Grandmother Beck (Clara) was a real small lady with the prettiest, wavy, snow white hair that you ever saw. When she gave up her home on the east side of Marcellus, she went to live with her four children. This was in the old days before Social Security, SSI, and all of the other social services that we have now.
My brother and sisters and I always looked forward to our parents turn to take on Grandmother Beck. That was because it seemed that she always came to us from our Aunt May Stanfield, in Grand Rapids. When she stayed with them she always worked in a candy factory and would bring us a few samples and lots of stories about making chocolate candy. Grandmother had a phrase that she used that, today there are no more than two people alive who would know what she meant. The phrase was, “Kitty you sit down and let me bake”.
First let me explain that my Mother, whose name was Catherine, always went by the name of Kitty. It seems like we always had pancakes for breakfast and when you have five or six people eating, at the same time, it takes a lot of pancakes. Mother had a griddle that could handle two large pancakes at a time, but even so, one person was kept busy trying to keep ahead of the demand. That griddle was made of cast iron and it was long enough so that it covered the openings where two of the cook stove lids had been temporarily removed. Mother would get a moderate inventory of pancakes ahead and stored in the warming oven then she would call breakfast. If she had good, dry wood and most of the appetites were normal, she could keep up with the demand.
Invariably though Grandmother would eat her usual quota and then she would get up from the table and say–“Kitty, you sit down now and let me bake”. Everyone knew that this was going to happen and we knew exactly when it was going to happen. I think that it irritated our Mother because it was her family and it was her kitchen, but she went along with it for years.
Grandmother died in October of 1937 while staying with her daughter Maud, in Detroit. She lived to be eighty two years old.