Authors: Arleta Richardson
Tags: #secrets, #stories, #grandma
IN GRANDMA’S ATTIC
Published by David C Cook
4050 Lee Vance View
Colorado Springs, CO 80918 U.S.A.
David C Cook Distribution Canada
55 Woodslee Avenue, Paris, Ontario, Canada N3L 3E5
David C Cook U.K., Kingsway Communications
Eastbourne, East Sussex BN23 6NT, England
David C Cook and the graphic circle C logo
are registered trademarks of Cook Communications Ministries.
All rights reserved. Except for brief excerpts for review purposes,
no part of this book may be reproduced or used in any form
without written permission from the publisher.
© 1974 Arleta Richardson
The stories in this book appeared previously in “Story Trails,” Light and Life Press; “Junior Trails,” Assemblies of God; “Words of Cheer,” Mennonite Publishing House; and in “Bible Truth,” Christian Reformed Church.
The Team: Don Pape, Susan Tjaden, Amy Kiechlin, Sarah Schultz, Erin Prater, Jack Campbell, Karen Athen
Cover Design: Melody Christian
Illustrations: Patrice Barton
Third Edition 2011
: When Grandma Was Young
The New Pump
The Old Door
When Grandma Was Young
“Tell me about when you were a little girl.…”
Have you ever said that to your mother or grandmother? Arleta Richardson did, and she was fortunate enough to have a grandma who could make stories come alive. Later, when Arleta grew up and her students at school or church asked for a story, she would say, “Let me tell you some stories I used to hear when I was a little girl your age.” Then she told them about old Nellie the horse and her trips to town, or a cow named Molly Blue, or the Indian who came out of the woods.
I wish you could have known Arleta’s grandma, Mabel. You would have loved her. She was born well over one hundred years ago on a little farm in Michigan.
What a long, long time ago! Is it hard to imagine anyone that old ever being a little girl? But of course she was, and she remembered very well.
Arleta never saw the little log house where Grandma Mabel was born, but she could imagine how it looked. It had one big room that was warmed by a fireplace and a big cookstove. Her brothers slept in a loft overhead, and Mabel slept in a trundle bed beside her parents’ bed. (A trundle bed is a little cot that slides under a bigger bed during the day.) The cabin sat in a small clearing in the woods, and even though there were no neighbors close by, the family felt safe and protected in its little home.
By the time Mabel was ready to go to school, the log cabin had been replaced by the big farmhouse that still stood two generations later when Arleta was a little girl.
Arleta’s trips to Grandma Mabel’s old home were so much fun. She explored from the attic to the root cellar, from the barn to the meadow brook. Everywhere she looked, she found a story!
The attic was dusty and creaky, but what marvelous things it contained: a funny-looking wire thing that turned out to be something to wear, the button basket—a miracle of mysteries, and an ancient trunk.
In the old trunk, they found fabric that Grandma used to help Arleta put together for a quilt. There was a red velvet square that had been part of a bonnet, a flowered piece that was a birthday dress, a heavy square that had been an apron with many pockets—and so many more. Was there a story to go with each of those things? Well, yes, there was!
The old house was really a big storybook. The “summer” kitchen held the big woodstove that had warmed the room. The china cabinet held the button basket, and Arleta couldn’t take the cover off that without a story jumping out!
Arleta loved to explore the barn and all the things there: Nellie’s harness hanging behind the stall; the buggy that Mabel had lost; an old door leaning up against the wall.
But enough of that. You probably would like to hear the stories that Grandma Mabel told, wouldn’t you? Arleta just happened to be the little girl she told them to way back in the 1930s, but you can enjoy them now every bit as much as she did then.
Pride Goes Before a Fall
“Grandma, what is this?”
Grandma looked up from her work. “Good lands, child, where did you find that?”
“In the attic,” I replied. “What is it, Grandma?”
Grandma chuckled and answered, “That’s a hoop. The kind that ladies wore under their skirts when I was a little girl.”
