For this months GeneaChat, Cheri at IDG asks the following:
So what do you remember about family meal times? Did everyone have an assigned seat? Was it serious or was there laughter and fun? Did you start with a prayer? When you think of these times together what memory comes flooding back?
Family meals were important to both of my grandmothers. Though my paternal Grandma, Ida, died when I was young. I have very vivid memories of Sunday dinners around her dinning room table. Because I was so young, the specific memories are gone. I just remember good food, and a crowded table full of family. I am certain we said grace before meals at this table because Grandma Ida was a religious woman. She was the one that made sure we went to Sunday School and Church each week.
Because of the divorce in my family, we spent every other weekend at my maternal grandmothers. Luckily, she was around throughout my childhood (and most of my children’s as well). Zeda, was a wonderful cook and her table was always packed with the best foods, everything made from scratch (much different from my home life) where dinner usually came from boxed foods.
At grandma Zeda’s house, we didn’t really have assigned seats but we usually sat in the same spots. The table was always loud and full of laughter. We ate until we were stuffed, some of her recipes have been shared here. If it was a special dinner and there were other guests, we would eat in her dining room. How I loved to eat there. The beautiful dining room furniture, the china, silver and crystal…it makes my heart happy to even think of it.
I loved to set the dining room table as a child, I would set the dishes and glass ware and then I would take the silver ware and wrap them up in a napkin like the ‘fancy’ restaurants (well as I kid I thought they were fancy). I think grandma got a kick out of the fact that I liked to set the table because she always let me do it, never worrying about her china or a thought that I might break something. Because of my love for her table, I inherited her china. One day, I will get it to my house. I just need a dining room…
Though our family ‘believes’ I do not remember ever saying grace before a meal. It is possible we did, and I have just blocked it out. But, for some reason I really doubt we did. Their family was not a real church going family.
The memories of dinner around both of these ladies tables fills my heart with love and sadness at the same time. I lost Ida when I was 8 and she was the constant figure in my life as a small child. I lost Zeda in 2009 and though she was my grandma, she was also my best friend. No one could ever take her place in my heart, I miss her greatly.
Do you have memories about family dinners? Feel free to share them in the comments here or over at Around the Family Table on The In-Depth Genealogist blog.