My beautiful grandma is turning 92 this month. She lives in Washington State now, and it’s been almost two years since we were together. We last rendezvoused in Portland to celebrate her 90th birthday. We miss you, Gramma!
With knitting projects and crossword puzzle books never far from her reach, Gramma may appear to be your average grandmother. But really, she’s far above and beyond average.
Gramma’s mom didn’t teach her to cook as a little girl, but she learned anyhow. Her most famous dishes are chicken and dumplings and roast beef with homemade egg noodles. She’s a baker, too. Cherry chocolate cake and lemon meringue pie are two of her specialties. And Gramma is quite an accomplished seamstress; she made all fashions of fancy dresses for my mother’s piano recitals and proms. She even made my mother’s wedding dress!
Though she’s a voracious reader, storytelling is probably Gramma’s finest talent. As her oldest granddaughter, I’ve often delighted in hearing her lively stories — some are tales about days gone by and some are tales that unfolded just yesterday. My favorites, though, are the colorful ones about my mother as a little girl and Gramma as a little girl. Those stories help me understand who I am and how my family came to be.
Today I am incredibly thrilled and thankful that Gramma teamed up with my dear and talented Aunt Marla to write a book! I had the great honor of reading its 322 pages while wearing my copyeditor hat. And now you can read it, too!
Egg Cups & Oil Wells: My Oklahoma Life is available for purchase through Amazon.com. Here’s the official description:
In Egg Cups & Oil Wells, a mother and daughter weave a small and personal story into the wide tapestry of rural women’s lives in the Twentieth Century. Euna Hiersche Martin’s warmly funny tales about life in Oklahoma begin only thirteen years after statehood on a ranch her father is about to lose to a crooked banker. She recreates a world where families are still quarantined with smallpox, hobos eat on the back porch, smart girls head to the city to master the squiggles of shorthand, ration stamps bewilder new brides, and tonight’s chicken dinner struts in the yard. Now in her nineties, Euna brings a wry but wise perspective to her seventy years in the Sooner State. Understanding that her mother’s “gumption and persistence” reflect an entire generation’s legacy, Marla Martin Hanley adds background rarely found in personal memoirs. Her chapters connect Euna’s stories to their historical context: Oklahoma’s settlement, the Great Depression, the World War II home front, and the women’s movement that dramatically changed the corporate office. Together, the mother-daughter team have created a rich and engaging blend of personal and social history.
Someday I might share my favorite part of the book — a love letter my grandpa wrote while Gramma was in the hospital after delivering their firstborn. But for now, go buy the book! Or buy two and enjoy the free shipping. It’s a treasure.