“Did you ever wear one, Grandma?” I asked.
Grandma laughed. “Indeed I did,” she said. “In fact, I wore that very one.”
Here, I decided, must be a story. I pulled up the footstool and prepared to listen. Grandma looked at the old hoop fondly.
“I only wore it once,” she began. “But I kept it to remind me how painful pride can be.”
I was about eight years old when that hoop came into my life. For months I had been begging Ma to let me have a hoopskirt like the big girls wore. Of course that was out of the question. What would a little girl, not even out of calicoes, be doing with a hoopskirt? Nevertheless, I could envision myself walking haughtily to school with the hoopskirt and all the girls watching enviously as I took my seat in the front of the room.
This dream was shared by my best friend and seatmate, Sarah Jane. Together we spent many hours picturing ourselves as fashionable young ladies in ruffles and petticoats. But try as we would, we could not come up with a single plan for getting a hoopskirt of our very own.
Finally, one day in early spring, Sarah Jane met me at the school grounds with exciting news. An older cousin had come to their house to visit, and she had two old hoops that she didn’t want any longer. Sarah Jane and I could have them to play with, she said. Play with, indeed! Little did that cousin know that we didn’t want to play with them. Here was the answer to our dreams. All day, under cover of our books, Sarah Jane and I planned how we would wear those hoops to church on Sunday.
There was a small problem: How would I get that hoop into the house without Ma knowing about it? And how could either of us get out of the house with them on without anyone seeing us? It was finally decided that I would stop by Sarah Jane’s house on Sunday morning. We would have some excuse for walking to church, and after her family had left, we would put on our hoops and prepare to make a grand entrance at the church.
“Be sure to wear your fullest skirt,” Sarah Jane reminded me. “And be here early. They’re all sure to look at us this Sunday!”
If we had only known how true that would be! But of course, we were happily unaware of the disaster that lay ahead.
Sunday morning came at last, and I astonished my family by the speed with which I finished my chores and was ready to leave for church.
“I’m going with Sarah Jane this morning,” I announced, and set out quickly before anyone could protest.
All went according to plan. Sarah Jane’s family went on in the buggy, cautioning us to hurry and not be late for service. We did have a bit of trouble fastening the hoops around our waists and getting our skirts pulled down to cover them. But when we were finally ready, we agreed that there could not be two finer-looking young ladies in the county than us.
Quickly we set out for church, our hoopskirts swinging as we walked. Everyone had gone in when we arrived, so we were assured the grand entry we desired. Proudly, with small noses tipped up, we sauntered to the front of the church and took our seats.
Alas! No one had ever told us the hazards of sitting down in a hoopskirt without careful practice! The gasps we heard were not of admiration as we had anticipated—far from it! For when we sat down, those dreadful hoops flew straight up in the air! Our skirts covered our faces, and the startled minister was treated to the sight of two pairs of white pantalets and flying petticoats.
Sarah Jane and I were too startled to know how to disentangle ourselves, but our mothers were not. Ma quickly snatched me from the seat and marched me out the door.
The trip home was a silent one. My dread grew with each step. What terrible punishment would I receive at the hands of an embarrassed and upset parent? Although I didn’t dare look at her, I knew she was upset because she was shaking. It was to be many years before I learned that Ma was shaking from laughter, and not from anger!
Nevertheless, punishment was in order. My Sunday afternoon was spent with the big Bible and Pa’s concordance. My task was to copy each verse I could find that had to do with being proud. That day I was a sorry little girl who learned a lesson about pride going before a fall.
“And you were never proud again, Grandma?” I asked after she finished the story.
Grandma thought soberly for a moment. “Yes,” she replied. “I was proud again. Many times. It was not until I was a young lady and the Lord saved me that I had the pride taken from my heart. But many times when I am tempted to be proud, I remember that horrid hoopskirt and decide that a proud heart is an abomination to the Lord!”