Family Stories

Grandmother Extraordinaire!

Edgar, Frances and Alice Linton

In the picture above is Great-Grandmother Frances with her brother, Edgar, and sister, Alice.  They are 10 and 12 years older, respectively.  Neither married and lived together until their deaths.

Grandmother Frances Barber Linton Montgomery

Grandmother Extraordinaire!

Frances Barber Linton Montgomery was my mother’s grandmother – my great-grandmother.  Unfortunately I never knew her – but she lives on in the memories my mother has passed down to me!  Notes from my mom:

Grandmother Frances was born in a much different age than today.  In 1867 the Civil War had just ended.  The United States was at the beginning of Reconstruction.  But as time passed hurtful memories slowly became a thing of the past.  Grandmother married in February of 1893 to the most dashing Robert E. Lee Montgomery.  By the end of the year they had a daughter, my mother, Alice.

Grandmother wore long dresses all her life – even when I remember her.  She also wore boots that laced up – came halfway up her leg – and were mostly hidden by her long skirts.  A long white apron covered most of her dress.  Grandmother made all her clothes, as many people did in those days.  She braided her hair in one long plat and twisted it around in a bun.

Each summer we spent a week with grandmother and grandfather.  It was always a most lovely time.  Grandmother met us at the door and gave each of us a big hug and kiss!  There were so many interesting things to do!  We rolled down the hill in the front yard and slid down the bank.  We watched Grandfather milk cows and walked back in the pasture.

The first time I ever drank iced tea was at Grandmother’s house.  I thought it was the most awful drink, but I came to love it!  She would let us take her canned food, cereal, bags of beans and rice and set up our grocery store in her parlor.  There were seven grandchildren and we each had an area of our own.  She had three bay windows on one side with shelves inbetween.  We put our groceries on the shelves, on tables and on the fancy red carpet on the floor.  Grandmother put on her hat, her purse would be on her arm and she carried her bags to put her groceries in with her.  She would come through the door and say, “I’ve come to do my shopping!”  She came around to each ‘grocer’.  She would pay a nickel for everything she bought.  I would look at my hand sometimes and there would be a quarter and I would think, “Five whole nickels!  I can’t believe it!”

When you walked through the front door of the house there was a huge hall.  On the right was the parlor.  On the left was grandmother and grandfather’s bedroom and the family room.  It was one large room with a fireplace, with their rocking chairs in front of it.  Further back the hall was the dining room with the large stairway.  After that was the kitchen with the huge table that was used for every day.  The kitchen also had a staircase that was considered the boys staircase because it went up to their room.  The girls used the staircase in the dining room.  Upstairs were three big rooms and a hall.  The boys room was separated from the girls’ bedrooms.  The rooms were lovely – they had large wardrobes that went from floor to ceiling.  The beds were huge and very high off the floor.  Aunt Maggie used to come in and sit on the bed and tell us stories before we went to sleep.

I thought the outside toilet was the fanciest thing I had ever seen!  There was a little rack with a roll of toilet paper on it.  There were no cracks or holes in the wall – so you didn’t freeze while there in the winter!  It wasn’t long before they put a bathroom in the house.

One of grandmother’s favorite things was her goldfish pond.  We could not go near the pond by ourselves – it was four, maybe five feet deep.  The goldfish were six to eight inches long and there were always lily pads on top.  Grandmother put round, honeycomb rocks around the fish pond – these came from the farm.  The pond had a little fence around it – so the little ones could not get close to it.

On the last day of our visit Grandmother had a special party for us!  She put her white linen tablecloth on her dining room table.  She had such lovely cookies on cake stands at each end of the table.  They were white and different colored marshmallow cookies with coconut on top.  There were also chocolate cookies.  Grandmother served homemade ice cream.  There were fancy napkins and dishes set out for us to use!  We loved our party, but we always knew this was the end of our wonderful visit!  But there was always next year!

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