The Humble Shopping List

Both of my grandmothers lived in the same area, on farms near Turon Ks. They were alike in many ways. They both raised chickens, cooked for five kids and a husband, helped out during harvest, and were the the best grandmas a kid could have.

Mameen (Pearle Edwards) had a big cookie jar that was always filled when I visited. Her dining room wall had a built-in black chalkboard, the bottom of it setting at floor level so it was perfect for us kids.

Both did their chores wearing a smock apron over their dresses. This apron style was one piece, no apron strings. To wear it, you pulled the main opening over your head, like a sweatshirt, then put your arms through the armholes. The apron was about hip-length, and it the fabric at the bottom was turned up to make a long pocket. This big pocket enabled the wearer to comfortably hold anything there—collected eggs from the henhouse, vegetables from the garden, mail.

I have one of these aprons. I don’t wear it, but it brings back pleasant memories when I see it hanging up near my kitchen.

001 notebk shoppingOne item that was usually in this apron pocket was a homemade notepad. Farming life in those days was about making do, and it probably seemed extravagant to pay for a ‘bought’ notebook if there was good scrap paper that would otherwise go to waste.

Mameen’s homemade notepad that I discovered in my Edwards family box has two holes at the top, perhaps for a string that was threaded through them to hold the pages together. (It also has a staple). When my grandmothers had something they wanted to remember, such as food items for a shopping trip to Turon, they rummaged in their apron pocket, pulled out a pencil stub, and wrote in a notepad like the one above.  How handy to have writing materials with you throughout the day.

The items in Mameen’s notepad included the following:

Honey, Buttermilk. Oleo. Post Toast. Sanka Coffee. Cascara. [What is Cascara?]Weiners. Meat Roast. Corn starch. Black eye beans. Consomme. Sweet corn. Worchest Sauce.

T. Soap. Colored chalk. Tobacco.  not over 50cents ea., 2 plastic Dolls 7 1/2. B & G Dress. Rubber things for chairs. Trowel at Kress. 1 1/2 yds apron. Spic & Span. scratchers. Income Tax Paper. Locker. Meat for Shile. gopher traps. Gas permit. something for club St Patricks, Green construction paper.  Flash Lite Battery. Feenamint (?). gloves. Cards. Tallies. Rug yarn. Screw and for light. Oil. Lunch Cloth at Drugstore. card table. Beet seed. Cabbage plts. Tomato plts. Bub’s Medicine. Box for sand. Dog food. Fab.

Baby present, Joan Ku?cle?. Carol Sailer. Louis(?) Mekeine (?). Nellie. phone numbers. Friday Club 1.00. Call Dr. Crawford.
Grady 1611 Carey Blv Ph 4254W. Call Grace Chrislip (peas/pears?).

Plus a recipe:  4 1/2 c. flour, 3 tbs BP, 1 1/4 teas Cream Tartar,  2 teas salt, 1 Cup Short, 1 Cup mix. Makes 6 biscuits. Brush top with milk.

Plus a message:  I’ll be back in a minute, Pearle.

And as an example of how things have changed:   I was in a junk/vintage shop recently and saw an old, rusted Sanka coffee can. Price—$40 Aus (so guess that’s about $30 US)!



4 thoughts on “The Humble Shopping List

  1. My father is Max Edwards from Sylvia , Kansas. I remember Aunt Pearle coming over to help my mom (Alma) when I was sick with Measles. Love reading about family. Did you have any question about us? Mother will be 95 July 22.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Janene, Welcome to the Edwards site.
      When I was a kid, my parents, Malvin and Pauline Durham, regularly drove to Turon on Sun. to visit my Durham and Edwards grandparents. Sometimes they’d drop in to see Max and Alma, and the dogs would surround our car as we drove in. Years later, during a visit, Dad was petting Max and Alma’s little dog when it bit him on the upper lip. Odd what we remember.
      As I keep going through Mom’s Edwards material, I’ll probably have some questions. But if you or anyone else would like to write a guest post about a remembered Edwards event or item, please do!


      • The dog that bit Melvin was one of my Australian Shepard puppies I raised. I was in high school at that time. Grandmother Heneritta Edwards had him and he was all black. So she called him Blackie. She loved him because she felt safe with him protecting her. Grandfather Fat had passed so she was alone then. What I saw was they came in the gate at grandmothers and Melvin leaned down to pet him and that is when he bit his lip. Our family felt very bad about him getting hurt. My eyes couldn’t believe it.
        She lived on the Sylvia Turon blacktop road just South of Sylvia. My folks lived 4 miles from Sylvia out in the country. My mother lives on the farm where dad’s parents lived now.
        I continue to love dogs. Have three now.


      • You’re right, I realise it was at Henrietta & Fat’s place, not your parents’ place. My dad had stitches and was pretty much OK, except that when he ate ice cream with a spoon, he turned it upside down because he didn’t have that much movement in his upper lip. He also grew a moustache after that. And he always liked dogs.


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