For me, my Grandma Hinkley was the first experience I had with “glue”. She was an amazingly warm person with a true magnetic personality. She was absolutely meant to be a grandma, and I’m so grateful that she was mine!
As a small child I used to LOVE to go to her house to play with my cousins and eat “chocolate sandwiches”, which she made with love and joy! We would play outside in the wooded area behind her house on “the big rock” and walk down the country road barefoot, popping tar bubbles! So many cousins would be there at the same time, it was like two football teams worth!
As a teen, I used to play cards with Grandma and my mom and whoever else was available on any given Saturday afternoon. We would play assorted versions of rummy around the kitchen table, laughing and talking and listening to Grandma clack her fingernails on the table, in rhythm and not quietly, as she waited for us to figure out first, that it was our turn, and then, as we plotted in our minds the best move we had. She never expressed impatience or frustration, she just clacked the fingernails of her right hand, one by one, over and over and over again. Oh, what I would give to sit at that table another time and hear that sound!
As a young mom I lost the regular visits with my grandma, since I moved too far away to allow for that. But whenever we would venture back to New York, always we would stop at Grandma Hinkley’s house, where my own kids were given rice krispies treats she made herself for her grands and great-grands. Somehow she just knew when we were coming, though it was never announced, and ALWAYS had the treats ready for us!
Though my memories of Grandma Hinkley are filled with happy times, I know, too, that she didn’t live an easy life.
Tragically she lost one of her children, Charles Clark, at birth, and another, Alice Virginia, at less than a year old. My grandfather, Edward Hinkley, died in 1964 when grandma was just 62 years old. She lost two more children as adults – her daughter, Kathleen, on Mother’s Day, 1977 and her son, Jesse Sims, the next April. Grandma’s heart was clearly broken, and yet she continued to serve our family with as much love as ever.
As a child she lived through the Great Depression and it is certainly an understatement to say that she grew up in poverty. As a teen, she witnessed the aftermath of the First World War – my Grandpa suffered the terrible effects of having been gassed during his time in France and Grandma was with him every step of the way taking care of him as he suffered horrific asthma and a series of strokes.
She worked, among other places, at the Frost/White Paper Mill in Fallsburg, N.Y. to help support her family, because that’s what you do.
Grandma never placed anything above family. She was my first example of “the glue” and I will be forever grateful for the values she held in her heart and used as her rules for living.
Grandma Hinkley, I love you forever and ever!