Born in U.S.A. Aug. 25, 1875.
Died at Langenburg, Sask. Canada in 1965.
Grandma Van Hee warmly welcomed each of us when
we'd visit them. No matter how many arrived she was well prepared. Being the most resourceful person she was, there were many things to keep little children well occupied such as brown-paper-bag scrap books filled with post cards, greeting cards and old calendars. Every paper bag was cut into a suitable sized page, the pages sewn together and made into a scrap book. Old buttons filled her button box. Under the stairway we would find shelves filled with empty perfume bottles, lotion jars, spice bottles, spools from thread, vials, small pretty boxes and any unusual containers. With the wooden Japanese orange boxes and wooden apple boxes we would set up a store, using the old fashioned cash register and old scale found there, too. A container of red heart candies would be on one of those shelves for us to share while we played store.
Then the game of sliding down the banister of the stairs was enjoyed by all. The only rules there were, take your turns and play fair. She did not tolerate unfair play! No one would have dared to tear books, cards or break anything because Grandma did not put up with deliberate destruction or wastefulness. If she ever used either of these expressions, "Jimmy Crickets" or "Julius Caesar," we knew we had reached the end of Grandma's patience and we immediately quit whatever we were doing that was wrong.
Grandma's jam-jams, home-made candy of all kinds and popcorn balls were the best. She had many varieties of jams, jellies, pickles and relishes too. In the kitchen Grandma always wore an apron. She had many pretty aprons.
Whenever Grandma got ready to go to town, church or visiting she always dabbed a bit of perfume on, put on a hat, wore a broach, and saw to it that her shoes were polished. To go out without polished shoes was a sure sign of laziness or sloppiness and that was unpardonable!
If Grandma was in charge we just had to finish the
task and her favorite quote was:
"When your work is once begun Do not leave it until its done
Be the labour great or small
Do it well or not at all."
Grandmother had a very, very subtle sense of humor.
She could also delight us with her playing the mouthorgan. I'm sure we all remember her Irish Washerman jig and other tunes.
Grandma helped out in the homes that needed her most and the year my mother was expecting our youngest brother, Gabriel she stayed with us all that winter. My grandmother and I shared a room so many times after I'd slept for hours, I'd wake up and find Grandma still praying "on her knees" on our cold floor. I'd ask her why she prayed so much and she said she had to pray for all of those that were too busy to pray. She'd say, "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of."
Grandma lived in Detroit with Aunt Helen for many years, but when I went to Langenburg to visit her shortly before she passed on, I was amazed at her keen mind, good memory and the cheerful attitude she still had. Those of us fortunate enough to have known Grandma have learned many good lessons from her. She truly was a regal lady.