The Master and the Apprentice

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In honor of my 100th post I am going to write in honor of the person I know that lived closest to 100, my great-grandma. As it is Flashback Friday it’ll be tied around a photo from a day that I regret not remembering much about.

They talk about things skipping generations. I am nothing like my mom, my mom was nothing like her mom, her mom was nothing like her own mom. But boy was my mom like my great-grandma. It was something I recognized even as a young girl. Great-grandma was my momma’s kindred spirit. In the kitchen especially.

A lot of memories simmering in my mind about my great-grandma involve her mean, gorgeous, live to be 22, white Persian named Princess. What’s left is taken up with her garden, her homemade bread, canned jams and jelly, the origin of crap cake, and a multitude of delicious concoctions.

Great-grandma was old as long as I could remember. Hunched over, but as sharp as a tack even if she couldn’t see as sharp as she used to. My mom realized the diminishing capabilities of my great-grandma’s body (but never her mind, she continued to surprise us for many, many, many years after this day- must have been the daily shots of Jagermeister). So mom mandated a “teach me how to make it” day must occur.  There were no recipes, not a measurement in sight. Master to apprentice was the only way.

I remember not caring to learn about these things that my great-grandma was so patiently teaching my mom.  I remember groaning as I had to help clear out the kitchen of furniture so she could shuffle around and not run into things she couldn’t see so clearly.  I remember her softly scolding my mom when she just knew, somehow, that my mom didn’t take enough flour, didn’t knead hard enough or soft enough, or threw in a little too much butter.

She didn’t need to see to know. She felt it. She sensed it. The master Hilda taught the apprentice Xenia well.  Looking at this picture today, I am filled with regret. Wishing that I could go back to my adolescent self, take her by the shoulders and say, “Kimberly, pay attention! This is important! This is a moment you want to be a part of.”

While I might have missed out, Maddie will not. The skipping has taken again. She has a kindred spirit in my mom, her grandma. I can already see a “show me how to make it” day in her future. She won’t be looking back with regret. The master will teach her apprentice.

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7 thoughts on “The Master and the Apprentice

  1. It is an unfortunate characteristic of human nature that we seem to not be interested in so much our grandparents and great grandparents have to offer until it is too late. I was just saying last night how sorry I am that I can’t crochet. My grandmother taught me when I was young, but I didn’t practice. Now that I’m interested, she is blind and no longer crochets. She used to crochet me things all of the time, and I just didn’t appreciate them.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this! We so need these days spent with overlapping generations in our families to keep us connected. And so, when we are older, we can see how we needed to “take our adolescent selves by the shoulders” and maybe we can do that for the current generation of adolescents…

  3. Wow, when I looked at the picture of your great -grandmother, I would have sworn she was my grandmother. I remember asking her for recipes and her saying that there wasn’t one – you just put flour with the milk and eggs… She gave me an appreciation for using my senses when cooking instead of measuring tools. I used to love just watching her cook. I still have questions I’d like to ask her.

  4. Nice job weaving the generations and the idea of generations into your writing. I have many moments like this, that I wish I could remember, but the teaching was not part of them. Now I’m trying to ensure I remember everything, because as I get older, I know everyone around me is doing the same.

  5. “…Pay attention! This is important! This is a moment you want to be part of.” I think this to myself whenever I think about my own grandmother and other loved ones who have passed on. I love your ending to this piece, planning for Maddie to spend time learning from your mom, protecting her from this type of regret.

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