Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Better known as Ma Sanders.

Today I fixed a BLT sandwich and as I was frying the bacon it brought back fond memories of my grandmother.  She wasn't my grandmother by birth, rather by marriage.  I was just barely seventeen when I got married, I was pregnant, and not very sure of myself.  Then this wonderful woman walked into my life to guide me.

Pa Sanders was a construction oiler and he took a job out in the desert just east of Barstow, California.  My new husband also worked construction and hired on as a laborer.  We found a small studio right next door to Ma and Pa.  My new life began.

Mind you being the oldest of five kids I knew how to cook and clean, but it was so different from the way my new husband was raised.  I was from the north and he was from the south.  Yes, there is a difference.  I did not know what fried okra, fried green tomatoes, or a pot of beans were.  When my mother fixed beans we opened a can of pork and beans, added some bacon and onion, and that was our beans.  Tomatoes were red and they went on a salad.  Okra was foreign to me, period.

Right after moving to the desert I decided I would fix my husband a pot of beans.  I poured the dry beans into a small sauce pan, added water to cover the top, put it on the stove, and went next door to visit with Ma.  Oh my goodness, about an hour later ,when I opened the door on our unit, smoke came billowing out, and the smell was enough to choke a horse!  The pan was burned beyond recognition and had to be thrown into the trash.  I left the door open and ran back next door to tell Ma what happened.  We ate dinner at Ma and Pa's that night.  Thank you Ma.

From that time on Ma took me under her wing.  I learned how to make fried pies, something else I knew nothing of, fix a roast, and so much more in our short time of living next door to each other.  I moved back to San Bernardino, my husband followed the job on to Needles as did Ma and Pa.  When the job was finished they all moved back to San Bernardino too.

Ma and Pa owned a small house on the east side of town.  Their door was always open to anyone and everyone.  When I needed a shoulder to cry on because something wasn't going just as planned, she was there.  She never took sides but tried to make me see both sides of an issue.  If I needed a few extra dollars before payday her pocketbook was always open, no questions asked. 

I leaned how to garden, start new plans, can vegetables, make homemade jams and jellies, and even the basics of quilting.  Still not very good at quilting but once in a while I try, even now.  My teacher, second mother, and best friend.  Thank you Ma Sanders.  You rock.  I pray I can be just half the person you were.  See you later my friend.


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