grandma was up before anyone else in the morning 
and was the last to go to bed at night. 

Because they raised pigs, grandma's children were the only ones in
school who had real meat to eat and didn't take lard sandwiches in 
their lunches. The McManus kids wore shoes when their neighbors were 
barefoot, though they put cardboard inside those shoes to cover the 
bare soles. 

Grandma's kids, who lived in a tar paper shack, considered themselves
much better off than most folks they knew. When beggars came to 
grandma's door, she always invited them in for a hot meal then sent 
them on their way with a dime.  And a dime was a lot of money in those 

Grandma's family rarely took baths. To do so, they hand pumped water
from the well, boiled it on the woodstove, and filled the metal tub in 
the kitchen by the fire. They never went to a doctor when they got 
sick. They couldn't afford such a luxury. And in those days, there was 
not a whole lot that doctors could do for them anyway. (Modern medicine 
has come a long way in the last 70 years). 

Annie and her children rarely drove the 13 miles into town because gas
was expensive and they couldn't all fit into the Model T anyway. When 
they did go to town, they changed flat tires every few miles.  In 
winter, they shivvered with no heat in the car and frequently got stuck 
in the snow even though they had chains on the tires. 

As a newlywed, when my grandmother moved to her new home , she packed
all her belongings into a horse-drawn wagon. As they rode away, she 
told her husband "I forgot to bring a broom." He replied, "The house 
we'll be living in has a dirt floor, so you won't need a broom." 

This was my grandmother's life. How many of us could live like she did
and still be happy? We are very fortunate to enjoy such easy lives. 
Let's count our blessings and be thankful! 

During this joyous season, as we celebrate God's great love and the
sacrifice of His son for us, remember to thank Him for His goodness. 

How many blessings can you count in your life that you are grateful for?

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